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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 Ravensbruck, 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.
"USA Today" New and Noteworthy Book "LibraryReads" Top Ten Pick
Harrowing . . . "Lilac "illuminates. "People"
A compelling, page-turning narrative . . . "Lilac Girls" falls squarely into the groundbreaking category of fiction that re-examines history from a fresh, female point of view. It s smart, thoughtful and also just an old-fashioned good read. "Fort Worth Star-Telegram"
A powerful story for readers everywhere . . . Martha Hall Kelly has brought readers a firsthand glimpse into one of history s most frightening memories. A novel that brings to life what these women and many others suffered. . . . I was moved to tears. "San Francisco Book Review"
Extremely moving and memorable . . . This impressive debut should appeal strongly to historical fiction readers and to book clubs that adored Kristin Hannah s "The Nightingale" and Anthony Doerr s" All the Light We Cannot See." "Library Journal" (starred review)
A] compelling first novel . . . This is a page-turner demonstrating the tests and triumphs civilians faced during war, complemented by Kelly s vivid depiction of history and excellent characters. "Publishers Weekly"
Kelly vividly re-creates the world of Ravensbruck. "Kirkus Reviews
Inspired by actual events and real people, Martha Hall Kelly has woven together the stories of three women during World War II that reveal the bravery, cowardice, and cruelty of those days. This is a part of history women s history that should never be forgotten. Lisa See, "New York Times"bestselling author of"China Dolls"
Profound, unsettling, and thoroughly . . .the best book I ve read all year. Jamie Ford, " New York Times" bestselling author of "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet""
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-02-15
- Reviewer: Staff
Kelly’s compelling first novel follows three women through the course of World War II and beyond. Caroline, a wealthy New Yorker, volunteers at the French consulate in New York, assisting refugees and raising funds. She meets Paul, a charming, married French actor, and sparks fly. Kasia, a young woman living in Poland during the Nazi invasion, works for the resistance until she is captured and sent to Ravensbruck, the women’s concentration camp. There, she encounters Herta, a doctor hired to help execute inmates and perform experiments. Though her mother is Herta’s trusted assistant, and even saved a camp guard’s life, Kasia is operated on, joining the “Rabbits,” inmates deformed from their surgeries. Meanwhile, Caroline loses touch with Paul when he returns to France to find his wife, and she finds herself tasked with keeping track of the growing concentration camp network for the consulate, learned from British intelligence. After the war, she travels to France to assist in locating missing people, where she learns about the Rabbits, including Kasia, who is struggling to let go of her anger and move on with her life. Despite some horrific scenes, this is a page-turner demonstrating the tests and triumphs civilians faced during war, complemented by Kelly’s vivid depiction of history and excellent characters. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, Curtis Brown. (Apr.)