Jennifer Chiaverini’s ‘Resistance Women’ Reminds Us That Hope Hides in Plain Sight [REVIEW]


As the Third Reich gained power, a secret network of women fought to bring it crumbling down. (Photo by Indiara DB, Flickr)

An American woman in a foreign land. She was never meant to be a spy. But when evil raises its ugly head, she knows she has to do something to slay the beast. In Jennifer Chiaverini’s unforgettable novel, meet the Resistance Women who sacrifice everything they have to fight the Nazis.

Jennifer Chiaverini's RESISTANCE WOMEN

William Morrow

When Mildred Fish marries German economist Arvid Harnack, she is happy to return with him to the country of his birth. After all, their future looks bright, and she is ready for an adventure beyond Wisconsin.

At first, life in Berlin is sweet indeed. In the midst of the 1930s, they seem to have a gilded life surrounded by love, friends, and loads of fascinating culture. But then a dark cloud grows over the city, one fraught with political ambition and hatred, and it overshadows the land and threatens the newlywed’s happiness.

As Adolph Hitler and his Nazi party begin to seize power, Mildred, Arvid, and their friends vow to rise up and resist. Mildred becomes a spy, gathering intelligence for the Americans, including Martha Dodd, daughter of the U.S. ambassador. Meanwhile, her German friends, including literature student Sara Weitz and aspiring author Greta Kuckhoff, risk their very lives to obtain information from journalists, military officers, and officials high in the ranks of the Nazi regime.

For years, Mildred and her friends work diligently to bring down the Third Reich. But then a Nazi radio operative detects an errant Russian signal, and suddenly the resistance cell is exposed, with fatal consequences. Inspired by the true story of Mildred Fish Harnack, Resistance Women is the captivating tale of how ordinary people take a stand in the face of evil, even if doing so costs them all that they have.

History lovers like me will likely enjoy this book on multiple levels. In Resistance Women, Chiaverini does for Germany what Anthony Doerr does for France in All the Light We Cannot See. She captures a vibrant world full of promise as it slides irrevocably into despair and becomes a place its residents no longer recognize. It is quite obvious that the author did ample research to get the details just right, and it makes for an enthralling tale that is all too relevant today. The simple fact is that this is a story about how one charismatic, powerful man corrupted a nation, and it is a haunting reflection of what is happening on the world stage today.

The author also does a phenomenal job introducing us to people who weren’t famous or overtly political, but who lived simple lives with their loved ones and friends, until they recognized the need to take a stand for justice and what they knew in their heart of hearts to be right. Granted, the list of characters is long in this book, and how they relate to one another sometimes gets a little confusing. There are points where I had to go back to make sure how some of them knew each other. But the tale is worth the effort, and it reminds me of some of the incredible people I met at the Tolerance Museum in Los Angeles years ago who related how they survived the living nightmare known as the Holocaust. Their stories still resonate with me, and this one will undoubtedly do so for some time to come as well.

If you want a meaty read that will entertain, educate, and inspire you, in large part because it is based on a true story, then pick up Resistance Women. This is a novel you’ll keep, dogeared and all. Just be sure to share it with the people you love, because this is the kind of story we need right now. It reminds us hope hides in plain sight and that it doesn’t come from the halls of justice, but from our quiet neighbors who, like us, dream of something better.

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Jennifer Chiaverini

Jennifer Chiaverini
(Photo by Michael 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.

To find out more, visit the author at, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

By Jennifer Chiaverini
640 pp. William Morrow. $17.99

TLC Book Tours Tour HostPurchase Resistance Women at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, HarperCollins, IndieBound, and Powell’s.

Resistance Women is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

2 Responses to Jennifer Chiaverini’s ‘Resistance Women’ Reminds Us That Hope Hides in Plain Sight [REVIEW]

  1. Sara Strand says:

    I’m excited to read this one myself! Thank you for being on this tour, Sara @ TLC Book Tours

  2. Pingback: Jennifer Chiaverini, author of Resistance Women, on tour February 2020 | TLC Book Tours

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