Sunday, September 11, 2016

Book Review: Lilac Girls

Author: Martha Hall Kelly
Title: Lilac Girls
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publish Date: April 5, 2016
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb:  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 ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she 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.

Review: I had seen this book on so many lists this spring and summer. I didn't realize until I was almost finished with the book that it was about real people. It probably would have helped me get through the the beginning of the book which really seemed to drag for me.

The real life characters are Caroline Ferriday and Herta Oberheuser. (Seriously if you don't want to have nightmares, don't read the wiki page on this woman.) She was evil or rather brainwashed. This book tells the story of how Caroline helped the French during the WWII and then worked to help the Polish women that were in the Ravensbruk concentration camp. She worked in the sulfanilimide experiments.

Kasia is one of those women she experimented on. Her story is really a sad one, but one of strength. She's the fictional character in this story. She's the "rabbit" that figures into Herta's life.

This book shows many sides of WWII. So it isn't pretty, but war is seldom pretty. It doesn't glorify the war either. It shows all the hatred that was there at the time.

Caroline's story was an exceptionally sad one in some ways, but then again, who am I to say how she really was.

This book was a bit slow and with the changing points of view made it slog on. At times these quick switches made the book feel choppy.  It wasn't until I reached the final part of the story that I felt things were moving along. I shed many tears during Part III. The last part of this book is the most emotional, especially with Kasia and her relationship with her family.

This wasn't a perfect read, but it was good one and one I'd recommend to people that enjoy historical fiction about WWII.

Rating: 4 flowers


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