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Resistance Women

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Resistance Women

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    This is my first experience with Chiaverini and I am impressed. From 1929 through 1946, three women look on in horror as the Nazi Party rises and comes into power. Mildred Harnack is an American intellectual married to a German and Greta Kuckhoff is a hopeful German writer formerly enrolled at the University of Wisconsin where she met the Harnacks. Their stories are factual and both are members of the Red Orchestra, a resistance cell operating in Berlin. Sara Weitz is a Jewish-German literature This is my first experience with Chiaverini and I am impressed. From 1929 through 1946, three women look on in horror as the Nazi Party rises and comes into power. Mildred Harnack is an American intellectual married to a German and Greta Kuckhoff is a hopeful German writer formerly enrolled at the University of Wisconsin where she met the Harnacks. Their stories are factual and both are members of the Red Orchestra, a resistance cell operating in Berlin. Sara Weitz is a Jewish-German literature student and enrolled in Harnack’s lectures. She is a composite of Jewish members of the Red Orchestra. Having read a number of WWII nonfiction books, the historical accuracy is probably the best I’ve read within the subgenre of historical fiction. Don’t expect a rip roaring WWII adventure full of blowing up bridges and railroad tracks, carefully planned assassinations or harrowing escapes from the Nazis. Rather, this is a story of brave women committing espionage and acts of protest against an evil fascist regime.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    I finally read a book by Jennifer Chiaverini! I’ve meant to for ages now, and I’m thrilled to say my first book from her was epic! Mildred Fish is a graduate student from Wisconsin. She marries a German economist, Arvid Harnack, and moves with him to Germany. Berlin in the 1930s is swimming with intellectuals, and the newlyweds are enjoying their work and social lives. At the same time, we all know Hitler and his Nazi party are rising in power. Mildred and Arvid decide to resist. Mildred I finally read a book by Jennifer Chiaverini! I’ve meant to for ages now, and I’m thrilled to say my first book from her was epic! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Mildred Fish is a graduate student from Wisconsin. She marries a German economist, Arvid Harnack, and moves with him to Germany. Berlin in the 1930s is swimming with intellectuals, and the newlyweds are enjoying their work and social lives. At the same time, we all know Hitler and his Nazi party are rising in power. Mildred and Arvid decide to resist. Mildred begins by collecting intelligence for the US. Her friends, Greta and Sara, collect information from all manner of sources, including Nazi officials. They build a network to retrieve and share intelligence. Mildred and her group work for years until they are exposed. Resistance Women is inspired by true events. I was completely enamored with Mildred, her devotion to doing what’s right, and how she helped build a network of individuals who for years provided insider information she could bravely and boldly share for the good of the entire world. Resistance Women is a story to sink into, to relax and explore, to worry, to feel, and to think. Would you do the same thing these three women did? The book is thoughtful, thought-provoking, powerful, and inspiring. The author’s note including information on the real people is not to be missed! I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com

  3. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Jennifer Chiaverini's latest historical novel delves into the lives of four women- three historical and one fictional that along with their husbands and family members took a stand against Adolf Hitler and the Nazi government. A well researched, well-detailed narrative, Resistance Women takes readers from 1930's Germany all the way through the war and into 1946. Wisconsin graduate student Mildred Fish, daughter of an American ambassor Martha Dodd, literature student Greta Kuckoff, and Jewish Jennifer Chiaverini's latest historical novel delves into the lives of four women- three historical and one fictional that along with their husbands and family members took a stand against Adolf Hitler and the Nazi government. A well researched, well-detailed narrative, Resistance Women takes readers from 1930's Germany all the way through the war and into 1946. Wisconsin graduate student Mildred Fish, daughter of an American ambassor Martha Dodd, literature student Greta Kuckoff, and Jewish university student Sara Weitz are our eyes and ears during this period of mass change in Germany. These women all faced tremendous personal and professional obstacles, but they refused to bow down and instead placed themselves in danger to protest the loss of freedoms in their country. Although some political leaders in the post war period such as De Gaulle and Stalin wanted to stem the importance of resistance in the allied victory, there is no doubt that today's reading audiences are defintely hungering to hear more of what ordinary people did to resist. Many of my WWII reads in 2019 have been on the subject of resistance and in my humble reader opinion this is by far the best and most important historical fiction novel of 2019 The book is daunting with its four character perspective, large quantity of pages, and attention to many of the events in German history that show the way in which the Third Reich slowly gained power over its population. Trust me, it is all worth it! Goodreads review published 08/09/19 My third attempt to write a review since Goodreads app was having some difficulty yesterday.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kimberley Burg

    Just started this book and feel an eerie similarity to our current situation in the United States as the unthinkable builds in 1930's Germany. Well written if not fast paced. The slow pace of the book provides a sense of the unthinkable unfolding and reminds the reader of how glacial change can be destructive, perhaps more so than a catastrophic sudden shift. A lengthy book reflective of the topic and the period.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” --- Edmund Burke ”Some fires burned themselves out only after consuming everything within reach of the flames.” Beginning in June of 1929, this story shares the stories of several women living in Germany during the rise of the Nazi Party, and the stories of those whose lives connected with theirs. Two of these women, Mildred Harnack and Greta Kuckhoff, were based on their real lives, living and operating as "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” --- Edmund Burke ”Some fires burned themselves out only after consuming everything within reach of the flames.” Beginning in June of 1929, this story shares the stories of several women living in Germany during the rise of the Nazi Party, and the stories of those whose lives connected with theirs. Two of these women, Mildred Harnack and Greta Kuckhoff, were based on their real lives, living and operating as members of the resistance in Germany, through the Red Orchestra. The third woman, Sara Weitz, was a character based on the multiple Jewish-German women who were also members of the Red Orchestra, Die Rote Kapelle, also called the Red Chapel by the Gestapo. The Red Orchestra being a conglomeration of separate resistance groups united in the belief that the evil incarnate in this regime must be thwarted. Of these three women, one is an American, Mildred Harnack, a teacher in Berlin whose husband, Arvid, is German. Mildred meets Greta, an aspiring author, and Arvid when she is a student at the University of Wisconsin. Once they are in Germany, Sara Weitz meets Harnack through her lectures. Aiding these three women is Martha Dodd whose father is the American ambassador to Germany. This was a fascinating look at this time and place, how things changed at a pace that had most of the population turn a blind eye to the changes, a little here, a little there, until it was too late. And evil triumphed, if for a time. The focus, however, isn’t on the war or the concentration camps, but on these women who put their lives on the line to end the spread of this evil. At 594 pages, this was not a fast read, or leisurely, but it was eye opening and very thought-provoking to read. Many thanks to the ARC provided by my BookAngel

  6. 4 out of 5

    Fred

    This ambitious World War II novel is vast in its historical record and scope, taking us from the beginning of Hitler's rise to power through the end of the war, focusing in detail on the sociological and historical aspects of the rise of Nazism and Hitler, and the attempts by a few brave souls to withstand and resist and finally to just survive the onslaught of the horrors the characters face that grow larger and more incomprehensible every year. The author's grasp of the period is amazing, and This ambitious World War II novel is vast in its historical record and scope, taking us from the beginning of Hitler's rise to power through the end of the war, focusing in detail on the sociological and historical aspects of the rise of Nazism and Hitler, and the attempts by a few brave souls to withstand and resist and finally to just survive the onslaught of the horrors the characters face that grow larger and more incomprehensible every year. The author's grasp of the period is amazing, and she conveys the realities of the time in Germany very well. There are broad historical brushstrokes as well as more detailed looks at what everyday life must have been like for your average German citizen, who found herself swept up in the madness of the National Socialist movement. Because of the tremendous scope of this novel, which aims to provide an idea of the larger historical movement as well as the more focused daily impact of these movements on the lives of the characters, the story suffers when the author turns her attention to the actual human interests here, the 4 characters that are the foci of the story. In good historical fiction the historical background serves the interest of the characters, serves as a way to highlight their personalities, choices, actions, etc. The setting should always be in service to the characters. In this novel, however, the characters seem to just be the conduit for writing about the history, which is clearly the author's strong point. There's no heart here. We see the individual lives and the specifics of the day-to-day encroachments of Nazism on the characters, but there is a lack of soul in their stories. The reader is never very attached to them. This is partly because there are so many of them to deal with, the author never delves too deeply into any of their minds or hearts. The author does a great job of showing the at first slow progression of the steady march of Nazism on German society, the incremental changes to the Jewish laws, and the way that the characters become the frogs in the pot as they go along with the changes to their world, having no other choice but to hope for the best as their world crumbles around them. We feel along with the characters the various reactions to events, moving from denial to disbelief, to sadness, shock, and horror. I have to admit, though, that I skimmed much of this novel. It was overlong, at more than 500 pages. I think the author was trying for a saga but ended up with a textbook with some personal stories thrown in. A word about politics: in a novel like this, the reader should never be able to detect the author's political views. However, the author makes a not-so-subtle point of repeatedly drawing a parallel between Hitler and Donald Trump. No matter where an author's political leanings fall, a novel of historical fiction is not the appropriate venue for such musings. Aside from that, the comparisons are ludicrous and so beyond the pale of any rational political discourse, that the novel suffers greatly from this insertion of the author's views.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Travel.with.a.book

    Resistance Women takes you to a whole brilliant journey and it follows the WWI from the beginning of Hitler's rise, and the story is elaborated very intriguing with mixed emotions, a huge applause for Chiaverini for writing such a wonderful story! She really is a powerful Author to share an amazing story with all of us, and we're so happy to have her book in our May choice for our Monthly Picks so make sure to grab a copy! . The reality of the time is so accurate and it is very professional in Resistance Women takes you to a whole brilliant journey and it follows the WWI from the beginning of Hitler's rise, and the story is elaborated very intriguing with mixed emotions, a huge applause for Chiaverini for writing such a wonderful story! She really is a powerful Author to share an amazing story with all of us, and we're so happy to have her book in our May choice for our Monthly Picks so make sure to grab a copy! . The reality of the time is so accurate and it is very professional in that level, surviving each day was so intriguing for the family and the acts that followed were so different and interesting, I really liked the way how the Author portrayed the National Socialist movement, it felt like I saw a movie within the movie! The book is really unputdownable and it has 600 pages which will feel to you like 6 because the story is so unique and interesting you wouldn't want to finish! . The true story of the brave women were so incredibly powerful, they tried to fight the injustice being done to the oppressed during the war! All the character's actions are focused on taking down the Nazis! You'll enjoy every detail of the book that has taken part in one of the worst moment of Human's history! . The novel follows with four different main characters, we meet Midred an American girl who is a teacher in Berlin, she's married to Arvid Harnack! The second character is Greta who is a Writer, her love romance hasn't still been free from different reasons so she's back to Germany from Wisconsin! Then we meet Sara Weits a Jewish girl, and a student of Mildred's ! And the end we will meet martha Dodd the daughter of the American Ambassador who is able to help in ways no one else can! The mixed company will make this historical fiction a mind-blowing story which you'll fall in love! . I enjoyed the experience of the brave women so much, the feelings were so strong and the background was set in such a vivid old amazing details! The restrictive laws, food cuts and the fear of Berlin's citizens were fascinating, the Author's research must've been so deep as the book is more than a five stars for us! The ending of the book is powerful and really emotional, we highly recommend you to read this wonderful book!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    Although this book is shown as a work of fiction, it is also noted that the events portrayed in this book are based on historical facts. Jennifer Chiaverini does it again, that being that she has written an extraordinary story in "Resistance Women". She never disappoints. Told in varying viewpoints, the story revolves around American Mildred Fish Harnack, and the friends who support her - and each other - through an extremely harrowing time in history when nothing, and no one, is safe, especially Although this book is shown as a work of fiction, it is also noted that the events portrayed in this book are based on historical facts. Jennifer Chiaverini does it again, that being that she has written an extraordinary story in "Resistance Women". She never disappoints. Told in varying viewpoints, the story revolves around American Mildred Fish Harnack, and the friends who support her - and each other - through an extremely harrowing time in history when nothing, and no one, is safe, especially Jews and intellectuals, of which many of the characters are a member. Mildred Fish graduates from a school in Wisconsin and then marries Arvid Harnack, a German economist. She relocates with her husband to his homeland, settling in Berlin, where they hope to have a brilliant future together. When the Nazis come into power, Mildred, her friends, and others decide to resist at all cost. That decision will cost them dearly. Mildred herself divulges intelligence to American contacts. Her friends, Greta and Sarah, also begin the high risk activity of gathering intelligence from journalists. Knowing this book is based on factual events, you will find yourself both heartbroken and yet in awe of the bravery of people who refuse to bend and to stand and defy in the name of all that is right.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Timerman

    Going into this book I thought I knew what to expect, but not in this detail, and not when I felt that I needed to get out of there and leave. When I think about those that stay and then what happened, I thought about staying in my own home, it’s mine why should I leave, and that mentality could get them killed. Through the author we get to walk on the streets of Berlin during this horrific time, and we put faces to those who can see what is happening and do what they can to help thwart this Going into this book I thought I knew what to expect, but not in this detail, and not when I felt that I needed to get out of there and leave. When I think about those that stay and then what happened, I thought about staying in my own home, it’s mine why should I leave, and that mentality could get them killed. Through the author we get to walk on the streets of Berlin during this horrific time, and we put faces to those who can see what is happening and do what they can to help thwart this evil. This is a very long book, but I was mesmerized and hoping for a change in history, of course that didn’t happen, but the research that was put into this read is awesome! I loved the fact that the author’s notes update on what happened to these real people, or mostly, making you wonder how so many could turn a blind eye. A timely book, history should not be forgotten. I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher William Morrow, and was not required to give a positive review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    Another historical fiction novel about WWII. I’m sorry, but this was a struggle from about 20% in until the end. The author seemed to lose touch with her characters and only slightly used them to give a TON of facts about the war in Berlin. So glad I finished but really wish I had never bothered to read it. One additional note. I did marvel over the similarities in what Hitler said/did in his rise to power and what Trump says and does. It’s frightening, almost as if they were following the same Another historical fiction novel about WWII. I’m sorry, but this was a struggle from about 20% in until the end. The author seemed to lose touch with her characters and only slightly used them to give a TON of facts about the war in Berlin. So glad I finished but really wish I had never bothered to read it. One additional note. I did marvel over the similarities in what Hitler said/did in his rise to power and what Trump says and does. It’s frightening, almost as if they were following the same handbook. Somewhere it said that Hitler and the Nazis kept repeating the same lies over and over, so much that even the people who had been there and had seen with their own eyes that this was a lie began to doubt themselves. Also, the free press is the enemy of fascism. Sounds so familiar...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karen Macedo

    I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. Thank you to William Morrow. The story is about the brave women in the resistance during the second world war. Some of the characters are the actual women who tried to fight the injustice being done to the oppressed during the war. Really well written and well researched. One of the best books I've read about the second world war.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amy Bullis

    One of the best books I’ve read; I could not put it down for the first 400 pages. My reading pace slowed as I neared the end because I’d fallen in love with the characters, and I didn’t want their stories to end as I knew they would. This excellent work needs to be on everyone’s “to read” list.

  13. 4 out of 5

    The Lit Bitch

    3.5 stars This book showed up on my desk for review a few months ago and I was absolutely in love with the cover! It reminded me of spring and it was elegant and had a lot of visual interest. The summary also sounded like something I would love, as I especially love war time stories. Chiaverini has written a variety of different books, with her most widely known book being Mrs Lincoln’s Dressmaker as well as a women’s fiction quilting series called, Elm Creek Quilts. This book seemed completely out 3.5 stars This book showed up on my desk for review a few months ago and I was absolutely in love with the cover! It reminded me of spring and it was elegant and had a lot of visual interest. The summary also sounded like something I would love, as I especially love war time stories. Chiaverini has written a variety of different books, with her most widely known book being Mrs Lincoln’s Dressmaker as well as a women’s fiction quilting series called, Elm Creek Quilts. This book seemed completely out of her normal genre. Her signature genre seemed to be historical fiction with crafting and women’s fiction with crafting so I wondered how this book about resistance women in WWII was going to come together and be different than her usual stories! I have to say that I admire Chiaverini’s ability to shift genres and write memorable stories. While this book was on the longer, more dense/heavy side (over 600 pages), I did enjoy it and I commend her for reaching out into a new genre. There were some parts that were a little slow for me, but on the whole I thought the book mostly flowed ok, but it was just slow in parts and had a lot of historic detail . It definitely wasn’t a books that I was able to ‘breeze’ through. It took me a few days of aggressive reading to get through it. While it was an enjoyable story, it was just long and had a lot of heavy content to process and uncover. I did love reading about the 4 women though. I thought the author created interesting women and intriguing stories for them. While this book was on the long side, I did feel like I learned some new bits about history. I liked that this book gave some female perspective on the state of Germany at the time of the war and I enjoyed getting a bit of ‘behind the scenes’ views of history here. I didn’t know that this book was based on a true story, the characters themselves were fictional, but their stories were based on true events. I thought that was exciting and well researched so I commend the author on this front but at times I felt like this book had a little too much history in some parts. Overall I ended up going with 3.5 stars for this one. It was good and interesting, but the length was just a little much for the story in my opinion. See my full review here

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I'll be honest: I almost put this one off indefinitely after realizing I had about 5-6 World War II historical fiction novels sitting on my shelf, waiting to be read. I'm not sure why every author seems to have released one this year, but my shelf is FULL of them. It was hard to decide which one to read first, and reading too many of them close together would just confuse them in my head. I don't remember how I ended up choosing this one to come first, but I'm glad I was able to fit it in. I'll be honest: I almost put this one off indefinitely after realizing I had about 5-6 World War II historical fiction novels sitting on my shelf, waiting to be read. I'm not sure why every author seems to have released one this year, but my shelf is FULL of them. It was hard to decide which one to read first, and reading too many of them close together would just confuse them in my head. I don't remember how I ended up choosing this one to come first, but I'm glad I was able to fit it in. Resistance Women is based on real people (almost every main character was a real person) and real resistance activities. It starts quite early compared to most WWII fiction, all the way in 1929. It follows the characters through Hitler's rise to power and the gradual changes in Germany, all the way through the end of the war. To be honest, the resistance activities are pretty tame, as far as resistance went, but the important thing wasn't the resistance itself, but the women who risked their lives and safety to try to stop the Nazis. (view spoiler)[ If this book had been more fiction and just loosely based on actual events, it likely would have somehow had every character evade detection and live happily ever after. Because it's based on real people, though, most of our characters don't have happy endings. (hide spoiler)] It's hard to read historical fiction when you're familiar with the era, especially when you know the characters are making the wrong choices. When a character mentions offhand that a Jewish friend escaped to Poland where they'd be safe, how do you not sit and silently scream "noooooo"? How do you feel hopeful, as the characters do, and think "how much worse could it get?" as early as 1933? (Answer: so very, very much worse.) When characters are presented with multiple opportunities to escape to safety earlier in the 1930s, and they decide to stay in Germany, you just want to yell at them to stop being naive and just GO. But if everyone did what we know, in hindsight, they should have, it wouldn't feel very true to the era and wouldn't really be good historical fiction. It took me a few days to read this, in part because it was fairly long (608 pages) and in part because I'd need to set it down from time to time to do something a little less stressful. It never felt particularly long or slow, which was nice, and I enjoyed the writing and the story, insofar as one can enjoy a story about Nazi Germany. This was an excellent book and it presented an angle I haven't read a million times (though, to be fair, I don't read every WWII historical fiction novel published). I admire the men and women who put their own safety aside to try to help Jews and other persecuted groups reach safety and who did what they could to try to defeat Hitler and the Nazis from within. We so often hear about all the Nazis, Nazi supporters and sympathizers, and Germans who went along with the Nazis to keep themselves and their families safe. It was nice to read about the resistance in a way that looked at the people behind it rather than focusing on the activities of the resistance itself. This book is a favorite of the year so far for me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sassa

    This historical fiction is heavy on the history, which is exactly as I like it. The history evolved around the many difficult situations for the Germans and emigrants inside Berlin and Germany during Ww2 who did not like the direction the country was taking under Hitler and his Nazi cohorts. Their dissension led to resistance groups and therein lies the plot of the thrilling story. There was so much to learn and plenty of inspiration to investigate further. Fact is often more intriguing than This historical fiction is heavy on the history, which is exactly as I like it. The history evolved around the many difficult situations for the Germans and emigrants inside Berlin and Germany during Ww2 who did not like the direction the country was taking under Hitler and his Nazi cohorts. Their dissension led to resistance groups and therein lies the plot of the thrilling story. There was so much to learn and plenty of inspiration to investigate further. Fact is often more intriguing than fiction. Chiaverini presents sound, complex, riveting history yet brings in emotion and feeling with her characters. The broad lesson to learn is how unselfish, brave and courageous the ordinary person can be for the good of others in a time when it could easily cost his or her life. “A little less fear, a little more love of life in a few hundred thousand and the war wouldn’t have been possible or would have been over sooner.” Chiaverini, Author’s Notes.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Laura • lauralovestoread

    Resistance Women is about the true badass woman named Mildred Fish Harnack and her circle of women friends who waged a clandestine battle against Hitler in Nazi Berlin. My first book by Jennifer Chiaverini and I’m hooked! I love historical fiction and I was blown away by the true story of the brave women- A professor, an aspiring author, and a student- who helped commit espionage against Hitler during WWII. While this book is a chunker, I loved the true historic events taking place, and fell in Resistance Women is about the true badass woman named Mildred Fish Harnack and her circle of women friends who waged a clandestine battle against Hitler in Nazi Berlin. My first book by Jennifer Chiaverini and I’m hooked! I love historical fiction and I was blown away by the true story of the brave women- A professor, an aspiring author, and a student- who helped commit espionage against Hitler during WWII. While this book is a chunker, I loved the true historic events taking place, and fell in love with the characters. Mildred, an American who befriends the women who will play such an important role in fighting injustice, Martha Dodd, the daughter of US ambassador, and German friends, author Greta Kuckoff and Sara Weitz. I was amazed at the research that went into this novel to accurately depict these events. I have a soft spot when it comes to WWII historical fiction, and I truly enjoyed this book!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christina DeVane

    This was a long book and took awhile to get through! Amazing history and heart gripping events! The author bases all her main characters on real people (except one who is a combination of people) which makes for excellent authenticity. Because this is so historically accurate the story gets choppy in places. The middle gets a little slow, but the last 100 pages are worth the whole book. There’s a brief affair at the beginning that I assume is historically accurate. This story begins in 1929 and This was a long book and took awhile to get through! 😅 Amazing history and heart gripping events! The author bases all her main characters on real people (except one who is a combination of people) which makes for excellent authenticity. Because this is so historically accurate the story gets choppy in places. The middle gets a little slow, but the last 100 pages are worth the whole book. There’s a brief affair at the beginning that I assume is historically accurate. This story begins in 1929 and tells the less known years of the 1930s how Germany slowly changed in government and how the people responded-good and bad. I’m challenged by these brave women who did what they could to fight evil forces through this horrendous time in history.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Thanks to Goodreads and Wm. Morrow for this ARC. I struggled with this book until I dropped it at page 59. I usually enjoy WWII/historical books but this one was just too heavy for me (literally and figuratively since it was 586 pages). I've read so many historical books about WWII that I felt this book was not for me. This is my first book by this author and I've heard of her other books which are a lighter read and she's sure gone in the opposite direction and I commend her for trying something Thanks to Goodreads and Wm. Morrow for this ARC. I struggled with this book until I dropped it at page 59. I usually enjoy WWII/historical books but this one was just too heavy for me (literally and figuratively since it was 586 pages). I've read so many historical books about WWII that I felt this book was not for me. This is my first book by this author and I've heard of her other books which are a lighter read and she's sure gone in the opposite direction and I commend her for trying something different. I did love the cover if that counts for anything.🤔

  19. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    This book seemed to take a long time to read which is natural I guess when it takes you slowly thru 20 years of time leading up to and into World War II. The story of the 4 women and their families tell an inside of Germany tale of the tedious pre-planned buildup with Hitler against the Jews and other non-aryan groups that leads the expansion into border countries and eventually out right war. Another book that reminds us we must never forget...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carol (Reading Ladies)

    Mildred Fish, an American College graduate, meets the love of her life, Arvid Harnack. After they fall in love, they marry and make their home in Arvid’s homeland of Germany. Mildred and Arvid thrive there, forming new friendships, and enjoying the intellectual and artistic offerings of 1930s Berlin. As Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party become more popular and powerful, Mildred and Arvid and their friends are compelled to resist. For years, Mildred and Arvid and their cohorts risk their lives to Mildred Fish, an American College graduate, meets the love of her life, Arvid Harnack. After they fall in love, they marry and make their home in Arvid’s homeland of Germany. Mildred and Arvid thrive there, forming new friendships, and enjoying the intellectual and artistic offerings of 1930s Berlin. As Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party become more popular and powerful, Mildred and Arvid and their friends are compelled to resist. For years, Mildred and Arvid and their cohorts risk their lives to gather intelligence to bring down the Third Reich from within. Sadly, their sincere efforts don’t result in the help they desired or envisioned. This is a story of ordinary people who, while they should be enjoying their carefree youth, give their best efforts to fighting evil and saving their country. Jennifer Chiaverini puts history back into historical fiction! Most of the story is focused on prewar Germany. Many WW11 books drop the reader right into the middle of the war action and atrocities. In contrast, Jennifer Chiaverini devotes approximately 60% of the story tracing the fascinating buildup to WW11. For the most part, this is a quiet story that focuses on the lives of ordinary, patriotic, sincere, and likable people and the difficult circumstances in which they find themselves. Although Resistance Women is not a page-turner, the suffering, quiet desperation, and stealthy efforts of the characters are engaging. As the conspirators continue to live their lives as best they can, they quietly find others who share their concern and are also willing to take risks. These risks do not produce many rewards, and as Mildred and her friends suffer dire consequences, the pace of the story quickens. Resistance Women is well researched and thoughtfully written, and I can picture the author writing the story with all of her notecards spread out around her. In this 600 page story, there’s a significant amount of time devoted to the build-up of the war. If the focus on this time in history interests you, you will appreciate the read. The author includes a great deal of “reporting” of the events, a lot of “telling” and minimal “showing.” It’s like reading a history book where we hear about the events but we do not experience them alongside the character. So even though it’s easy reading, the writing isn’t as engaging or page turning as some other historical fiction books that I’ve read over the past years. Nevertheless, I enjoyed Resistance Women because the prewar history and details about the lives of real people fascinate me. If there had been more specific details about the characters’ activities (more intrigue), I would have bumped this up to a full five stars. In summary, this is a “quiet” story that’s heavily character driven with a great deal of emphasis on the build-up to the war. Resistance Women shares the experiences of three courageous souls and their resistance efforts: Mildred (an American married to a German man), Greta, and Sara. These three unforgettable and ordinary women risk their lives to fight evil. It is especially interesting to read about the American, Mildred, and her commitment to the resistance movement. Mildred is a fascinating character to me because she is an American who grew to love her husband’s homeland and risked her life to fight against the Nazis. (If you read about her death online, the book doesn’t include the most disturbing details.) There is a memorial honoring Mildred in Madison, Wisconsin (USA). In Wisconsin schools, Sept. 16 is celebrated as Mildred Harnack Day. It’s her birthday. An additional note of historical interest is that Mildred Harnack was married to the cousin of the famous theologian, Detrich Bonhoeffer, and he is mentioned at the beginning of the book. Some of you may recognize the name. Thoughtful themes include hope, friendship, bravery, courage, risk-taking, patriotism, and ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the most impossible and difficult circumstances. These themes would contribute to a great book club discussion. Jennifer Chiaverini puts the history into historical fiction! If you are ever frustrated by historical fiction that reads like women’s fiction in a historical setting, you can be assured that there’s an abundance of history in Resistance Women. I recommend this story for readers who love a quieter, character-driven story with lots of historical detail, for those who might be interested in the prewar buildup in Germany, and for fans of Jennifer Chiaverini (and, of course, histfic). This story would provide thoughtful discussion topics for a book club. For more reviews visit my blog: www.readingladies.com

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Meet the women: • Mildred, an American, is married to Arvid Harnack, a German. She is teaching in Berlin, working on her Doctorate, vowing to stay in Germany with her husband. • Greta Kuckoff, recently returned to Berlin from Wisconsin. She is a writer, with not many options. Her lover is Adam, who is married, but insists he will soon be free. • Sara Weitz is a Jew and a student of Mildred's. Her parents have been able to flee to Switzerland, while Sara remains in Germany with her brother Natan. Meet the women: • Mildred, an American, is married to Arvid Harnack, a German. She is teaching in Berlin, working on her Doctorate, vowing to stay in Germany with her husband. • Greta Kuckoff, recently returned to Berlin from Wisconsin. She is a writer, with not many options. Her lover is Adam, who is married, but insists he will soon be free. • Sara Weitz is a Jew and a student of Mildred's. Her parents have been able to flee to Switzerland, while Sara remains in Germany with her brother Natan. Into this mix of determined and devoted women comes Martha Dodd, daughter of the American Ambassador, who has remarkable contacts and is able to help in ways no one else can. Following the lives of these women as they view with incredulity and then with horror the changes that are taking place in their country, until they see no choice but to form a resistance cell, hoping to forward classified information to England, to America, and finally to Russia. This novel is based on facts, and its characters were mostly real people. It is long - the EARC is 603 pages, but the read is absolutely worth your time. This is Berlin during WWII with little mention of the holocaust, only focusing on the lives of Berliners as they live with food shortages, lack of heat, constant fear and laws that become more and more restrictive. I read this EARC courtesy of HarperCollins, pub date 04/24/19.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tami

    Resistance Women is a great novel for readers who are curious as to how Adolf Hitler came to power and why the German people allowed such nightmares to occur in their own country. After an attention-getting prologue from 1942, the novel opens in June of 1929 and chronicles events taking place in Germany up until the end of the war in 1946. Based on the members of the Red Orchestra, a resistance group based in Berlin, the story slowly reveals Hitler’s climb to power and the involvement of three Resistance Women is a great novel for readers who are curious as to how Adolf Hitler came to power and why the German people allowed such nightmares to occur in their own country. After an attention-getting prologue from 1942, the novel opens in June of 1929 and chronicles events taking place in Germany up until the end of the war in 1946. Based on the members of the Red Orchestra, a resistance group based in Berlin, the story slowly reveals Hitler’s climb to power and the involvement of three women who worked with the Red Orchestra. There are many important people mentioned throughout the novel, but two stood out in particular for me, due to the fact that I have previously read about their lives. One was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the other was Martha Dodd. Martha’s father was the US Ambassador to Germany during the years leading up to the war. Martha is portrayed a bit better in this novel than in what I previously read, but sadly, that is not saying much. It was frustrating to read about her father’s attempts to shed light on the situation in Germany, only to have it be ignored by the US government. Sara Weitz, Mildred Harnack, Greta Kuckhoff are the three main characters of the novel that worked for the resistance. Of the three, Sara is a fictional character based on young Jewish women who were involved in the resistance. Mildred and Greta were real women who dedicated their lives to the resistance. I’m shocked that I have never read about them before—especially Mildred since she was a United States citizen. It was heartbreaking to read about what these women experienced. Jennifer Chiaverini presented a story that reminds me why I read historical fiction. She brought history to life through these women. My only complaint is that I would’ve liked to have read a more detailed account of the resistance work. For sensitive readers, the vast majority of the novel takes place in Germany, not in the concentration camps. Obviously the camps are mentioned, but they are not the setting for the story.

  23. 4 out of 5

    CoachJim

    Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini “Hitler lied with impunity, …. when his fanatical admirers disregarded all evidence that contradicted him? [Mildred] wondered sometimes if the Fuhrer believed his own lies, but she suspected the answer was much simpler, that he was ruthlessly calculating——“ (Page 280) The story involves 4 women who are part of a cell trying to hasten the end of Hitler’s reign by passing information to the Allies and helping victims of Hitler’s Horror. The 4 women, Mildred Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini “Hitler lied with impunity, …. when his fanatical admirers disregarded all evidence that contradicted him? [Mildred] wondered sometimes if the Fuhrer believed his own lies, but she suspected the answer was much simpler, that he was ruthlessly calculating——“ (Page 280) The story involves 4 women who are part of a cell trying to hasten the end of Hitler’s reign by passing information to the Allies and helping victims of Hitler’s Horror. The 4 women, Mildred Fish Harnack, an American married to a German professor, Greta Kuckhoff, a German woman, Martha Dodd Stern, the daughter of the American Ambassador to Germany, and Sara Weitz, a Jewish German. The story gives almost a month-by-month accounting of these women during the 1930s and Hitler’s rise to power. The first 3 women are actually historical people, although Martha is not that interesting and has only a brief involvement. Sara is a composite of people the author interviewed for this book. The reader knows things will not end well from the first chapter, but the story builds tension as we follow the events. I enjoyed reading the first three quarters of this book about the heroic efforts of these women. I thought the story was well structured, the writing good, and the characters interesting and well developed. However, in the last part of the book the story descends into the sadistic hell of Nazi Germany. At that point I considered putting the book down. It is not that I don’t think people should know about these horrors but I have read about them too many times. These stories are not fiction. They really happened and too many of the Nazi criminals were allowed to go free, as is one in this story. It may be the temperature of the times, but I find the parallels between this history and our current political environment too eerie to be ignored. In addition to the quote at the beginning of this review, there is the following observation: “Perhaps Germany will serve as a warning. May they learn from us to snuff out fascism in America when the first sparks arise and not delay until democracy goes up in flames around them.” (Page 153) The line between History and Historical Fiction gets a little blurred sometimes. This book works on both sides. Anyone that would like to know what living in Berlin during the 1930s would do well to read this book. As a dramatization of the ideas and feelings of these women as they resisted Hitler and the Nazis this book is an excellent choice.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Laura Johnson

    This book was very good. I'm just getting into historical fiction and it took me awhile to read and it didn't hook me from the beginning, but it had a lot of information and a lot of story to absorb. Towards the end it was definitely a page turner to find out what happens. ***Received from a Goodreads Giveaway****

  25. 4 out of 5

    Katie/Doing Dewey

    Summary: Wonderful, moving, detailed story of female friendship and epic bravery. This is the story of four women who resisted the Nazi regime, some from the very beginning to the bitter end. Martha Dodd is the most well known of the four, as the American ambassador's daughter featured in In the Garden of the Beasts. She plays the most minor role here. Two other women, German Greta and American Mildred, were real members of the German resistance. Jewish German Sara is a fictional character based Summary: Wonderful, moving, detailed story of female friendship and epic bravery. This is the story of four women who resisted the Nazi regime, some from the very beginning to the bitter end. Martha Dodd is the most well known of the four, as the American ambassador's daughter featured in In the Garden of the Beasts. She plays the most minor role here. Two other women, German Greta and American Mildred, were real members of the German resistance. Jewish German Sara is a fictional character based on many real women. Although I typically prefer historical fiction to hew closely to the facts, I thought Sara's perspective was a great addition to the story. I also enjoyed that her creation meant that all of our protagonists interacted with one another. Together, the stories of all four women provided a glimpse of the human goodness that can flourish even in the worst of circumstances. This is the third book I've read by Jennifer Chiaverni. I have to admit that I hated the first one, Mrs. Lincoln's Rival. On the other hand, I really liked Enchantress of Numbers. This book was better than either. In retrospect, what all three books have in common is detailed storytelling. It's clear the author has done meticulous research. I loved that when characters traveled in this book, we knew which direction they were going. When they moved to a new neighborhood, we learned if it was fancy or rundown and often something about local businesses. There were also just enough German words sprinkled in to give me a sense of place. Together, these little details brought the story vividly to life. Even at almost 600 pages, even feeling a little pressure to finish this to post a review, I never felt impatient for this book to be over. I couldn't put it down, but I didn't want it to end. Comparing this to the previous books by this author, I think Mrs. Lincoln's Rival simply didn't have an exciting enough story to sustain me through all the details. I also did not like the main character. In the author's other two books, her detailed writing style was paired with protagonists I admired and many exciting events. Combined with those two elements, I've loved it. This book actually reminded me very much of My Dear Hamilton (one of my favorite books last year and some of my favorite historical fiction ever). Initially, I wasn't sure this book felt personal enough. It's all written in third-person limited and while the four women offered different perspectives, the narrator's tone didn't change with the perspective. All emotions were described from the outside. There were a few tragedies I felt were rushed past. However, by the end, as the cruelties of Nazi Germany escalated, I began to appreciate the author's choice here. The events alone were devastating. I think an attempt to make them more dramatic could have ended up feeling cheap or overdone. Instead, the author let the events speak for themselves. That was enough to bring me to tears on at least one occasion. There are a few other things I loved about this book. The female friendships, as well as the romantic and family relationships, were inspiring. Each chapter included a helpful header with the time frame. Each chapter started immediately after the previous one and they flowed easily, even when the perspective changed. I was equally excited to hear about all the characters. There was never a dull moment, which must have been one of the most awful things at the time, but it did make for good reading. I'd particularly recommend it to the other bloggers I know who loved My Dear Hamilton and to any other fans of detailed historical fiction about incredible women. For other opinions, check out the other review on the TLC Book Tour.This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Long

    3.5 stars rounded up to 4. I did enjoy this book but it moved too slowly in several parts.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This is a rather slow-paced, if historically accurate, unfolding of events from a German perspective of Hitlers rise in 1930s. We follow a resistance group of real and fictional historical figures as they work against the Reich. There was a lot of references to Hitler “making Germany great again” - remind you of anyone?..... Canada’s participation with the allies was not brushed upon - As a Canadian descendant of veterans of WWII I’m a bit crushed.....It was all about the US and the Soviet Union This is a rather slow-paced, if historically accurate, unfolding of events from a German perspective of Hitlers rise in 1930s. We follow a resistance group of real and fictional historical figures as they work against the Reich. There was a lot of references to Hitler “making Germany great again” - remind you of anyone?..... Canada’s participation with the allies was not brushed upon - As a Canadian descendant of veterans of WWII I’m a bit crushed.....It was all about the US and the Soviet Union and needing their super power to bring down Hitler. I would have loved if this book had a female perspective of a nazi supporter, at least it would have been something new. This took me WAY too long to read but I feel like I learned a lot.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Aura

    I have enjoyed Chiaverini's quilt books but I did not love this WWII book. Historical fiction needs to bring history to life with stories about people. I wasnt seduced or intrigued by the two main characters. WWII books are popular right now and I have read a few. This is not a terrible book but I didnt love it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Joyce Young

    I am still reading this book, I have been struggling with it. I have loved Jennifer Chiaverini's other books, this one so far not so much! I couldn't finish it, I skimmed thru the rest of it, and only read the ending to see what happen to the women. I got this in a give a way, so I wasn't out any money. Hopefully her next book will be better!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Peggy

    Excellent historical read by Jennifer Chiaverini! First book by this author & I was totally captivated. What a wonderful story about four amazing women who helped resist the rise of Hitler pre WWII and during the war. Another great read about WWII!

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