Jennifer Chiaverini comes to the blog today with a story of three women and their activities before and during the great transitions in Germany as Hitler came to power, and with the struggles and changes of wartime Germany.
Told in 3 different perspectives and spanning the years from 1929 through 1946 in an ever-increasingly difficult German climate, Chiaverini mixes fact and imagined information, as well as a character that is an amalgam of the many Jewish women of her day, the story tells of the German Resistance: those determined to do what they can to stop the growth of the Reich and the influence of Hitler on both German and World citizens alike. Mildred, Greta and Sara are all literary minded women, scholarly and thinking only to earn their doctorates and begin their lives as their lives are indelibly altered.
Mildred, an American married to a German that she met at the University of Wisconsin, has forgone her life in the states (and her doctoral work) to teach American Lit in Germany. Greta worked from modest means in a small German town to get to America to work on her doctorate. Sara is the youngest daughter with an older brother working for a newspaper and her sister married to a Captain of the Wehrmacht, she’s also dating a German boy, a Christian who travels frequently for work. These three, through their salons and intellectual pursuits happen to come together in Berlin: and with first the increase in anti-fascist tensions that quickly escalates to Hitler’s election and quick rise to “chancellor” they are all quietly (and not so) working behind the scenes to pass information to the Americans, British and Russians in order to show the ‘real story”.
We move through their increased levels of worry and vigilance as the restrictions and dangers increase, and the stakes for them all increase: messages to smuggled documents, struggles over emigration and curfews, and always, the ever-present danger of discovery. Operating in small groups, with few having connections to more than one, the three are key to showing the simple and subtle changes to citizens in a world where discrimination, anger and hate are not only commonplace but expected, if the leader is any sort of model. These were three women who didn’t and couldn’t simply ignore the change in the streets or the discriminations, helping others, speaking frankly, even going so far as to educate others to discern propaganda from actual news: it was a chilling comparison to the political climate today, as well as an engrossing and hugely emotionally gripping read. Told in four parts in blocks of 3 or 4 months the story flows with easily recognizable historic events, descriptions and imagery that invokes an emotional and palpable response. Most certainly this a read for those who want some ‘feel’ for just how quickly things can go pear-shaped, as well as a treatise declaiming the selfish attitude of those not speaking out because “they” or “their group” was untouched.
Title: Resistance Women
Author: Jennifer Chiaverini
Genre: Family Saga, German, Literary Fiction /Historical Setting, Political commentary, Pre World War II, Setting: Germany, Suspense Elements, World War II
Published by: William Morrow
Published on: 14 May, 2019
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 19 Hours: 48 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Audible
From the New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, an enthralling historical saga that recreates the danger, romance, and sacrifice of an era and brings to life one courageous, passionate American—Mildred Fish Harnack—and her circle of women friends who waged a clandestine battle against Hitler in Nazi Berlin.
After Wisconsin graduate student Mildred Fish marries brilliant German economist Arvid Harnack, she accompanies him to his German homeland, where a promising future awaits. In the thriving intellectual culture of 1930s Berlin, the newlyweds create a rich new life filled with love, friendships, and rewarding work—but the rise of a malevolent new political faction inexorably changes their fate.
As Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party wield violence and lies to seize power, Mildred, Arvid, and their friends resolve to resist. Mildred gathers intelligence for her American contacts, including Martha Dodd, the vivacious and very modern daughter of the US ambassador. Her German friends, aspiring author Greta Kuckoff and literature student Sara Weitz, risk their lives to collect information from journalists, military officers, and officials within the highest levels of the Nazi regime.
For years, Mildred’s network stealthily fights to bring down the Third Reich from within. But when Nazi radio operatives detect an errant Russian signal, the Harnack resistance cell is exposed, with fatal consequences.
Inspired by actual events, Resistance Women is an enthralling, unforgettable story of ordinary people determined to resist the rise of evil, sacrificing their own lives and liberty to fight injustice and defend the oppressed.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.