The Women in the Castle
By Jessica Shattuck
Released Tuesday, March 28, 2017
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.
Jessica Shattuck lives with her husband and three children in Brookline, MA. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Glamour, Open City, and The Tampa Review among other publications. Her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, Mother Jones, Wired, The Believer Magazine, and The Boston Globe. Her novel, The Women in the Castle is a New York Times Bestseller, and The Hazards of Good Breeding was a New York Times Notable Book, a Boston Globe best book of the year, and a finalist for the 2003 PEN/Winship Award.