City Of Women - by David R. Gillham- 385 pages
Whom do you trust, whom do you love, and who can be saved?
It is 1943—the height of the Second World War—and Berlin has essentially become a city of women.
Sigrid Schröder is, for all intents and purposes, the model German soldier’s wife: She goes to work every day, does as much with her rations as she can, and dutifully cares for her meddling mother-in-law, all the while ignoring the horrific immoralities of the regime. But behind this façade is an entirely different Sigrid, a woman who dreams of her former lover, now lost in the chaos of the war. Her lover is a Jew.
But Sigrid is not the only one with secrets.
A high ranking SS officer and his family move down the hall and Sigrid finds herself pulled into their orbit. A young woman doing her duty-year is out of excuses before Sigrid can even ask her any questions. And then there’s the blind man selling pencils on the corner, whose eyes Sigrid can feel following her from behind the darkness of his goggles.
Soon Sigrid is embroiled in a world she knew nothing about, and as her eyes open to the reality around her, the carefully constructed fortress of solitude she has built over the years begins to collapse. She must choose to act on what is right and what is wrong, and what falls somewhere in the shadows between the two.
My Review: 4.5 stars
This book was a welcome page turner as I got deeply involved into the love and lies that consumed the life of the protagonist, Sigrid. This book keeps you cheering for the underdogs, the silent heroes and the rule breakers! I loved the pace and the dialogue. I felt it was very true to the characters and the time period. The author has been dogged for his ability to write in the feminine voice, but I strongly disagree. I could feel the fear, taste the weak, bitter coffee, hear the acidic mother in law and smell the smoke from the bomb shelters. A different take on WW2, the Holocaust and living in Berlin during that time.
Quotes I liked:
- “I love you intensely, sigrid. Touching you is like sticking my hand into a fire.”
- “There they lived alone. And that’s how it felt. Both of them together. But both of them alone.”
- “No one had ever written her a love letter. When she opened the page and read it, she could hear his voice as if from a distance, even though he was right next to her. The words both murdered her and made her whole.”
- “You avert your eyes enough times, and finally you go blind. You don’t actually see anything any longer.”
- “In fact what he doesn’t say in enormous. He carries what he doesn’t say like a full field pack on his back.”
- “And what is a good friend if there is not truth between them?”
Tags: Historical Fiction, 2012, WW2
Labels: 2012, Historical Fiction, WW2