Lilac Girls

Lilac Girls

A Novel

eBook - 2016
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"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.
The lives of three women converge at the Ravensbruck concentration camp as Caroline Ferriday resolves to help from her post at the French consulate, Kasia Kuzmerick becomes a courier in the Polish resistance, and Herta Oberheuser takes a German government medical position.
Publisher: New York :, Ballantine Books,, 2016
ISBN: 9781101883068
Characteristics: 1 online resource (487 pages)
Alternative Title: Axis 360 eBooks


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Mar 02, 2018

This is a fabulous book. It is based on true events that occurred during the Second World War. At times, it was difficult reading but well worth it. It is well written and the research was very thorough. I would recommend this book.

Jan 13, 2018

Spoiler alert: The Lilac Girls told the separate but interwoven stories of three women who lived during the time of the Holocaust. Kasia is a brave teenager who is determined to fight the Germans. She works as a spy and supports the underground activities of her Girl Scout-type group. She is rounded up with other Poles and sent to Ravensbrück to be “re-educated.” Herta is a doctor with a promising future; very rare for a female. She is offered a plum job at Ravensbrück and goes, hoping to alleviate the suffering of the residents. When she discovers they are prisoners, and not even considered humans, she is undaunted and continues to do her “job.” Her job is to conduct experiments on girls’ legs, introducing foreign materials into wounds she and her staff inflicted on the girls and treating them/not treating them to see what happened. Kasia is one of her victims. Caroline is a New York socialite who uses her considerable influence and wealth to come to the aid of those suffering at the hands of the Germans while she works as a volunteer at the French embassy. Once the war is over, and she learns about the women whose legs were maimed, she plans and implements a plan to bring those women to America to be treated.
This story is based on a true event in history. The main characters are all real, and the main events in the story all really happened. It makes for some difficult reading, but it is well written and well researched, and tells an important story about individual people and what they did and what they had to bear.

Nov 26, 2017

book club, March 24, 2018

Oct 01, 2017

This book, was based on history - a brutal part of WWII - Ravensbruck a concentration camp for women where horrific experiments were conducted and murders of thousands of babies and females were committed. Kasia and Caroline are strong characters; Herta chooses Evil in order to satisfy her ego and ambitions. A powerfully intense read.

Sep 20, 2017

A very thought provoking book that you will remember long after you have read it.

Sep 11, 2017

Excellent book! This is a historical fictional account of 3 very different women's life during WWII. Caroline Ferriday is a former actress who works with the French embassy in NYC. Kasia is a teenager who is arrested with her family and boyfriend in Poland and sent to a women's concentration camp (Ravenbruck) for "re-education". The third woman is named Herta, a Nazi doctor who participates in "Research" at Ravenbruck. The book tells the perspective each woman had of the war, and shows how one person can make a difference in so many lives.

Sep 06, 2017

We've all heard the phrase "Don't judge a book by it's cover"; this is a good example. You may think you are getting a white-washed war story of three friends and lost loves, but this is so much more.
We are taken to Ravensbruck, a WWII "re-education" camp-really a concentration/experimental facility- where inmates are subjected to gruesome surgeries. We meet Kasia an inmate and a German female Doctor, Herta Oberheuser. We get both sides of the story in this novel; it's not often the reader is presented with that.
Another major character is Caroline Ferriday, a New York socialite, who sends care packages to orphaned French children and later assists in the rehabilitation of the Ravensbruck prisoners. There is a lot of emotional upheaval here, as there is in any war story. But the reader has some relief from the intensity of the major plot line with the introduction of the romance between Caroline and Paul Rodierre.
My minor "beefs" about the book -- I felt the title and cover were misleading but I understand the selling point of good cover art. And Caroline and the Ravensbruck women's lives don't converge until page 375 of the 476 novel. I realize we need this back-story to appreciate the novel in it's entirety.
All in all a suspenseful, detailed, educational read; a story that needed to be told. Lest we forget.

Sep 04, 2017

I loved this book! For a first novel it was fantastic. I prefer historical fiction and this was very well researched and the characters were vivid. I tried to read it very slowly in order to make it "last longer" yet I wanted to get to the next chapter as quickly as possible. I will keep it on my list to read again. It was most poignant as I was reading it when there were clashes between extreme left activists and alt-right protestors in modern America.

Aug 03, 2017

This was a fantastic book. It did take me a while to get into it, learning the personalities. But after that, had a hard time putting it down, Want to do more research regarding Caroline Ferriday and the "rabbits". Thank you Martha Hall Kelly for sharing this story with everyone.

CRRL_MegRaymond Jul 25, 2017

The intertwining lives and fates of three very different women - a concentration camp survivor, a female German doctor, and an American socialite.

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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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