Berlin. 1943. The RAF bomb and the Jews hide. Life in a grim totalitarian regime is something Americans know little about. That is until the informed reader picks up a copy of David R. Gillham's brilliant debut novel City of Women! The chief character is an ordinary woman who will do extraordinary things during the course of the novel. Her name is Sigrid Schroeder. She lives with her irritating mother in law in a small apartment. Her husband Kaspar worked at a bank before being drafted and sent to combat on the dreaded Eastern Front in Russia. She has no children as the couple's only child died at birth during the time of the burning of the Jewish synagogues in November 1938. Sigrid works in a glum patent office on a part time basis. She often goes to the movies. One day she meets a young woman named Ericha. We learn that this person is involved in hiding Jews from the deadly Gestapo. Sigrid becomes involved in efforts to save the Jewish victims of Hitler's evil. She becomes a heroic person by novel's end. She in far from perfect! She has a Jewish lover Egon and a German officer lover named Wolfram. Gillham has constructed an exciting plot and is able to draw good character sketches of a variety of characters. The author knows the geography of Berlin and we learn what it was like to live in this tragic era. None of the characters are all good or bad but are seen as people trying to survive and save their skins in a climate of betrayal, danger and sudden death. The sex scenes are handled with skill and the dialogue is well done.
This novel is a impressive debut novel and the author is to be commended for a fine work of fiction. I believe it could be made into a fine film Recommended for lovers of historical fiction and the Second World War.