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3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  1,207 Ratings  ·  230 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 va
Paperback, 306 pages
Published February 10th 2009 by Anchor (first published February 10th 2007)
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Oct 18, 2008 Philip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 05, 2011 Helmisade rated it it was ok
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
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.
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.
May 20, 2009 Eliane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 26, 2015 Pinariki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-challenge
Umut vaadeden bir baslangicla, okuyucunun ilgisini cekiyor. Cok farkli, ilginc bir konu.II. Dünya Savasi'ni Ingilizler degil de, Almanlar kazansaydi ne olurdu? Ve Almanlar Ingiltere'ye cikartma yapsaydi? Savasin, cepheye gitmemis ve sicak savasi görmemis siradan halk (ciftiler, zanaatkarlar vs.) üzerindeki yikici etkisini göstermesi acisindan basarili buldum diyebilirim. Ama gittikce yavanlasmaya basladi kitap. Ortalarina dogru konu dagilmaya ve yazarin sürekli ayni sekilde tekrar eden Ingiliz k ...more
Dec 31, 2013 Robyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Shonna Froebel
Nov 17, 2012 Shonna Froebel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 17, 2013 Lara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Michael Keyton
Feb 15, 2010 Michael Keyton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 02, 2009 Melody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww-ii, war
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
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
Apr 23, 2008 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sue Lyle
Dec 16, 2012 Sue Lyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 23, 2015 Arila rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's probably not one of the worst books ever written but I can't help giving It one star for being one of the most boring ones I have ever read. The premise sounded si interesting: Hitler is winning World War II and Germany is invading England. However this book is focused on farming, at which I am definitely not interested. A group of women are abandoned by the ir husbands who join the resistance and they have to survive alone and learn how to take care of their sheeps. I have never read so mu ...more
Apr 22, 2008 Dave rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 13, 2010 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, historical
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.
Mar 16, 2016 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maps and journeys dominate this novel. Historic maps of the medieval world. A route across southern England. The cul-de-sac that is an isolated valley in the Welsh Marches. The pathways of human memories. The unmapped future when one steps off the end of the known world. The past as it might have been if history had taken a different direction.

All fictions could be said to be alternative histories, in that they describe people who may not have existed and events that may never have happened in o
Jun 10, 2010 Jenneffer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was able to herd sheep after reading this book. It was that awesome.
Apr 27, 2015 Lillian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-war-two
(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
Dec 07, 2011 RebeccaLouise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 22, 2011 Beni Morse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 08, 2012 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mira, a escriba
May 06, 2012 Mira, a escriba rated it really liked it
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
Feb 16, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ant Harrison
Jan 09, 2013 Ant Harrison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I really enjoyed Resistance; a re-imagining of the course and outcome of World War II. The Germans have the upper hand and during 1944 are able start their invasion on the south coast of England. Eventually the rest of Britain succumbs and city by city the Germans take over as the occupying power. The King, Churchill and the former government flee for Canada and form the Free British government in exile.

The backdrop of the story is cataclysmic world events, but the focus is on a group of women
Jan 02, 2009 Gavin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: althistory, 2009
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
Aug 17, 2011 Louise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
'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
Nov 01, 2008 Diana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sofia T. (♥ Dimitri Belikov)
Read for uni! Better than I expected, I really liked it!
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(A lot of!) Questions after finishing this book (spoilers) 2 37 Dec 31, 2013 08:59AM  
  • The Welsh Girl
  • Rape of the Fair Country
  • Moral Combat: A History of World War II
  • A Parachute in the Lime Tree
  • Peace
  • As Time Goes By (World War II, #4)
  • The Moscow Option: An Alternative Second World War
  • In the Arms of the Enemy
  • Gratitude
  • Fleischerhaus
  • The Blitz: The British Under Attack
  • The Iron Dream
  • The Bitter Road to Freedom: A New History of the Liberation of Europe
  • Sheepshagger
  • Ha'penny (Small Change, #2)
  • The Ginseng Hunter
  • April in Paris
  • A Beautiful Cage
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
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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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