The Women in the Castle, the novel by Jessica Shattuck, tells the story of three women, and their children, who take refuge in the ruins of a Bavarian castle at the end of World War II. The women are war widows — war resistance widows, really — whose husbands paid with their lives for the July 1944 plot against Adolf Hitler.
“If you love historical fiction, this is your must-read book: It’s captivating, fascinating, and incredibly faithful to the events as they happened, and Jessica Shattuck reveals an entirely new side of what it’s like to be a woman in wartime.” — Newsweek
Marianne von Lingenfels has promised those who conspired with her husband that she would find and protect their families. But the support they give one another is tinged with regrets and guilt about their different pasts, and set against a deprivation for which the world has little sympathy.
For the author, who is of German descent, this story is very personal.
In an interview with Scott Simon, Shattuck reveals that the story has its roots in her childhood. "My mother was German, so I grew up going to visit my grandparents in the summers, and I also grew up with a very strong sense of shame about being half German. ... I loved going there and I loved my grandparents, but I also knew there was a very dark history, and I felt very conflicted about that."
Watch Jessica Shattuck talking about her book and what drove her to write it.
“If you’re a historical fiction fan, this will be your new favorite novel. It’s so emotionally powerful there’s a chance the literary-induced chills will stay with you well into summer.” — Redbook Magazine, 20 Books By Women You Must Read This Spring