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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

City of Women

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City of Women Cover

ISBN13: 9780399157769
ISBN10: 039915776x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"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 Schröder 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.

Synopsis:

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

Synopsis:

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.

Synopsis:

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 . . .

READERS GUIDE INSIDE

About the Author

David R. Gillham spent more than a decade in the book business. He lives with his family in western Massachusetts.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Liesel, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Liesel)
This is a very different take on life in Germany during WWII. The women in this book are extremly complex and courageous. Day to day life is difficult especially if you are surrounded by gossips and stool pigeons who watch your every move. A Jewish girl enlists the help of a German woman to assist her in moving Jews out of Germany with fake documents. There are no scenes of the usual war time themes, no battles, no spies or Gestapo themes. It really is a picture of daily life in war time Berlin for women struggling to get by.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Silvers Reviews, November 8, 2012 (view all comments by Silvers Reviews)
he book's title indicates what Berlin was like during WWII....women waiting for their soldiers to return home, women enduring the air raids, women keeping an eye out for traitors and those not following the German edicts at that time, and women going to work.

Sigrid lived with her mother-in-law and hated every moment. She worked in the day and kept people on their toes at all times, but always made friends. Her favorite place to meet people for clandestine reasons or even legitimate reasons was in the movie theater. You will follow Sigrid through her daily routines as well as her covert actions of smuggling and other secret activities. You will also be fearing what her decisions would be in different situations.....situations involving fellow citizens, situations where she would be meeting a lover, or situations where she was helping hide Jewish people. I liked Sigrid and could see why she despised living with her mother-in-law. She was a very strong woman and knew who she could trust and who was actually trying to trick her to see if she was being loyal to Hitler. Her decisions were the basis of the book and what made the book quite gripping.

The book was beautifully written with wonderful detail and great descriptions of what life was like in Berlin at that time in history. The German names were a bit difficult to keep track of, and it took a few pages to get into the storyline, but you could figure out what was going on was because of the author's magnificent writing.

This is a compelling novel that has you putting yourself into the story and also making you nervous for the characters as they endured the life they were leading or fearing the outcomes when they were carrying out unethical or illegal deeds. You will become absorbed in the story and the characters simply because of the eloquent writing style of the author and its riveting content.

Even though it takes a few pages to get involved with the characters and the story, it is a book you won't want to miss. The cover itself is enough to draw you in. The genuine feel of the era is magnificently relayed to the reader and takes you along page by page into Berlin and into the lives and terrors of Berlin's citizens. 5/5

I received this book free of charge at the BEA in June of 2012 in exchange for an honest review.
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Yvonne Jefferson, September 21, 2012 (view all comments by Yvonne Jefferson)
I'll admit the cover was what drew me to this book when I first saw it on a website advertising upcoming titles. Then I read a little about it...a story set in Germany during World War II told from a woman's perspective but written by a man...okay, this was definately going on the TBR list. I patiently waited for the release date and then for the library to catalog the book. Finally, it arrived and it was worth the wait. One of the best books I've read this year.....and it has a pretty cover.
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View all 3 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780399157769
Author:
Gillham, David R
Publisher:
Putnam Adult
Author:
Gillham, David R.
Author:
Bertish, Suzanne
Author:
Just, Ward
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
General Fiction
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20120807
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
includes readers guide inside
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 0.98 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » New Arrivals

City of Women Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Amy Einhorn Books - English 9780399157769 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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 Schröder 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.
"Synopsis" by , 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

"Synopsis" by ,
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.

"Synopsis" by ,
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 . . .

READERS GUIDE INSIDE

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