“City of Women” by David R. Gillham is a wonderful book about Berlin in World War II. At times exhilarating and depressing, this book conveys what it must have been like to have lived in Berlin during the Second World War. The title aptly describes the inhabitants of the German capital at this time in history. I was totally immersed in this time period while reading this novel. Sigfrid is a woman married to a German soldier on the Eastern front, but having engaged in a love affair with a Jewish man, who is involved in counter espionage. Sigfrid lives with her strong willed mother-in-law. Theirs is not a happy cohabitation. I was most struck by the suffering and chaos surrounding the Berlin residents. One did not know whom to trust. Some were helping those whose lives were in danger from the Gestapo to leave Berlin. It was a dangerous business, including persons who were most unlikely candidates for that kind of activity. Everyone was suspect and everyone looked over their shoulder out and about and even at home. I found myself becoming almost paranoid reading this novel. I always try to put myself in the situations which I read about and this was quite a harrowing story. I would heartily recommend this novel to anyone with a passion to read about history, either fiction or non-fiction. I saw elements of both in this work by Mr. Gillham. It is not a book that one can easily put down and leave for a day. I found myself glued to the text as I had to know who and what the drama was about.
I received a free copy of this book from the Penguin Group, for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.