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City of Womenby David R Gillham
Synopses & Reviews
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.
In this page-turning novel, David Gillham explores what happens to ordinary people thrust into extraordinary times, and how the choices they make can be the difference between life and death.
"In this stunning debut about the battle between good and evil, Gillham puts a fresh spin on the horrors of WWII by focusing on civilian German women to reveal that, amid the many adherents of the party line there were a handful of unsung heroes. We first meet Sigrid SchrÃ¶der in 1943. She is an unassuming stenographer stuck in a loveless marriage and living in Berlin with her sour, difficult mother-in-law. But her life is not as common as it seems, for she has a lover, a Jewish lover, and if that were not risky enough, Sigrid becomes entangled with a neighbor who is helping to shelter Jews. As the war progresses, and Sigrid's husband is sent to the Russian front, she's drawn deeper into a world where trust is a hard-won commodity. The line between what is 'right' and 'wrong' becomes harder to define as Sigrid, confronted with increasingly more horrifying realities, finds her resolve constantly tested. Gillham's transcendent prose ('Looking into her eyes is like staring thorough the windows of a bombed-out building'; 'The words both murdered her and made her whole'), powerfully drawn characters, and the multilayered dilemmas make his first literary effort a powerful revelation. Agent: Rebecca Gradinger, Fletcher & Company." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From American master Ward Just, returning to his trademark territory of Forgetfulness and The Weather in Berlin, an evocative portrait of diplomacy and desire set against the backdrop of America's first lost war
Harry Sanders is a young foreign service officer in 1960s Indochina when a dangerous and clandestine meeting with insurgents—ending in quiet disaster—and a brief but passionate encounter with Sieglinde, a young German woman, alter the course of his life.
Absorbing the impact of his misstep, Harry returns briefly to Washington before eventual assignments in Africa, Scandinavia, and the Mediterranean. He marries the captivating May, who is fleeing her own family disappointments in worn-out upper New England and looking for an escape into Harrys diplomatic life. On the surface, they are a handsome, successful couple—but the memory of Sieglinde persists in Harrys thoughts, and May has her own secrets too. As Harry navigates the increasingly treacherous waters of diplomacy in an age of interminable conflict, he also tries to bridge the distances between himself and the two alluring women who have chosen to love him.
Ward Just, returning to his trademark territory of Forgetfulness and The Weather in Berlin, delivers an utterly compelling story of Americans trying to run the world, yet failing to master their lives.
ONE OFand#160;KIRKUS REVIEWS'and#160;BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
It is 1943and#151;the height of the Second World War. With the men away at the front, Berlin has become a city of women.
On the surface, Sigrid Schrand#246;der is the model German soldierand#8217;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 faand#231;ade is an entirely different Sigrid, a woman of passion who dreams of her former Jewish lover, now lost in the chaos of the war. But Sigrid is not the only one with secretsand#151;she soon finds herself caught between what is right and what is wrong, and what falls somewhere in the shadows between the two . . .
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About the Author
David R. Gillham spent more than a decade in the book business. He lives with his family in western Massachusetts.
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