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Review: City of Women

December 29, 2015

City of Women

In the midst of World War II, all the men are off fighting so Berlin has become a “city of women.”  Sigrid’s husband is an officer and, for the most part, she does what’s expected of her.  That is until she takes on a lover who happens to be Jewish.  Sigrid becomes involved in the underground and finds herself facing the most difficult decision of her life.

City of Women by David R. Gillham is a little different than most World War II books because it focuses on the German women who are left behind while their husbands wage war.  Gillham paints a bleak picture of a city deeply affected by war so the book is dark and brooding but I found it satisfying, even though the pacing is slow.  I did have to suspend disbelief at one point but, as I questioned Sigrid’s decisions, I thought about what I would do in the same situation.  Because of that, I think book club’s could find a lot to discuss with this book.

I listened to the audio version of City of Women because I’d read a lot of great things about Suzanne Bertish’s narration.  I thought her voice and her accent were terrific but found her delivery flat at times.

Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.
22 Comments leave one →
  1. December 29, 2015 4:45 am

    WWII is one of my favorite time periods to read about, but you said the words I dread- “slow”.

  2. December 29, 2015 4:53 am

    I find a number of these sorts of books have moments in which one has to suspend belief!

  3. December 29, 2015 6:51 am

    Hm, I have the audiobook but a flat delivery isn’t going to push it up my TBR list. The perspective sounds interesting though so I know I’ll listen at some point.

  4. December 29, 2015 7:40 am

    I read this a few years ago and found it very compelling. I also liked the emphasis on the women during war.

  5. December 29, 2015 7:54 am

    I like this era and this story such a complicated one.

  6. December 29, 2015 9:00 am

    I had to look at my review, because I really don’t remember this too well. I gave it 3. I said I ‘really’ liked it, but it sure didn’t leave a lasting impression on me.

  7. December 29, 2015 9:14 am

    I like stories that take on a different angle to WWII. This one sounds good. I debated on if I should listen to the audio which I saw at my local library.

  8. December 29, 2015 9:37 am

    This reminds me of The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah, because it deals with the women left behind in Paris while the men were off fighting the war. It’s obviously different in that these women were subject to the occupation (and abuses) by the Germans. But it’s still about the women and not the men. I like the different approach.

  9. Patty permalink
    December 29, 2015 9:49 am

    Hmmm… I do like reading about this place in time even though it’s always so heartbreaking.

  10. December 29, 2015 12:01 pm

    I love this era, too, and I remember ogling this one when it first came out…must add it! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Literary Feline permalink
    December 29, 2015 1:26 pm

    I have the audio of this one, but haven’t listened to it yet. I’m sorry to hear it fell flat in spots. I enjoy WWII fiction and the premise behind this one caught my attention when I first heard about it.

  12. December 29, 2015 4:23 pm

    I read (listened) to this a few years ago and I remember liking it although it was a little depressing.

  13. December 29, 2015 4:30 pm

    This could be good

  14. December 29, 2015 5:46 pm

    Thanks for your honest review, Kathy.

  15. December 29, 2015 11:21 pm

    Probably too slow for my state of mind but the premise does sound interesting.

  16. December 29, 2015 11:46 pm

    It does sound like a good book club book. Thanks for the reminder about this one!

  17. December 30, 2015 1:10 am

    certainly a new perspective on the War.

  18. December 30, 2015 3:20 pm

    I listened to this a year or so ago and though the audio was well done. It was tense and intense… really put me on edge.

  19. January 1, 2016 11:20 am

    I haven’t read or listened to this one, but I am still intrigued by the story. Maybe I’ll get the print version

  20. bookingmama permalink
    January 1, 2016 7:54 pm

    I read this one a few years ago and loved it!

  21. The Cue Card permalink
    January 4, 2016 8:22 pm

    I had heard of this one, so I’m glad to see your feedback on it. Sounds a bit different than most WWII novels, so that’s a bit refreshing.

  22. January 5, 2016 11:20 am

    I didn’t find this one to be slow, but I agree there was one part that was hard to believe.

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