Summary

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 an ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems like 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 they strive and sacrifice 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 quests for love, happiness, and second chances. It is a story that will keep listeners bonded with the characters, searching for the truth, until the final moments.
©2016 Martha Hall Kelly (P)2016 Random House Audio
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Critic reviews

"Rich with historical detail and riveting to the end, Lilac Girls weaves together the lives of three astonishing women into a story of extraordinary moral power, against the harrowing backdrop of a 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 best-selling author of A Hundred Summers and The Secret Life of Violet Grant)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Mary on 07-11-17

Best book I have ever read.

This book is unputdownable. It is based on facts. The author really has a great insight into the lives of prisoners in the different camps. Overall a brilliant story, well told.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By osuartgirl on 18-02-18

Powerful

This was a hard read and something that every person should have as required reading. The story makes harrowing topics accessible and the trials these women suffered and overcame are not sugar coated. The bravery in the face of unimaginable atrocities has shaken me to the core. I read this with tears in my eyes and can honestly say I admire the Ravensbruck prisoners and their courage.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Kristi on 15-06-17

Unknown History

What did you love best about Lilac Girls?

I am a retired history teacher and have read many books on WW2. I was not aware of this bit of WW2 history. Survivors of the concentration camps endured unspeakable horror, yet their determination to live at all costs gave them the soul to make it.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager who takes on the undeserved guilt of being Hitler's victim.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I really liked that each of the main characters were narrated by a different person. It made it sound like individual stories.

Who was the most memorable character of Lilac Girls and why?

the medical code is - First do no harm- I don't know if this in true in Hitler's Germany, but she struggles with sexism while denying her own prejudices.

Any additional comments?

The author combines just enough fiction with historical facts to provide depth to the story. I really liked the author's notes about the real "Rabbits."

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26 of 26 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Joy Easton on 18-05-16

The cover is a bit misleading, but...

This was a memorable book & the 3 stories were very interesting & well-written. Don't be tempted to read the author's note at the end of the book first. Spoilers! I'm glad the author included it. I wanted to know more about actual events. I'm inspired to read more about the "rabbits."

The book seemed to drag a few times, but that's probably because I wanted things to happen that didn't. The book is long, but I don't think it needed editing (& I'm a former proofreader/copy editor).

Each narrator was excellent! I would be surprised if anyone dislikes the narrators. Even when each does other accents, I didn't find it jarring or dissonant.

There are a few places where it's quite sad & grim. But that's part of the book's purpose; it's about the Holocaust, after all.

Overall, an interesting, moving book from a new author. I'll be watching for her next book!

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102 of 105 people found this review helpful

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