The Women in the Castle

Written by:
Jessica Shattuck
Narrated by:
Cassandra Campbell

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
March 2017
12 hours 39 minutes
Three women, haunted by the past and the secrets they hold

Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined—an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding.

Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once-grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resister murdered in the failed July 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

First Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naive Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resister’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war.

As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges.

Written with the devastating emotional power of The Nightingale, Sarah’s Key, and The Light Between Oceans, Jessica Shattuck’s evocative and utterly enthralling novel offers a fresh perspective on one of the most tumultuous periods in history. Combining piercing social insight and vivid historical atmosphere, The Women in the Castle is a dramatic yet nuanced portrait of war and its repercussions that explores what it means to survive, love, and, ultimately, to forgive in the wake of unimaginable hardship.
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Interesting story, slow going at times. I’m not sure if it was the narrator or the narrative but about 2/3 of the way into the story I had some trouble keeping two of the women’s stories straight in my mind because their names were similar.

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Trudi C

Kept me listening for hours while I did my daily walk. Very good.

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Nancy K

This book follows and tells the stories of three woman as they experience the hardships and horrors of WWII. It it well written and worth the read. The narration was also good.

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Holly R

Nice book about the horrors of living during WWII from a women's point of view.

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ivie a

Draws you deeper into shadows and minds. Good job.

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Sonja M

A powerful, insightful and moving story that captures both the humanity and inhumanity of a dark time in history. The author conveys the pain and complexity of Germany both during and after WWII. She tackles the complicated topic of what motivated resistance and compliance in an honest, compelling way.

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tanya l

pretty good book. Hard to follow at times and narrator is hard to understand.

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