book · reviews

Lilac Girls– book review

I finished reading Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly over the weekend. I got to a point where I couldn’t put the book down.

When I started reading this book I was so emotionally overcome by the details that this book shared. I had to put the book aside once and then after picking it up again, I had to only read it during the day. But, don’t let this scare you… it is just the way I dealt with the details and information.

Lilac Girls is a story set in World War II. The story follows three leading female characters who lived in three very different worlds during this time. It shows how different this time was for the females around the world.

Caroline Ferriday was a Broadway star who now volunteers at the French consulate in New York City. Kasia Kuzmerick is a Polish teenager who is in love with Pietrik Bakoski and will follow him anywhere. Herta Oberheuser is a young doctor in Germany.

When you look at these three characters, you would never expect their paths to cross… and then there is World War II.

Caroline goes does whatever she can do to help the families and especially the children in France. She uses her influence to help those who have less. She ends up using this power and influence to help the women who were effected by the war.

Kasia get sucked into helping the resistance movement in Poland which results in her getting arrest. Not only does Kasia get arrested, but almost everyone she loves and cares about gets arrested at the same time. She find herself being shipped off to Ravensbruck, a Nazi concentration camp for women.

Herta doesn’t want to work as a dermatologist, she dreams of being a surgeon. After graduating as a doctor she struggles to find a place in Nazi Germany that will let her practice as a doctor. She answers an ad for a “government medical position” in a “reeducation camp for women”.

How these three women’s paths cross is a turn of events that will tug at every one of your heart strings. This story does not sugar coat the reality of World War II. It shows it all front and center. What is even more is that this story is based on true events. Caroline Ferriday really did perform on Broadway as well as help the “Ravensbruck rabbits”. Herta Oberheuser was a German physician who was tried for war crimes after the end of World War II. The character of Kasia is based on many of the different women who Ferriday helped after World War II.

This story, while realistic fiction is real. The narrative is embellished by the author, but the meat of the story is real.

If you enjoy learning about the past. If you enjoy reading about strong women. If you want to learn more about the time frame of World War II….. Then, Lilac Girls is the story for you.



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