City of Women by David R. Gillham
It is 1943—the height of the Second World War. With the men away at the front, Berlin has become a city of women.
On the surface, Sigrid Schröder is the model German 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 Sigrid is not the only one with secrets—she soon finds herself caught between what is right and what is wrong, and what falls somewhere in the shadows between the two . . . (back cover)
Sigrid’s husband is far away at the war and she’s living very bored life with boring job and living with her mother-in-law. But then she meets Egon at the cinema and they became lovers. She also befriends young girl named Ericha who has ties with underground movement that helps Jews.
I had read lots of great reviews about this and I was quite excited to start this but unfortunately this just wasn’t for me.
The first half started very slowly, I couldn’t connect with the characters and I didn’t like either Sigrid or Egon.
We have many, and I mean many, sex scenes and I’m not sure if her adulterous relationships were supposed to make me like her but it didn’t. And while she seems so in love with her Jewish lover, she also has sex with her neighbor’s brother.
I didn’t quite understand how she even became to have any feelings for Egon because besides sex they don’t actually talk very much. Or when Sigrid tries to talk and get to know him, he just shuts off. He never tells her anything about him or his past and she just takes it all.
And also what kind of intelligent person would have sex with a Jew in a crowded cinema at the times like that? I mean you could end up in prison or whatever for that but apparently you just can’t help that… And when we do learn more about Egon’s dealings it definitely didn’t make me like him any more.
I liked the second part more and the parts where Sigrid was helping the Jews and her relationship with Ericha. But otherwise this just fell flat for me.
Published: Berkley (2013)