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City of Women | [David R. Gillham]

City of Women

It is 1943 - the height of the Second World War. With the men taken by the army, Berlin has become a city of women. And while her husband fights on the Eastern Front, Sigrid Schröder is, for all intents and purposes, the model 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 façade is an entirely different Sigrid, a woman who dreams of her former Jewish lover.
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Publisher's Summary

It is 1943 - the height of the Second World War. With the men taken by the army, Berlin has become a city of women. And while her husband fights on the Eastern Front, Sigrid Schröder is, for all intents and purposes, the model 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 façade is an entirely different Sigrid, a woman who dreams of her former Jewish lover, who is now lost in the chaos of the war.

Sigrid's tedious existence is turned upside down when she finds herself hiding a mother and her two young daughters - whom she believes might be her lover's family - and she must make terrifying choices that could cost her everything.

©2012 David R. Gillham (P)2012 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (310 )
5 star
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4.0 (273 )
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4.2 (270 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Jesse's granddaughter New York 03-10-13
    Jesse's granddaughter New York 03-10-13 Member Since 2015

    repress

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Thriller with a Literary Bent"
    What made the experience of listening to City of Women the most enjoyable?

    Probably that I lived in Berlin as a student in the 70s.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Probably Sigrid because she has great integrity and intelligence and allows her life to happen without trying to control it too much.


    Which character – as performed by Suzanne Bertish – was your favorite?

    Already forgot his name, but maybe the SS officer with whom Sigrid has the affair. He's wonderfully complex and well-realized by the narrator.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Tales from the German WWII Underground.


    Any additional comments?

    At one point, it seemed like one of those stories where all the Germans were secretly good and working against the Nazis--but then the story then took interesting twists and added levels of complexity to make the characters more human and believable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 10-19-12
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 10-19-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Ten stars"

    wow! what a great listen. I've read a number of books (both fiction and nonfiction) set during the WWII era, but this was far more "grittier" than most. Really peels back the layers and describes what ordinary Germans were confronted with during the Nazi regime. Great narration by someone who could do a German accent, too (or perhaps Ms Bertish is German). This is one of those books that is better listened to than read, due to the pronunciations of all of the German locations, etc. Highly recommend!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie Rehoboth, MA, United States 10-01-12
    Bonnie Rehoboth, MA, United States 10-01-12 Member Since 2006
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    "A different view of wartime Berlin"
    Would you consider the audio edition of City of Women to be better than the print version?

    I would not know, but I generally prefer print editions. I get audio editions because I can "read" them during commutes and am able to read much more.


    What other book might you compare City of Women to and why?

    I have read many books about the Nazi period but this one is different from all the rest.


    Did Suzanne Bertish do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    She did a fair job. I was occasionally confused about characters. I was annoyed by her mispronunciations of German words like Sichterheitspolizei. Why didn't she do her homework?


    Who was the most memorable character of City of Women and why?

    The leading character. A woman of strong passions who became an activist in a time and place when this was very dangerous.


    Any additional comments?

    I lived in Berlin for a couple of years in the 80's and heard a few stories about what ordinary Berliners experienced during the War. This book gave a glimpse into the complicated and difficult lives of those who were in the capitol city during those years.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matoaka Harpers Ferry, WV USA 10-01-12
    Matoaka Harpers Ferry, WV USA 10-01-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Grim but worth it"

    If you want to listen to a book that's full of passion and despair, then this will fit the bill. The most interesting aspect is the main character's evolution from a naiive, lonely housewife into a hardened and courageous woman with a strong sense of morality as well as irony. The narrator is perfect, but her evocation of dismal daily life in wartime Berlin made me want to turn to something more lighthearted and escapist for my next selection.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pauline New Zealand 09-11-12
    Pauline New Zealand 09-11-12
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    "excellent and griping story"
    Would you listen to City of Women again? Why?

    Yes - bought this audio book by accident and thought OMG an audio !-but loved it and had it playing whilst driving long rides home from work and cooking meals - may have missed some small bits
    Actually looked forward to long drive home at the end of a working day.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    no favourites


    What does Suzanne Bertish bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Just the different charactors and voices, emotions


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    don't know but would make a great movie


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ToughCustomer New York, NY 05-13-15
    ToughCustomer New York, NY 05-13-15 Member Since 2012
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    8
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    "captivating story and reading"
    Would you listen to City of Women again? Why?

    This is one of the better books on tape I have heard with Audible. The story and intrigue moved, I was truly interested in the characters, the twists and turns of the plot, and the development of the characters - all convincing and riveting. I had a difficult time breaking away from the book and went thru it much too quickly. In addition the reading was excellent. I really felt as though it was the characters speaking rather, not lofty or stilted at all. Bertish was able to seamlessly represent a variety of male and female characters without any apparent difficulty.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine T. Martin 10-28-14 Member Since 2011
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    "A woman's awakening to her morality and humanity."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Compelling, richly described depiction of Berlin during the Hitler regime through the eyes of a young woman. As she awakens to the horror of conditions created by propaganda and hatred, Sigrid, the main character is moved to act.


    What other book might you compare City of Women to and why?

    Reminded me of Alan Furst's novels.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite scene is when Sigrid explains her political actions to her husband. While she is able to confront their dilemma, he has given up and throws himself under the wheel of tyranny. He does not condemn her. His acceptance reflects the helplessness of many German citizens who reluctantly resigned themselves to the inhumanity of the regime.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaux 08-05-14
    Margaux 08-05-14 Member Since 2014

    Taking recommendations!

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    "Young women read by old German women?"
    Any additional comments?

    I couldn't even get into this book. They have a nice young women on the cover of the book, but has an old German lady narrating. It's not the narrators fault. I could not even listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harper Wildwood, FL United States 02-21-14
    Harper Wildwood, FL United States 02-21-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Wonderful - Awful!!"

    I loved this book - I hated this book. My fingernails are bitten to the quick. And I've turned blue from holding my breath. Maybe you have to be of my generation (I was born in 1938) to really be affected by this story. I remember the newsreels and the newspapers during the second world war. This story of a non-Jew who helped Jews escape Nazi Germany seemed to me to be so real. Her miraculous escapes from the Gestapo sometimes seemed a little too miraculous - but I wouldn't have it any other way. And Bertish's narration was right on - not too dramatic - just right. The accent (I'm no expert) seemed to me to be perfect and helped me visualize the characters - the characters who were so true to life. One of my favorite characters was the mother-in-law. I felt total pity for her and would have pushed her out the window long ago. This book should be required reading for all those who can't look around and realize that such things are still going on in the world and couldn't possibly happen here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Taffet Montgomery, Al USA 12-05-13
    Linda Taffet Montgomery, Al USA 12-05-13 Member Since 2015

    LIN

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    "City of Women"
    Would you consider the audio edition of City of Women to be better than the print version?

    I loved reading the book. I want to get the audio book for my brother. It is a book that every person should give to each of the people who must read this book, It is a special gift for each person who reads the book or listens to the audio book.. I could never put the book down, It is a book about the Holocaust and Hitler. I will never understand how anybody could be so mean to anyone. When we were stationed in Germany, not one German admitted there was a Hitler or a concentration camp. Now the High School students in Germany must learn about Hitler and his team and go to a concentration camp. I am so pleased that the Board of Education is making the students know about the horrible things that were done to other people. Six million Jews were killed during World War two.

    Linda T


    What did you like best about this story?

    The way some of Germans wanted to help the Jewish people to hide from the atrocities performed by Hitler and his group of officers.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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