Monday, August 07, 2017
The Women in the Castle
Posted by JaneGS
The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck, is another WWII novel but what sets this one apart is that the women are all German instead of part of the Allied effort. The main woman character is Marianne von Lingenfels, a strong, aristocratic matriarch whose castle, by marriage, features in the story itself and becomes home for all three after the war and symbolizes the struggles they endure to face the reality of their situation, loss, and sense of identify.
The other women are Benita, an ingenue Aryan prototype who marries Marianne's childhood friend, a Nazi resistor, and Ania, the purported wife of another Nazi resistor.
Shattuck does an excellent job of telling the stories and back stories of all three women, weaving in their children's lives and experiences. I felt both sympathy and frustration with all three, and really appreciated getting a look at the German experience during and after WWII.
I particularly admired Marianne's leadership, even when those around her resented her for it. She is the reason any of the extended circle survived, and while her tactics and forcefulness may have caused their own wounds, she truly did what needed to be done.
I thought the ending was particularly satisfying and realistic.