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Resistance

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  931 ratings  ·  205 reviews
Resistance is a beautifully written and powerful story set during an imagined occupation of Britain by Nazi Germany in World War II.

In a remote and rugged Welsh valley in 1944, in the wake of a German invasion, all the men have disappeared overnight, apparently to join the underground resistance. Their abandoned wives, a tiny group of farm women, are soon trapped in the v
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Paperback, 306 pages
Published February 10th 2009 by Anchor (first published February 10th 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Philip
A valley side too far - Resistance by Owen Sheers

In Resistance Owen Sheers re-writes the history of World War Two. Germany has invaded Britain. The United States, having suffered reversals both east and west, has retreated home to navel gaze. Britain thus is occupied, but has not yet succumbed.

In a remote rural community on the Welsh borders, a whole valley of farming families awakes one morning to find that all the men have gone. No-one knows where. They were recruited, perhaps, into an undergr
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Laura
This book provides an alternative history on a British resistance organization made originally by farmers.

The author also describes in some way some details of the 1940s rural life.

Page 239:
"The entire collection of your National Gallery for example is, as we speak, stored inside a mountain in North Wales."


Photo by kind permission of BRB (Residuary) Ltd

More details on this interesting subject may be found at The Gallery in wartime.


Some paintings were stored at Penrhyn Castle, North Wales.
Photo
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Helmisade
What a disappointment! Such a great idea, an obviously talented author and a book that never really goes anywhere. Plus the female lead (Sarah) is probably the most boring woman in the history of literature. She has no thoughts, ideas or opinions of her own. She thinks about sheep and her husband and seems to act purely on impulse. I hope she was not intented as a tribute to Welsh women.

The opening chapters promise excitement, tension and scandalous love affairs. Unfortunately the book soon turn
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Sarah
This novel was a very beautiful character study with a twinge of suspense. It speculates the state of England had the Nazis succeeded in invading during WWII. Though the story at times examines the national reaction, the focus is really on a small group of women living alone in the Welsh borderlands. Their husbands have left without warning to join the resistance in fighting the Nazis. Within weeks, a patrol of Nazi soliders comes to their remote valley and establishes themselves for a covert mi ...more
Melissa
What if the D-Day Invasion failed, and the Germans counterattacked successfully? In the remote Welsh countryside, the men have left to form counterinsurgent cells without any notice to their wives. The wives carry on with the planting, gardening, and sheep tending until a German patron stumbles into their valley. The small group of German soldiers becomes unwitting over-winter residents when an early snowstorm closes the mountain pass. As the bitter winter closes in, the women and the soldiers r ...more
Sandra
The story is summarized elsewhere, so let me just say this is a beautifully written, poetic study of the lives of a few women and a few German soldiers, all human, all tragic. The writing is superb. Well worth the read.

At times the descriptions create a distance from the characters and the action, though rich in imagery and expression. But perhaps this makes an unbearable situation bearable.
Caroline
Started off with a bang, ended with a whimper. I read the last chapter over b/c I didn't quite know why it ended or how it ended. But the overall story line was highly captivating. I just wish that the author had a clearer definition on what he was writing. It wasn't a mystery, it wasn't a love story, nor was it a spy story.
Robyn
This is one of those books that will linger in my mind for a very long time. Reading it was akin to meditation - quiet and subtle, yet powerful. It changed my sense of time and place completely.

This book is an imagined history of a Welch valley if Germany had invaded England in WW II. One morning, the women of the valley awakened to realize that all of the men had left, without a word, presumably to join the English Resistance. Shortly afterwards, a small German patrol moves into the area, and t
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Eliane
A beautifully written alternative history rooted in fact, this is the story of an isolated valley on the border of England and Wales and what could have happened had the Germans succeeded and invaded Britain in World War II.

For my book group, the book had particular relevance as we live only a few miles from the Olchon Valley, Llanthony and Longtown. The descriptions of how the women carry on working their farms through the bitter winter resonate strongly when you can see farms just like these
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Mira, a escriba
3º Livro do meu mês temático - 2º Guerra Mundial

Este é um livro bastante cativante, com um ambiente riquíssimo, de cores vivas e quentes tal como o seu enredo. Contra todas as expectativas, vi-me presa á história desde a primeira página. Passada num ambiente rural, a vida das personagens tem tudo menos facilidades: o trabalho é penoso e cansativo, a vida vai caindo num ciclo monótono, sem grandes capacidades para luxos. Para piorar, Inglaterra começa a ser invadida pela Alemanha a partir de Sete
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Shonna Froebel
This book is a fiction of an alternative history. Here the situation is that D-day was a bust and the Germans are winning World War II and have now invaded Britain.
The action takes place in a very small farming village in Wales. As the novel begins, the women in the village wake up one morning to discover that all the men are gone. There are no notes left for them, and very few clues as to where and why they have disappeared. Getting together, they decide it is in their best interest to keep thi
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Gavin
Resistance by Owen Sheers is based on the premise that D-Day failed and that Germany invaded Great Britain. The author, a poet, grew up in the area where the story takes place and this shows in the writing. It is highly descriptive and quite beautiful, weaving the history of the land, a valley on the Welsh border, with the lives of it's people. It is also a description of an occupation and the consequences of war.

There are many ways that people can resist, and Sheers layers his well-written, lyr
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Melody
I’ve read a couple of other books set during WWII with German soldiers who were presented as sympathetic characters. This one is now added to that list. Resistance is a novel set during WWII with a “what if” thrown in the mix. The D-Day landing was a failure and England is occupied by German troops. Since there is no official British military to protect its citizens the only resistance is offered by way of secret operations by insurgents – made up of mostly untrained citizens who spy and do what ...more
Louise
'What if...?' tales of had the Nazis invaded Britain have been done before, but this one takes a slightly different angle. Its the story of the women of a small Welsh valley who on the news that the Nazis have successfully landed in the South of England, wake to find all the men gone; presumably to be part of some sort of resistance movement.

Some of the characters are a little clichéd- there is the German officer who is an honourable man really and resents what he has to do in the Wehrmacht. But
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Mark Spyker
Some wonderfully evocative language describing a valley in the Welsh border region, the farming inhabitants whose menfolk have gone off to fight as an underground cell against the Germans when Britain is overrun by Nazis, and the relationships that develop with a German patrol. Unfortunately for me Sheers doesn't really express the feelings developing between the two groups adequately, and is rather naive about the consequences of isolating the two groups through a long winter in war time.

The i
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Lara
First let me tell you how much I loved this book. I adored every second of it and had it not been for those weird German translations then this would have been a five star rating.


So I loved the setting, the interesting and unique characters, the pacing, the great cover, everything. So why did no one check the German sentences?!

Just one of the many possible examples:

"Güten tag, Steiner." (page 134)

Really? Just because it's German doesn't mean that you should put Umlaute in there. Don't get me sta
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Sue Lyle
I loved this book. It captured the landscape and feel of a Welsh Valley on the English border and all the characters were real and deep. The imagined story of what would have happened if D-day had failed and the impact of German soldiers arriving in the valley in 1944. Historical fact mixed with imagination and a deep love of the landscape and people. Didn't want it to end. I think it has been made into a film. Recommend it to all my Welsh friends and those who love Wales or want a glimpse into ...more
Michael Keyton
Before reading this I was a little lukewarm, anticipating a so so alternative history that focused on the Germans successfully invading Britain in 1940. In fact the story focuses on the impact of a small platoon of German soldiers trapped by snow and circumstances in a small Welsh valley inhabited by women whose men have mysteriously disappeared. The beauty of the tale is how the two groups slowly come to terms with and find happiness in the needs of the other.

The other thing I really loved abo
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Diana
An imaginatively scary alternative ending to the Second World War, in which the Germans invade England, taking it over bit by bit. The novel focuses on a group of women living in a valley in rural Wales, abruptly abandoned by their husbands who head off to join some kind of underground resistance movement. After a short time, the women are joined by a unit of deserting German soldiers, and in time the two groups come to trust each other in a delicate balance of friendship and respect.

The story i
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Dave
Spolier alert: Nothing happens in this book. I'd include this in the list of novels that take a great premise and squander it with a finely observed yet tectonically slow narrative. (The others I can think of—also British—are P.D. James' Children of Men and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go.) I was hoping this would be a bit of historical speculation with a literary sensibility, along the lines of Philip Roth's excellent The Plot Against America. But instead of exploring the possibilities of a hy ...more
Alan Pottinger
Great read and a beautiful and tragic imagining of what life might have been like had we lost WWII ... A very human story about ordinary people caught up in the nightmare of conflict - and one that's played out continiously in this violent world of ours
Catherine Gordon
German won the war and they are invading Britain. A group of women in the country wake up to discover their husbands gone to apparently join the resistance. Farming life has to go on and the women settle into patiently waiting for their "men" to return. Then the Germans arrive.
This is a beautifull written book, you care about all of the characters, you understand all of their motivations. The horror of war whether on the frontline as German soliders or back in the valley waiting for news of lost
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Tammy
Very, very slow moving book ~ wasn't real impressed with it.
Lillian
MY HEART. IT HURTS SO MUCH.
(Also Goodreads deleted the first review I wrote for this book boooo)
This book is so fantastic, even though it's been several weeks since I read it, it still gives me feelings whenever I think about it.
Resistance is set in an alternate historical time line of a theorized Nazi invasion of Britain. The story takes place in a small, remote Welsh valley where all of the men have seemingly disappeared overnight. Thinking that their husbands must have left to join the und
...more
Tammy
Imagine a WWII scenario where the invasion of Normandy failed. Where the German army survives the Russian winter. Where England is invaded and conquered by the Nazis. Owen Sheers’ novel, “Resistance,” begins with these historical revisionings.

Set in an isolated valley in England, Sheers explores the dynamics between a German patrol and a collection of English women suddenly left alone to manage their farms. With the husbands suddenly, silently, and collectively abandoning their wives to join the
...more
RebeccaLouise
Alternative realities, where history takes the road less travelled by, allow the writer – and reader – to imagine a ‘What if...’ from the safety of our own reality. Yet it is a fine line that separates these two worlds. Albrecht contemplates this and the possibility that “maybe all this, a German victory, the end of the war, was down to one man.” [202] The idea that one man’s actions can change the course of history is daunting but highlights the importance of individual responsibility. This res ...more
Beni Morse
Resistance is a ‘what if?’ novel. In this case the ‘what if?’ question is - what if the second world war had gone the other way and the Germans had successfully invaded Britain in 1944?
The novel begins in the autumn of 1944, in a remote valley in Wales; the D-Day invasion has been repulsed and the Germans have driven the Allies out of the southern half of Great Britain. One morning, the farm wives of the valley awake to find their husbands have disappeared, joining a silent, invisible resistance
...more
Rob
I’d be intrigued to know how well Resistance sold, given it faced the dual obstacles of genre pigeonholing (it’s an alternative history of the second world war so could be classed as fantasy or even sci-fi) and, in my edition at least, an appalling cover that makes it look like winsome romance for your gran.

The premise itself is innately intriguing if slightly hackneyed: what if Nazis won the war and British citizens formed an underground resistance? Where Sheers takes it is something completel
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Matti Karjalainen
Owen Shearsin esikoisromaani "Vastarinta" (Otava, 2009) on vaihtoehtohistoriallinen romaani toisesta maailmansodasta. Katastrofiin päättynyt Normandian maihinnousu on kääntänyt sotaonnen päälaelleen: saksalaiset ovat nousseet maihin Englannin etelärannikolla ja aloittavat nyt hitaan mutta varman etenemisen kohti pohjoista.

Pienen walesilaisen laakson naiset saavat eräänä aamuna huomata miehiensä kadonneen kukkuloille, jossa näiden tarkoituksena on jatkaa taistelua miehittäjää vastaan, siitäkin hu
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Jessica
I highly recommend this book. It starts with the premise that the Allied invasion of Normandy has failed and the Germans have counter-attacked, invading Britain. All of the women in one Welsh valley wake up to find that their husbands have gone away - presumably to join the British resistance to Nazi occupation. Later, a patrol of war- weary German soldiers moves into the valley, and the women and Germans develop a close - if wary - relationship over the course of a harsh winter. The counterfact ...more
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(A lot of!) Questions after finishing this book (spoilers) 2 32 Dec 31, 2013 08:59AM  
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Owen Sheers was born in Fiji in 1974 and brought up in Abergavenny, South Wales. The winner of an Eric Gregory Award and the 1999 Vogue Young Writer's Award, his first collection of poetry, The Blue Book (Seren, 2000) was short-listed for the Welsh Book of the Year and the Forward Prize Best First Collection 2001. His debut prose work The Dust Diaries (Faber, 2004), a non-fiction narrative set in ...more
More about Owen Sheers...
Skirrid Hill White Ravens The Dust Diaries Pink Mist The Blue Book

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“Better by far to live in the truth and know it, however bad it may be, than hide yourself away behind ignorance and habit.” 1 likes
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