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Kaethe

Kaethe

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A Castle in Wartime - Catherine Bailey

A Castle in Wartime - Catherine Bailey

This is how highly I think of Catherine Bailey's work: she has a new book, I place an order, I receive it, I start reading it. Why no, I hadn't even noticed the subtitle until I pulled the book up here to mark it Currently Reading.
Doesn't matter. It's going to be fascinating.

***

And it was. I hate the title though. Not that I have a better suggestion.

The topic is right in my wheelhouse: women in wartime. In this case, a young woman, daughter of the German ambassador to Italy during WWII. She met and married an Italian nobleman, bore two sons, and tried to hold the estate, its farm, and the surrounding community safe against the Germans. Meanwhile her father and her husband are both off, fighting against their respective country's fascist leaders.

The Gestapo come for her, taking her and the boys to Austria, where they are taken from her and she is sent through a succession of concentration camps.

Italy isn't a country whose history I know very well, and although I've read a fair amount about WWII none of it was ever about the resistance within Germany to the Nazis and their atrocities. You know how in time travel stories everyone's first thought seems to be "Let's kill Hitler?" There couldn't have been many more attempts on his life if all those stories were true. I had no idea.

It is heartening to know that so many within these countries were resisting, often at enormous personal and familial cost. There are those who think blaming some poorly-treated minority for the ills of their society, rather than, say, the actual people who are running the government and controlling the capital. But there are also the others who despise aggression and are appalled by violence. I need to hear more of those stories.

Side bar: it is not a "brothel" full of "prostitutes" in the concentration camps. Rape as an act of war isn't any less horrific for being indoors and controlled by military authorities.

Library copy