Thursday 6 September 2012

City of Women by David R. Gillham

Published by: Amy Einhorn Books (G.P. Putnam's Sons a member of Penguin Group USA)
Pages: 385

The quote from this book that really sums it up would have to be "I thank God that the human spirit is not dead." That is what you will truly learn (or perhaps remember would be a better word) from this novel. I have not read a whole lot of novels from the WWII period, but if they are anything like this one, I am going to have to rectify that situation! I did receive a copy of this novel as part of the goodreads first reads program, but it will be one that I purchase my own finished copy of for sure.

It is based on the story of Sigrid, where she is from, where her husband is, what her life is like now that the war has started. It shows how she changes and becomes (sometimes) a person that she is not proud of, however, I think it is realistic in the way that none of us really know how or what we are going to do in the same kind of situation. You know that she misses her husband, and wants him to come home, but sometimes as humans we need an outlet, whether it be a good or bad decision. She gets herself involved with hiding some people from the government, and I think that when this happens, it truly shows the strength of character that she has, and what we are capable of when we let our human compassion take over.

I know that this is a work of fiction, however, I am sure that the situations that happened throughout the novel are ones that happened on a daily basis, in Berlin and beyond. What I probably loved most about this story is that when the story keeps unfolding you really don't know who the "good" person is or who the "bad" person is, and it keeps you guessing right up until the very end. You also see the characters grow and push themselves farther than they thought they could possibly go. I am not sure I could have been as brave and selfless in some of the situations, with the intimidation that they would have endured from government officials.

The author has a true gift for writing emotions that I have not came across in a whole lot of novels, it is brilliant! I could feel myself right there with them, and have all those feels, like anxiousness, happiness, sadness, etc. At some points I felt more than one of those at the same time, I loved it. Also the way that he described what the living conditions were like, with regards to their lodging, as well as what food rations were like, working conditions, and public transportation to even get to/from work. 

It really made me think of my own life, and how privileged we really are for where we are now, the conveniences that we have, the lives that we are able to lead, and we owe some of it to where this and other wars. What I mean is not the war itself, but for all the men and women who were able to hold it together mentally and physically and get themselves through, and to the ones that took the chances on people they did not know, but helped them anyways to get to a safer spot for themselves and their families. 

Needless to say this novel both broke my heart and inspired me at the same time, I could not put it down, and I know that I will read it again and again, this is absolutely a 5/5 for me, and I highly recommend it to everyone! (Maybe not some of the younger crowd as there is some adult material).


  1. This sounds like a very memorable read. Thanks for the helpful review!

    1. You're welcome, and it really is, I am still thinking about it a couple weeks later :)