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Extended Audio Sample City of Women, by David R. Gillham Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,720 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David R. Gillham Narrator: Suzanne Bertish Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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It is 1943—the height of the Second World War—and Berlin has essentially become a city of women. Sigrid Schröder is, for all intents and purposes, 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 Nazi regime.

But behind this façade is an entirely different Sigrid, a woman who dreams of her former lover, now lost in the chaos of the war. Her lover is a Jew. But Sigrid is not the only one with secrets.

A high ranking SS officer and his family move down the hall, and Sigrid finds herself pulled into their orbit. A young woman doing her duty-year is out of excuses before Sigrid can even ask her any questions. And then there’s the blind man selling pencils on the corner, whose eyes follow Sigrid from behind the darkness of his goggles.

Soon, Sigrid is embroiled in a world she knew nothing about, and as her eyes open to the reality around her, the carefully constructed fortress of solitude she has built over the years begins to collapse. She must choose to act on what is right and what is wrong—and what falls somewhere in the shadows between the two.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Haunting and sensual, City of Women is a story of survival, of the unfathomable choices made and consequences suffered by those pushed to the brink. David Gillham has depicted a little-known aspect of the war with humanity and grace. Pam Jenoff, internationally bestselling author of The Things We Cherished
  • If you enjoy beautiful story telling, gripping suspense, and a distractingly romantic plot, this is the book for you! An exciting, page turning read! Kathleen Grissom, New York Times–bestselling author of The Kitchen House
  • City of Women is a big, brilliant, passionate book, a masterful evocation of Hitler’s Berlin in all its claustrophobia, duplicity, and fear. This is a thriller of searing intensity. . . .  I found it utterly compelling. Margaret Leroy, New York Times–bestselling author of The Soldier’s Wife
  • “Gillham’s excellent new novel…is built on one of the most extraordinary and faithful recreations of a time in history—Berlin in World War II—that I’ve ever read.”

    Alan Furst, New York Times bestselling author

  • David Gillham’s excellent new novel, City of Women, is built on one of the most extraordinary and faithful re-creations of a time in history—Berlin in World War II—that I’ve ever read. Alan Furst,  New York Times–bestselling author of Spies of the Balkans
  • In this moving and masterful debut, David Gillham brings war-torn Berlin to life and reveals the extraordinary mettle of women tested to their limits and beyond. Powerful and piercingly real. You won’t soon forget these characters. Paula McLain, New York Times–bestselling author of The Paris Wife
  • “In this moving and masterful debut, David Gillham brings war-torn Berlin to life and reveals the extraordinary mettle of women tested to their limits and beyond. Powerful and piercingly real. You won’t soon forget these characters.”

    Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author

  • City of Women is a big, brilliant, passionate book, a masterful evocation of Hitler’s Berlin in all its claustrophobia, duplicity, and fear. This is a thriller of searing intensity…I found it utterly compelling.”

    Margaret Leroy, New York Times bestselling author

  • “The author’s impeccable research, realism, and tenderness are important. They make fiction seem like a viable tool for reminding ourselves of history as it truly happened—and not simply as it affects us.”

    USA Today

  • “In this stunning debut about the battle between good and evil, Gillham puts a fresh spin on the horrors of WWII by focusing on civilian German women to reveal that, amid the many adherents of the party line there were a handful of unsung heroes…Gillham’s transcendent prose…powerfully drawn characters, and the multilayered dilemmas make his first literary effort a powerful revelation.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • City of Women is extraordinary for what it does not do. It does not detail the events or imagined conversations of Hitler’s Reich, and it has not a single scene of life in the death camps. Instead, it chronicles—in detail so specific that it’s mesmerizing, but not so obviously researched as to be annoying—life for ‘ordinary’ Berliners at a time that was anything but. Through Heroine Sigrid Schröder, a German wife drawn into an affair with a Jew, Gillham shows us a world in which not all Germans are bad, not all Jews are victims, and loyalty is a fiction, the grimmest of fairy tales.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Sometimes it seems as if novels about WWII are a dime a dozen. David Gillham’s City of Women, narrated by Suzanne Bertish, manages to find a fresh angle on the much-told story…Bertish narrates ably, making Sigrid come alive to the point that her large character arc seems quite believable.”

    AudioFile

  • “Gillham tells a gripping story centered around strong and remarkable characters…Scenes of wartime Berlin are powerfully described, and the lot of the ordinary citizen is artfully shown. Gillham’s romantic and suspenseful novel, commandingly written and believable, should be widely read.”

    Booklist

  • “Gillham’s novel—vividly cinematic yet subtle and full of moral ambiguity, not to mention riveting characters—is as impossible to put down as it is to forget.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Haunting and sensual, City of Women is a story of survival, of the unfathomable choices made and consequences suffered by those pushed to the brink. David Gillham has depicted a little-known aspect of the war with humanity and grace.” 

    Pam Jenoff, author of The Things We Cherished

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, August 2012
  • Selected for the August 2012 Indie Next List
  • One of the Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2012
  • An Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Book, August 2012
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Cherry | 2/7/2014

    " I listened to this book and about half way through I skipped to the last disc and felt I lost nothing by doing so. Obviously, this book gave insight to German women in WWII, but the lead character was not one I wanted to continue. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Josilyn | 2/7/2014

    " A very chilling and haunting look into the Berlin of WWII and a gripping novel that asks some very provocative questions: how do you define what is right and what is wrong? Does breaking the law always mean that you're a criminal? This is a darker novel that what I'm used to, but one I'm glad I read anyway, because there aren't a lot of novels that explore Hitler's Germany. It goes to show that those who choose not to see and not to act can also be as criminal as the ones who commit atrocious crimes, and it brings to mind ways in which this mindset is still alive today. In what ways do we choose not to see because it's easier? Be prepared, because this novel will make you ask that question of yourself. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Allison Smith | 1/25/2014

    " Fabulous story... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Debbie Tanner | 1/22/2014

    " I liked this historical fiction about a woman living in Berlin in 1943. It gives a fairly graphic depiction of what life was like then... the terror of bombing, the drudgery of rationing, the hypocrisy of people trying to find something to believe in. It was not a light read but very interesting and thought provoking. "

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