Lilac Girls

Lilac Girls

A Novel

Book Club Kit - 2017
Average Rating:
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Caroline Ferriday, a socialite in New York, has her hands full with her post at the French consulate, but on the eve of a fateful war, her world is changed forever when Hitler's army invades Poland in September, 1939; and then sets its sights on France. Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, an ocean away from Caroline, 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 suspcting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences. For Herta Oberheuser, the ambitious young German doctor, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, Herta finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power. 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. -- Container.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2017
Edition: Ballantine Books trade paperback edition
ISBN: 9781101883082
1101883081
Branch Call Number: BCE
Characteristics: 10 books + reader's guide in a cloth bag

Opinion

From Library Staff

Reminiscent of the "Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society," Kelly captures the story of three strong women: a New York socialite, a German girl, and a young German doctor. Their stories intersect as their lives take them across Poland, Paris, New York and Germany to survive the ... Read More »


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d
diannemarie52
Sep 20, 2017

A very thought provoking book that you will remember long after you have read it.

o
olemissann
Sep 11, 2017

Excellent book! This is a historical fictional account of 3 very different women's life during WWII. Caroline Ferriday is a former actress who works with the French embassy in NYC. Kasia is a teenager who is arrested with her family and boyfriend in Poland and sent to a women's concentration camp (Ravenbruck) for "re-education". The third woman is named Herta, a Nazi doctor who participates in "Research" at Ravenbruck. The book tells the perspective each woman had of the war, and shows how one person can make a difference in so many lives.

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greenacres
Sep 06, 2017

We've all heard the phrase "Don't judge a book by it's cover"; this is a good example. You may think you are getting a white-washed war story of three friends and lost loves, but this is so much more.
We are taken to Ravensbruck, a WWII "re-education" camp-really a concentration/experimental facility- where inmates are subjected to gruesome surgeries. We meet Kasia an inmate and a German female Doctor, Herta Oberheuser. We get both sides of the story in this novel; it's not often the reader is presented with that.
Another major character is Caroline Ferriday, a New York socialite, who sends care packages to orphaned French children and later assists in the rehabilitation of the Ravensbruck prisoners. There is a lot of emotional upheaval here, as there is in any war story. But the reader has some relief from the intensity of the major plot line with the introduction of the romance between Caroline and Paul Rodierre.
My minor "beefs" about the book -- I felt the title and cover were misleading but I understand the selling point of good cover art. And Caroline and the Ravensbruck women's lives don't converge until page 375 of the 476 novel. I realize we need this back-story to appreciate the novel in it's entirety.
All in all a suspenseful, detailed, educational read; a story that needed to be told. Lest we forget.

b
bablnbabs
Sep 04, 2017

I loved this book! For a first novel it was fantastic. I prefer historical fiction and this was very well researched and the characters were vivid. I tried to read it very slowly in order to make it "last longer" yet I wanted to get to the next chapter as quickly as possible. I will keep it on my list to read again. It was most poignant as I was reading it when there were clashes between extreme left activists and alt-right protestors in modern America.

v
Vincent2017
Aug 03, 2017

This was a fantastic book. It did take me a while to get into it, learning the personalities. But after that, had a hard time putting it down, Want to do more research regarding Caroline Ferriday and the "rabbits". Thank you Martha Hall Kelly for sharing this story with everyone.

CRRL_MegRaymond Jul 25, 2017

The intertwining lives and fates of three very different women - a concentration camp survivor, a female German doctor, and an American socialite.

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grammy14
Jul 08, 2017

You have me as having read and reviewed this book. I have done neither!! I have not read it and certainly have not reviewed it! Please correct.

e
EmilyEm
Apr 10, 2017

Three women’s stories in a ten year period from 1939 to 1949 are told in Kelly’s popular debut novel—a New York socialite, a young Polish girl working for the Underground resistance and an ambitious recent German medical school graduate. I am still waiting to read “The Nightingale’, but loved “All the Light You Cannot See’, books ‘Lilac Girls’ is compared with.

I give the author high marks for bringing these stories to a wide audience, but fault her writing and some jarring times when it didn’t seem like she was writing in a 1940s world. By the way, ‘Lilac Girls’ is a reference to real gardens at real-life socialite Caroline Ferriday’s Connecticut country home. Almost lilac time!

JCLMelodyMK Apr 05, 2017

Lilac girls reveals the hidden stories of the treatment of Polish ladies that were sent to an all female Nazi concentration camp called Ravensbruk, their efforts to survive and the atrocities visited upon them by doctors in the name of research.
It also follows the lives of three women whose lives where intertwined their struggles and love stories. A very good historical fiction. I not only enjoyed this read I learned something.

g
gusmcrae
Mar 28, 2017

Although I found this book to be interesting--I was not familiar with the Ravensbrück 'Rabbits' prior to reading it--the story as written was not as compelling as I had hoped it would be. It's based on real people, and so I imagine the author didn't want to take too much poetic license, but because of that, the story at times just felt flat and dry. I wasn't drawn in the way I anticipated.

With that said, I certainly was interested in learning more about Caroline Ferriday's work to help these women who suffered some of the worst atrocities of the war. I also found Herta Oberheuser, the 3rd protagonist (really antagonist) in the story to be, in some ways, the most fascinating. As the only female doctor working at Ravensbrück, I can only imagine her experiences trying to prove herself in a male-dominated field. She did some awful things, but it was interesting to examine what might have driven her to take part in the horrors she caused.

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cknightkc
Jan 23, 2017

“But it’s fitting in a way - Father loved the fact that a lilac only blossoms after a harsh winter.” - p. 440

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