Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly- 496 pages
ARC courtesy of Netgalley and Ballantine Books
New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon.
An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement.
For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.
My Review: 4.5 stars
Lilac Girls was a wonderful reading experience. It filled me with equal amounts of sorrow and hope as the reader experienced a harrowing time at Ravensbrück, the women’s only concentration camp, and then more pleasant moments with the selfless do-gooders in the world.
I can’t believe this is the author’s debut novel and I so hope it’s not a one hit wonder. She wrote with such descriptive detail, realistic dialogue and excellent plot lines. I was transported to Poland, Russia and Germany with ease and skill.
This book is actually based on the real people and the author’s note at the end is quite important to read. As many of you know, I read a lot of historical fiction and certainly a plethora of books about the Holocaust and WW2 fall into that category. This novel was unique as it offered the POV from the prisoners, the horrific doctors and the people trying to help them. Also, it was unique because it didn’t focus on the Jewish prisoners. It focused on the Polish people, who were sent to the camps for helping with the resistance and/or making the slightest of infractions against the Nazi regime.
This would make a great discussion for book clubs. Highly recommend.
Quotes I liked:
A doctor without love is a mechanic.”
-“It felt good to be loved, if only for show.”
-“Somewhere in a corner of our hearts, we are always twenty.”