City of Women
Whom do you trust, whom do you love, and who can be saved?
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 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 Sigrid can feel following her 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.
In this page-turning novel, David Gillham explores what happens to ordinary people thrust into extraordinary times, and how the choices they make can be the difference between life and death.
What the reviewers think
'Philip Kerr and Alan Furst have outdone their literary counterparts. Now, with his first novel, City of Women, David Gillham joins their rank' USA Today
'World War II Germany may be familiar ground, but 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
'A stunning debut... Gillham's transcendent prose, powerfully drawn characters, and the multilayered dilemmas make his first literary effort a powerful revelation' Publisher's Weekly
About the Author
David Gillham trained as a writer at the University of Southern California. After relocating to New York, he worked in the book industry, and now lives with his family in Western Massachusetts. City of Women is his first novel.