cover image Resistance Women

Resistance Women

Jennifer Chiaverini. Morrow, $26.99 (608p) ISBN 978-0-06-284110-0

Chiavernini (Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker) offers an intimate and historically sound exploration of the years leading up to and through WWII. At this novel’s center, four women—Mildred Fish, Greta Kuckoff, Sara Weitz, and Martha Dodd—do what they can to help the resistance in Germany. Aspiring author Greta and Sara, a Jewish student of literature, are German nationals; Mildred is an American who married her college sweetheart, German writer/economist Arvid Harnack; and Martha Dodd is the daughter of the American ambassador to Germany. Together, they work to fight the malevolent rise of fascism and risk their lives by pursuing their activities even when under close Gestapo observation, and refusing to expose one another despite torture. Their connections are helpful: Arvid gains information in his position as an economist with the Germans; Mildred, Greta, and Sara find resistance fighters who can pass on information; and while Martha remains in the country, she’s able to contribute through her connections as the daughter of an ambassador. This fictionalized version of real-life heroes is told with prose that ranges from forthright to eloquent, and the focus on the road to war and evolving attitudes regarding fascism and Nazism is exceptionally insightful, making for a sweeping and memorable WWII novel. [em](May) [/em]