This is dark and unsettling story that provides an eye opening glimpse into what life may have been for women living in Berlin during the hostilities of WW11. Set in 1943, the city is void of men, most have gone to fight on two fronts and Berlin has become a city of women, children and elderly.
This book was impossible to put down and even harder to forget. Although the WW11 Germany may be familiar, Mr. Gillham has managed to make the story fresh and tells it through the eyes of Sigrid Schroder, his fictional characters, whose husband is off on the front lines and lives every day in a stale terror of English bombings, food shortage and neighborly suspicion. For all intents and purposes she is the model German wife but behind this façade she is an entirely different woman, one that dreams of her lover, a Jewish lover…..and she is not the only one with secrets…..
This is a page turner that explores what happens to people when they are faced with choices that can make the difference between life and death. As the book progresses, Sigrid’s life becomes riddled with danger and as a reader I experienced a multitude of emotions , heard the bomb sirens, the sound of flying aircraft, felt her hunger and hardship and understood why she made the choices she did. The characterization is outstanding. The setting is an impressive imagery of the times and a unique perspective of the female experience. This book is beautifully written, the prose is lyrical and inviting and the dialogue quite sharp.
This was a good choice that kept me riveted till the end.