City of Women by David R. Gilham
Publisher: Amy Einhorn BooksPublished:August 7, 2012
When her husband gets drafted into frontline service, Sigrid Schröder joins the ranks of the husbandless wives. Berlin is drained of its men and has become a city of women, children, the elderly, and the disabled. Living with her crotchety mother-in-law, Sigrid uses the cinema as a refuge from her mother-in-law's contempt and harassment. In the cinema, she meets a mystery man and has a strange encounter with her neighbor's duty year girl, Erica Kohl.
In Berlin, everyone has their secrets and Sigrid's are piling up. Her deepening relationships with the man from the theater and Erica gives her reason to live outside the boundaries of appropriate behavior for a good German woman. Sigrid starts to realize that complacency in the current situation is the same as being a active perpetrator of atrocities. While trying to keep all her selves separate and coming to terms with possible consequences of her actions, she is blindsided by her husband's return from the frontline. As her secrets start coming to light, Sigrid starts acting rather than reacting to the changes around her.
City of Women provide a peek into the intimate life of a German women. Sigrid goes from oblivious to the reality of the war to actively following her ideals. She begins to question the government and the complacency of her countrymen. She changes from toeing the line and staying under the radar to actively taking risks and actively working for change. The book was a great, if a little dense, read. It was a little hard to follow the chain of events but overall the story was very coherent and precise.
**This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.**