Lilac Girls

Lilac Girls

A Novel

Book Club Kit - 2016
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"Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this powerful debut novel reveals an incredible story of love, redemption, and terrible secrets that were hidden for decades. 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 Ravensbruck, 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. In Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly has crafted a remarkable novel of unsung women and their quest for love, freedom, and second chances. It is a story that will keep readers bonded with the characters, searching for the truth, until the final pages. Advance praise for Lilac Girls "Rich with historical detail and riveting to the end, Lilac Girls weaves the lives of three astonishing women into a story of extraordinary moral power set against the harrowing backdrop of Europe in thrall to Nazi Germany. Martha Hall Kelly moves effortlessly across physical and ethical battlegrounds, across the trajectory of a doomed wartime romance, across the territory of the soul. I can't remember the last time I read a novel that moved me so deeply."--Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author of A Hundred Summers and The Secret Life of Violet Grant "Inspired by actual events and real people, Martha Hall Kelly has woven together the stories of three women during World War II that reveal the bravery, cowardice, and cruelty of those days. This is a part of history--women's history--that should never be forgotten."--Lisa See, New York Times bestselling author of China Dolls"-- Provided by publisher.
"On a September day in Manhattan in 1939, twenty-something Caroline Ferriday is consumed by her efforts to secure the perfect boutonniere for an important French diplomat and resisting the romantic advances of a married actor. Meanwhile across the Atlantic, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish Catholic teenager, is nervously anticipating the changes that are sure to come since Germany has declared war on Poland. As tensions rise abroad - and in her personal life - Caroline's interest in aiding the war effort in France grows and she eventually comes to hear about the dire situation at the Ravensbruck all-female concentration camp. At the same time, Kasia's carefree youth is quickly slipping away, only to be replaced by a fervor for the Polish resistance movement. Through Ravensbruck - and the horrific atrocities taking place there told in part by an infamous German surgeon, Herta Oberheuser - the two women's lives will converge in unprecedented ways and a novel of redemption and hope emerges that is breathtaking in scope and depth"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2016
ISBN: 9781101883082
Branch Call Number: FICTION (BOOK CLUB SET)
Characteristics: 10 books in a bag
487 pages ; 25 cm


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May 29, 2019

This book was an amazing read and I did not want to put it down or let go of the story. Even did some lite research afterward about some of the real life characters. I also did not know anything about Ravensbruck, the experiments and the Polish women.

May 25, 2019

I found this book to be pretty engrossing. Prior to reading this, I had a vague knowledge of Ravensbrück, but this novel elaborated on what those poor women and children endured. Chilling and horrifying. I also appreciated the very different experiences of the 3 protagonists. Perhaps the novel could have used a little more editing for length, but overall, 2 thumbs' up.

May 22, 2019

I downloaded and listened to this book and fell in love with it. It reads a little slow, I’m guessing due to the slight accents of the European characters. I stuck with it and really enjoyed the story. There was a lot in the book that was new information to me. The book is historical fiction mostly biased on Caroline a New York socialite. Well written, well told. I hope others enjoy it as much as I did.

May 13, 2019

Best Seller du NYT. Dispo en français à la Bibliothèque de Gatineau.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Apr 28, 2019

This historical fiction set during World War II will appeal to those who enjoy reading historical fiction from multiple points of view.

Apr 01, 2019

Loved that the author was inspired to do all the research and write the book based on a visit to the historic home owned by Caroline Ferriday who flew Polish women who were experimented on at the Nazi concentration camp for women to the US for treatment in 1958. Story is told through perspectives of Caroline and woman Nazi doctor and one of the Polish women - and they all wrap together nicely at the end.

Mar 13, 2019

When I saw two cliches in the first two paragraphs, my expectations plummeted. The subject is an important event in history, but the author's style totally trivializes it. She explains at the end that one narrator and several main characters are NOT historical, just made up to give the book pizzazz. Kelly was trained as a journalist and spent years researching and writing it. I would MUCH rather have had a narrative non-fiction tale, not the sappy Harlequin romance that goops up the facts. There are cliches, feeble descriptions and similes, cliff-hanger chapter ends and blatant anachronisms that take away from the true trials and accomplishments of these women. Too much is speculation and guesswork.

Feb 13, 2019

It is interesting how the book is set up- wasn't sure if I could keep up. but it was good!

Jan 29, 2019

A wonderfully engaging story; personal tragedy, soul searching, and survival. Cannot recommend this book enough.

Aug 07, 2018

I loved almost everything about this story! I think Kelly did a great job integrating all of the ladies stories. However, I felt like Herta Oberheuser story was told in an odd way. However, I overall loved this story. It is an eye-opening look at the Holocaust through multiple different facets.

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Nov 30, 2017

“It’s just a thing, Kasia. Don’t waste your energy on the hate. That will kill you sure as anything. Focus on keeping your strength. You’re resourceful. Find a way to outsmart them.“ -Matka (pg. 161)

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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