1943. Berlin. All able-bodied men are fighting the allied forces and what is left is a city of women. It is their duty to the war effort to carry on with their work, their lives, and their ignorance of what is happening around them.
Hausfrau Sigrid Schröder lives with her mother-in-law while her husband fights on the front. Not quite the "good German woman" like her neighbors are, Sigrid gets caught up in an affair with a man of many secrets, and befriends a young Fraulein despite the warnings of others.
Nothing is what it seems on the surface, not in Berlin during WWII, not when the government rewards people for spying on their neighbors, not when listening to the BBC is punishable by law, and not when someone will turn on their closest friends just to save themselves. The choices in 1943 Berlin are between life and death. Everyone has a secret to hide, it becomes easy to lose oneself in the web of lies and deceit.
Sigrid is pulled into the underground world of Berlin - black market goods, smuggling Jews, and love affairs. She is not sure who to believe, and who she herself has become.
This time in history is brutal, which usually makes for a highly dramatic story, and David R. Gillham does not disappoint as he takes readers deep into Berlin during the height of World War II. Full of passion and suspense, CITY OF WOMEN kept me glued to the pages. The story is intricate, and flips around a bit in its weaving timeline, so I found that I had to pay close attention, but the rewards were abundant.
When I first held this book in my hands at BEA, and read the synopsis, my heart beat a little faster. Then, I had the pleasure of meeting author David Gillham at a Penguin event, and knew just from talking to him that CITY OF WOMEN was going to be something special.
I admit that I have a special place in my heart for WWII fiction. Books like Sarah's Key, The Book Thief, and Unbroken lie prominently on my "favorites" shelf. I am happy to say they have a new neighbor up there.
I do not have a photo of me with author David R. Gillham, but I do have a photo of me with his editor, and one of my publishing heroes - AMY EINHORN!!!
Author Website, Facebook, Twitter
Page at Penguin - reading group guide, excerpt
About the Book:
About the Author: (from author website)
Early in his career, he was trained as a screen writer at University of Southern California, and then moved irrevocably into fiction. After relocating to New York City, he spent over a decade in the book business, and now lives with his family in Western Massachusetts.