(2)
 



Overview -

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 Schroder 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.  Read more...


 

  • $0
Sorry: This item is not currently available.

FREE Shipping for Club Members
Not a member? Join Today!
 
 
New & Used Marketplace 129 copies from $2.99
 
Download

This item is available only to U.S. billing addresses.
 
 
 
 

More About
 
 
 
Overview

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 Schroder 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 facade 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.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780399157769
  • ISBN-10: 039915776X
  • Publish Date: August 2012


Related Categories

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-06-25
  • Reviewer: Staff

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: Christy Fletcher and Rebecca Gradinger, Fletcher & Company. (Aug.)

 
BookPage Reviews

The real housewives of Berlin

David R. Gillham is making quite the splash with his gripping portrait of an ordinary World War II hausfrau in extraordinary circumstances: Praise has been lavished on City of Women by historical fiction brethren Alan Furst, Margaret Leroy and Paula McLain, and rights have been sold in multiple countries. Not too shabby for a first-time novelist. And also not surprising. Full of sharp twists, sex, muddy morals and a Berlin that breathes, Gillham’s thriller delivers.

Beautiful, dutiful Sigrid Schröder is an apparently perfect German wife—other than the fact that she’s borne no children for the Fatherland—but she has a secret. Instead of thinking of her husband freezing on the Russian front line while she peels rotting potatoes and puts up with her razor-tongued Party member mother-in-law, she recalls the heat of the lover who recently swept in and out of her life. He was mysterious, but this much she knows: He was a Jew, and she desperately wants him back. Even so, she largely turns a blind eye to the Reich’s cruelties, feeling powerless against its might. But when her rebellious, secretive young neighbor confronts her with a stark choice, Sigrid must decide whether she is brave enough to save the lives of complete strangers.

A thriller full of twists, sex, muddy morals and a Berlin that breathes.

Gillham has studied the Second World War and women’s roles in it for more than two decades, and it shows. Berlin’s streets circa 1943 come to life—not just the sights, sounds and smells, but also the tension in the air. Who can be trusted?

The author ably depicts the strengths, desires and fears of women in a city both nearly emptied of its men and permeated with betrayal. His vivid characters keep the pages turning while the historical details enlighten and deftly underpin his complex plot. Readers who like their intrigue charged with big issues and warmed by very human needs will enjoy their hours in Sigrid’s shoes.

 
BAM Customer Reviews

DISCUSSION