The Women in the Castle is a WWII historical fiction novel with its own unique tale. There is a group of Hilter’s men who desire to assinate Hilter. His mental instability is beginning to show through and with some many deaths already, they agree it is the best action to protect Germany. Marianne Lingenfels is in this inner circle. Her task is be the protect of the women and children of this group if something was to cause them to fail.
As history knows, their plan failed. The families of the men are left under scrutiny as their husbands and fathers are tried, executed, and/or sent to prison camps. When Britain enters the war and occupies parts of Germany, Marianne seeks their help in searching for the families of these brave men.
Her first accomplishment is finding Martin, the son of her beloved friend. Not long afterwards, she finds his mother Benita. Together, they live in the servants quarters of an unkept castle that belonged to Marianne’s family. They make do with their rations and attempt to live a normal life after the tragedies they have endured. Ania and her two sons are next on Marianne’s list. All three women and their children have their own secrets and each continue to forget about what has happened in Germany.
Marianne takes her position as a protector very seriously. Unfortunately this leads her to interfere in the romantic futures of the two women living under her care. Each of the women find healing and purpose in life again in their own way, but Marianne will stop at nothing to preserve the honor of the men who died in an attempt to free Germany from Hitler’s grasp.
You guys know I love historical fiction, especially WWII. This book told a different angle to the story I’m accustomed to hearing. We know that there was an assassination attempt on Hitler that did not succeed. I love that Shattuck chose to share a bit of this little known piece of history. It makes this novel stand out from all the others.
Plot wise, the beginning of this book was a little slow for me. Adding a few more characters helped pep up the flow of the book. As Marianne’s protection/controlling mindset truly set in, it got a bit tedious for me. But the way she uses this personality flaw to progress the characters’s decisions and outcome made me forgive this annoying pet peeve. Not even ‘neutral’ people came out of this war unscathed. All were affected in their own way, so chose to overcome it, others chose not to.
Overall, The Women in the Castle brought to life an old piece of history into a new light. Jessica Shuttack receives a 3.5/5 stars.