❰PDF❯ ✩ City of Women Author David R. Gillham – Dolove.info
3.5 stars I m a sucker for historical fiction, especially about WWll This did not disappoint. I absolutely loved this book It was so layered the characters beautiful, flawed, believable the scenes unfolding like a brilliant movie not surprising since the author is an actor and screenwriter I stayed up until 5 a.m reading this book which doesn t happen often but it is the reason why I read I love books like this Sigrid is a great heroine, I rooted for her Ericha, not so much Sigrid s lover, Egon, I just kept picturing an awesome Michael Fassbender ruthless, magnetic and endearing all in one This book, although a historical fiction, is definitely sexy I can t think of any other word The twists in this book were well conceived They don t just come out of nowhere after finishing this book, I immediately started reading it again I needed to go back and look at the details, especially about Egon s family great tactic in withholding information both from the reader s point of view and the characters I wish I knew some German the book has tons of German words weaved in but it was necessary This debut author is someone to watch out for Amazing Review copy provided by Penguin Debut Author program. Who Do You Trust, Who Do You Love, And Who Can Be Saved It Is The Height Of The Second World War And Berlin Has Essentially Become A City Of WomenSigrid Schr Der 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 Fa Ade 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 JewBut 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 GogglesSoon 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 This is another book where I seem to have the opposite opinion of pretty much everyone, and maybe I m crazy for hating this book, but hate it I do.Okay, first a disclaimer I in no way believe that a male author can not write brilliant female characters, or vice versa That said, in the case of this specific book, I don t think the male author can write a realistic female character The whole time I was reading it I was reminded that the author was male, and the primary female characters read like manifestation s of the author s sexual fantasies, with none of the nuances of character to make them interesting or three dimensional There is the gorgeous, voluptuous main character, who is so driven by her sexual urges that she seems to think with her d oh wait, that s rightshe doesn t have one Because she s supposed to be a woman, I keep forgetting And uh oh, I think it s time for another disclaimer I m not saying women can t be sexual beings and obsessed with sex above all other aspects of life I m not even saying that Sigrid and her friend at work can t both fit that description and carry on purely sexual affairs with barely a second thought although that would be a BIT rare in the 1940 s, and probably taken seriously than they do I accept that the character can feel no guilt over cheating on her wounded husband with than one partner, feel no guilt about desiring her Jewish lover to let his wife and children be sent to a concentration camp so that they can truly be together Yes, people that selfish do exist, and yes, some of them are female What I do not accept is that I am supposed to then believe that she has enough empathy to risk her own life helping Ericha also known as male fantasy number three a fierce, sexually free, dark haired young beauty, who of course at one point poses naked and sleeps with people to help the cause hide Jewish men and women from the Gestapo The characters are un even, unrealistic, and for the most part unlikable don t even get me started on Egon, the main love interest which is quite an achievement actually The two main characters risk their lives saving people from the Gestapo You would think making women like that unlikable would be a lot harder unlikely than writing female characters who are believable, and yet This is the third book in a row I ve read about Berlin in the late 1930s early 1940s before this Kino and before that All That I Am A Novel With every one, details accumulate to make this era personal, human, somehow realer to me This book has some good, sharp dialogue, especially between Sigrid and Ericha and when Sigrid meets Brigitte and Carin The plot is enthralling although it ties up too quickly in the end Maybe that s just because I want of the story and the characters There s melodrama but there s Just Drama that makes reading it worthwhile I read it quickly and I liked it a lot Berlin is a character I wish I knew it better so I could see better the streets that are named and the areas where the action takes place.I learned that in bomb shelters crying was forbidden and signs were mounted to announce as much There s a paragraph on how the Germans imagined life would be after they won the war, with Russian phrasebooks in the stores so citizens could learn how to address their new eastern servants Not all Germans are bad And always in the past, when I thought about blackouts, I thought only of people huddled in their apartments behind black curtains, and not that people and some businesses still kept up at night and how the streets must ve looked with pocket flashlights illuminating that kind of urban darkness.A reader might be sacrilegious to say this but spending time with this story is like watching a really good escapist black and white movie in the afternoon It s time well spent away from real life Only imagine what real life was back then. This book is perfect for those readers who want an intelligent thought provoking book filled with action, form the first page to the last It is filled with twists and turns and dead ends What you think you understand, well you probably don t You will by the end If you love the ride of such an adventure I highly recommend this book.The central theme, other than simply figuring out what was going on, is what role would YOU have played if you were a German during WW2 Would YOU have the guts to work in the Resistance That is not an easy question Who do you sacrifice Don t think valor is loaded all on one side Whom do you hurt I listened to the audiobook narrated by Suzanne Bertish Her reading was forceful and given the tempo and style of the book this is perfect I was a bit annoyed as she insisted on pronouncing the words Patent Office ad pay tent office So why only three stars I found annoying incongruities that made no sense to me a man s belt is not large enough tie up a suitcase with I know this is petty, but why write that Secondly, the main characters are all aberrant each in their own way The author has collected quite a group I cannot name one ordinary person among any of the central characters There is a pronounced fixation on strange sexual behavior Supposedly all the men are gone from Berlin but one woman still has three lovers Where does she get all her energy Food is rationed The cinema antics aren t all that believable, but titillating for sure What occurs in the cinema could happen but what are the chances everything would play out in this manner To put it simply, the characters are a bit hard to believe in, maybe not one at a time, but as a group Another major complaint I have is that there is little to explain why the Germans who were silent, who obediently did as they were told, acted as they did True, if you don t, you lose your job That IS in the book, but there is no history, no discussion of the fact that after WW1, inflation was rampant in Germany, there were no jobs and that the common man just wanted some food and law and order and JOBS So although I too despised those who did as they were told and followed the rules , as all good Germans should do, I would have liked depth, something that illustrated why these people behaved as they did That none of this is pointed out makes them look worse than they really were, and I don t like that This book is an exciting mystery story One thing follows another, so you have to hold on tight Characters surprise you There is sex, but heck any adult can read this And you can stop and think what would YOU have done May I recommend too other books about German life during the war A Woman in Berlin Eight Weeks in the Conquered City A Diary andOn Hitler s Mountain Overcoming the Legacy of a Nazi Childhood Een oorlogsroman met diepgangeen verhaal dat in je hoofd blijft hangen het zet aan tot nadenkenwat ook de bedoeling van de schrijver is De keuze tussen goed en kwaad , wat is goed en wat is kwaad Hoe hebben de inwoners van Berlijn tijdens WOll gereageerd op de misdaden die het regime uit hun naam heeft begaan Mensen die zeggen dat ze simpelweg proberen hun kinderen te eten te geven, een dak boven hun hoofd te houden en uit de problemen te blijven Sigrid staat voor die keuzeen maakt de keuze om U Boote te helpen Voor haar ook een vlucht uit haar alledaagse, troosteloze bestaan Iedere dag is hetzelfde, haar werk , haar gezellige schoonmoeder bij wie ze inwoont, de keuze triggert haar om het goede te doen maar ook om spanning in haar bestaan te cre ren Dit doet ze door U Boote te helpen maar ook door minnaars te nemen, van een Joodse charlatan die haar voor zijn eigen zaakjes gebruikt tot een SS officier Steeds dwingen de omstandigheden haar keuzes te maken Ik heb het verhaal in n adem uitgelezen Waarom is er geen vervolg Sorry, just wan t for me Sigrid was unlikable in a harsh, cold way, the dialogue was stilted and the sex scenes were awkward, not even including the several times male characters got a kick out of placing Sigrid s hand on their erections Plus, and I m not sure here, but I think it might be a bit harder to have sex in a movie theater seat something involving very skinny people who wouldn t take up too much room in the seat, and one of them having very flexible knees than the author made out I wanted to like this book because of the perspective of the good German, but I d recommend Stones From the River or The Book Thief over this unpleasant effort. I m afraid I didn t care for this book all that much, but the setting atmosphere, sense of place time was so well evoked that I can t totally write it off I know people are really in love with this novel, and once again I m swimming against the current of public opinion here because it just didn t do that much for me In my long review I make the point that the author s original intent to write a novel with a completely female cast of characters, because I wanted to explore wartime from a feminine point of view would have made this book realistic and would have added something to the existing works of historical fiction set during this time period, but I felt that what I got instead was like chick lit set against the backdrop of the Holocaust Rather than following his instinct, the author decided that his original idea fell flat and that he needed the dramatic tension of the love affairs to keep the plot moving and the suspense tightened from an interview at Psychology Today.Now, I know my opinion sounds kind of harsh, but well,I can t help how I feel How can there not be real suspense when, at the very least, the novel recounts Berlin in 1943 where people are being watched, or are themselves agents of the watchers or where there are regular bombing raids that create tension and a fear of nothing to go home to when the all clear sounds Then there are some of the other female characters in this novel whose stories, had they been considered and developed in terms of the original idea of wartime from a feminine point of view, would have made for much better reading and may have offered of a look at what these women might have actually gone through during this time I think I d recommend City of Women to people who like their historical fiction on the lighter side this one has of a beachy feel rather than a serious examination of lives where regiments of husbands, uncles, and brothers have been mobilized and Berlin has become a city of women. 4 starsI m struggling because I want to do this book justice but I am not in the mood to write a review I want to get something down though when everything is fairly fresh in my mind, because I loved this book.I read this as a buddy read with my Goodreads friend Diane, and also read it for my real world book club I ve been wanting to read this for ages, and I m so glad I got to this no later than I did.I even liked the love story, and I m not a romance fan Many of the characters are so memorable I love how the people are complicated and the relationships are complicated They felt very real I appreciate that a male author could write such an authentic seeming female character, telling the story in third person but mostly from her point of view I developed such strong feelings for the characters, ranging from love and admiration to hatred and, until the end of the book, at times I felt confused by some of them With some characters, I enjoyed getting to know them layer by layer it s how people generally do get to know each other.There is also such a rich plot, with many twists, a few of which I guessed ahead of the reveal, most of which I didn t guess, and a couple that I didn t at all see coming I loved how at one point in the story, I had to suspend disbelief in a major way, but then because of a twist, that part of the story made total sense, that really something else was going on that was a much sensible thing to have happened Everything, about people s motivations and personalities, and what happens in the story, they all ended up making sense to me, even though some were emotionally disturbing In some chapters, so much action is packed into so few pages.I learned some things too I had no idea that there were that many Jews left in Berlin in 1943 I got such a feel for WWII Berlin The atmosphere came through so well, both of the city, and of Sigrid s internal experience At the beginning, in particular, the oppressiveness was so well drawn Sigrid s life as it was, the experiences in the bomb shelters, just everything had me captivated.I loved the writing style.I relished the suspense, and there was a lot of it.I got completely engrossed in the book and it was really hard to put down When I did keep reading, the pages, chapters just flew by I was trying to keep in sync with my buddy which we basically were able to do and at one point the narrative was so gripping that, even though I was keeping careful track, I hadn t realized I d read from one chapter into the next Like many Jews, I ve always wondered about what if I was in the Holocaust Would I have been shot, drowned, gassed, starved, beaten to death, or would I have gotten out of occupied Europe in time, or gone into hiding, etc And then I wonder what if it was here and now and another group of people, a group of which I was not a part Would I risk my life to help them directly Indirectly Would I help in ways with less risk to myself Would I try to ignore the situation and do nothing I d like to think I would help, but I ve never felt all that brave I love these kinds of books, fiction and non fiction, because they do make you think, as well as entertain you This is a perfect book to get me again thinking of these questions And there is a lovely 4 page long author s note at the end that addresses some of the what would you do question.This is a great book I highly recommend it to all historical fiction fans, particularly those interested in the WWII years, and especially those who enjoy reading books with strong female characters.