Love the cover!Love lilacs. Love reading about WW11. How does LILAC GIRLS stand up?
“New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939–and then sets its sights on France.
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. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.
For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her tickets out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.”
Caroline, Kasia, and Herta are the three main characters carrying this powerful story of survival and strength. Yes, another book about the holocaust. And yet another story with even more secretive information. I will tell you right now that I was afraid this novel would not live up to its cover. But, alas, it does.
Knowing that Herta was a character who actually lived and was involved in these unmentionable acts brings a unique quality to this story. I kept wanting her to grow and change. For the better….
I don’t usually say this but, you definitely should read the author’s note at the back of this novel–FIRST. It will give you power. You need to know from the get-go that this entire story is rife with truth. It is all moving toward an event that happened to healthy women at Ravenbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Most of you already know about inhumane operations performed on the inmates of concentration camps during the way. But, you may not know the particulars, or, why and how these procedures were done. LILAC GIRLS brings all this to the forefront, all the while giving us fictional characters who bring real readability to this theme.
LILAC GIRLS is based on a true story. Two of the characters were real people, as were the Ravensbrṻck staff in the novel. And many others. This camp was Hitler’s only major concentration camp just for women. You will never think of the word “rabbit” the same way again after reading of these atrocities. For these unfortunate once healthy women came to become Hitler’s “rabbits.”
This is Martha Hall Kelly’s first novel. She has outdone herself with the research, and she has been so generous in sharing so much of it with us in her author’s note. I do look forward to reading more by Kelly. Bring it on:)
Thanks go out to Ballantine Books which is a wonderful division of Penguin Random House. They graciously sent me a lovely finished hardcopy of LILAC GIRLS by Martha Hall Kelly in exchange for an honest review.