Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

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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

I read a physical copy of this, that I purchased at Black Tree Books in Oneonta, NY.

I actually finished this a few weeks ago but never saved it on my Goodreads list so this book isn’t quite fresh in my mind but hopefully I can do the book justice.

I don’t read too many historical fiction novels, but when I do they tend to be books from the later half of the 20th century. I’m not super proud of this fact but the truth is, I never really connected with history unless it was something I could relate to.

Lilac Girls takes place during WWII, a subject that I do have an interest in. I does take a little time to get aquainted to the three characters that the story is told by but once you get a sense of who everyone is, its easy to get hooked. Caroline and Kasis are great narrators. Herta is challenging, as she is clearly the enemy and gets the least amount of attention in the book but at the same time-I felt for her. Recent events have taught me that it is very easy to get swept up in what is happening around you and to buy in to what the people in authority are telling you. I wish her story had been different, but the juxtaposition from Caroline and Kasia was startling and worked well.

After reading this, I have found that now I want to read more historical fiction and I would like to try branching out to different historical periods. I recently purchased The Red Tent that has been on my radar for a long time and I am interested in giving Circe a go.

Rating: Four and a half stars

“It only hurts you to hold on to the hate.”

― Martha Hall Kelly, Lilac Girls

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