The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

I’d had this book on my bedside table for close to a year before I finally decided to actually read it. All I knew was my friend said it was great and it was WWII historical fiction. I’m so glad I hadn’t even bothered to read the blurb because that meant there were plenty of surprises for me. Namely, that most of the story is about what happens once the war is over, and that it takes place in Germany. I’m always saying that every WWII book I read fills in a little more knowledge for me about that war and the world at that time. This book sure did that-I don’t think I’ve read anything before that was taking place in Germany, from the point of view of Germans, and showing what it was like in that immediate aftermath. (Terrible, it was terrible.)

This was not a fast read. There was a lot to think about, and many sad moments. But I loved how the points of view changed between characters and we got to see what happened to each of those people during the war, before they all came together at the castle.

I think one of the things that amazed me most was seeing the horrors they went through in the war, and then years later, basically if you weren’t dead you were living another life, one where you went to school, or work, just sort of ordinary things. It was also really, really interesting to see the point of view of someone who was part of the Nazi party and wholeheartedly believing in Hitler’s promises to make the country an agrarian triumph and to work hard and be wholesome and happy, without thinking about genocide (until it was too late.)

This book really stayed with me after I finished it, and I know already it will be a top 10 book for me this year.

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