• Hardcover: 608 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (May 14, 2019)
From the New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, an enthralling historical saga that recreates the danger, romance, and sacrifice of an era and brings to life one courageous, passionate American—Mildred Fish Harnack—and her circle of women friends who waged a clandestine battle against Hitler in Nazi Berlin.
After Wisconsin graduate student Mildred Fish marries brilliant German economist Arvid Harnack, she accompanies him to his German homeland, where a promising future awaits. In the thriving intellectual culture of 1930s Berlin, the newlyweds create a rich new life filled with love, friendships, and rewarding work—but the rise of a malevolent new political faction inexorably changes their fate.
As Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party wield violence and lies to seize power, Mildred, Arvid, and their friends resolve to resist. Mildred gathers intelligence for her American contacts, including Martha Dodd, the vivacious and very modern daughter of the US ambassador. Her German friends, aspiring author Greta Kuckoff and literature student Sara Weitz, risk their lives to collect information from journalists, military officers, and officials within the highest levels of the Nazi regime.
For years, Mildred’s network stealthily fights to bring down the Third Reich from within. But when Nazi radio operatives detect an errant Russian signal, the Harnack resistance cell is exposed, with fatal consequences.
Inspired by actual events, Resistance Women is an enthralling, unforgettable story of ordinary people determined to resist the rise of evil, sacrificing their own lives and liberty to fight injustice and defend the oppressed.
My thoughts: While this brief synopsis reads like historical fiction, it’s actually based on a true story which I love. Mildred Harnack and Greta Kuckhoff are both based on real people. The character Sara Weitz is based on multiple Jewish-German women in the resistance. The only character I was familiar with was Martha Dodd who I thought was portrayed perfectly from what I have read about her. I was so impressed and amazed by this group of strong women who stood up against the atrocities that were playing out despite of the danger they faced.
It’s obvious that a lot of research went into this book. I really liked this aspect of it. It was interesting to see the build up before Hitler came into power and how most of the nation just turned a blind eye. It was a fresh perspective of this time period for me since most of the historical fiction based on this time all take place during WWII. I loved Mildred and her determination to do the right thing. The way she built this network of people while staying under the radar was amazing. I will say that it is a very dense book so be prepared to spend some time with it when you do read it.
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About Jennifer Chiaverini
Jennifer Chiaverini is the New York Times bestselling author of several acclaimed historical novels and the beloved Elm Creek Quilts series. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin.