- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 12 hours and 38 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: HarperAudio
- Audible.com Release Date: March 28, 2017
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01NBUC8DN
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Women in the Castle Audiobook – Unabridged
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Marianne, Benita, and Ania, are the surviving wives of men who participated in the July 20, 1944, failed assassination attempt on Hitler (aka as Operation Valkyrie). Marianne, the strongest and the leader, promised to take care of the wives and children of the would-be assassins (all executed). In a rustic "castle" in northern Germany, the three very different women, with very different backgrounds and war-time experiences, band together to protect their children and each other in the chaotic days following the defeat of the Nazis.
I won't outline to plot except to say that the story is immediately interesting, and provides suspense and mystery as it unfolds over the course of several years. As a piece of historical fiction I learned some things I hadn't known. For example, just after the war and before the Cold War got into full-swing, there was a "Sprunkammer" or a "denazification council" that assigned Germans (including ex-Nazis) to groups based on their "guilt" and they were officially sanctioned accordingly. Shattuck's novel is well-researched and it spun me off on several illuminating Wikipedia trails.
One big question the novel asks is, can you love someone without knowing or caring what atrocities they may have committed in the past? Can one truly have a fresh start? Can it be deserved? Walking down the street in Germany after the war, what kinds of suspicions would one harbor? Did that man execute Jewish children? Did that woman rat out her neighbor? It's a fascinating time and place in history. I also HIGHLY recommend: "City of Women" by David Gillham, and "Skeletons at the Feast" by Chris Bohjalian.