Tag Archives: WWII

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

DNF: Dunkirk by David Boyle

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In May 1940, World War II hung in the balance.


As the Germans closed in on the Allies, trapping them on the beaches of Dunkirk, it seemed the entire British army would be obliterated.


Such a loss would almost certainly force the British to surrender and allow a Nazi invasion of the UK.


Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay planned a mass evacuation across the English Channel, but with the Germans drawing ever closer and intense air raids from the Luftwaffe, escape seemed all but impossible.


But with a combination of excellent planning, luck, and an almost inconceivable bit of help from none other than Adolf Hitler himself, Operation Dynamo was underway.


Over 900 boats sailed to Dunkirk - including destroyers, ferries, fishing boats and the famous “little boats of Dunkirk” – and, across nine tense days, rescued 338,226 soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk in what remains the biggest evacuation in military history.


This brilliantly researched book by historian David Boyle recounts each fraught day of the famous rescue mission that Winston Churchill famously called a ‘miracle of deliverance’.

I read the Kindle edition.

I purchased this book as I was intrigued by the movie trailers for the movie adaption of Dunkirk. The trailers made me realize that although I wanted to learn more about the evacuation, however, I have a low tolerance for war violence and knew I’d not be able to sit through the movie. Books of this nature are generally easier to handle.

The book was short, so I had high hopes of being able to dig right into it. And I started reading and very quickly I found myself a quarter of the way through…and I had no freakin’ idea what I had just read or what was happening. I had no desire to return to the beginning and reread, nor did I think it made sense to continue on when I couldn’t focus nor connect.

I think I might keep it, maybe one day I’ll want to return…at a time when I have the time to truly dedicate to completly focusing on this.