Review Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – 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.
Review Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – This story began in September 1939. It describes the life of Caroline Ferriday, the main character who lived as a wealthy socialite and Francophile. Her story in this book is seasoned with romance, something that I consider a common staple in Historical Fiction. But who would have thought that Caroline Ferriday managed to grip the readers’ attention till the end of the story. Caroline Ferriday put all her energy into helping Polish women who became victims of cruel medical experiments in Ravensbrück. In fact, she also attracted doctors in America to treat the victims so they could recover mentally and physically.
In Poland, a girl named Kasia Kuzmerick joined the young men to fight the Nazis. But her fight didn’t end well because she was finally arrested along with his mother and sister who worked as a doctor. Even though her character is a fictional element, you just can’t underestimate Kasia Kuzmerick because what happens to her character is based on real events. This information is confirmed by Martha Hall Kelly’s research, during which she met several women who survived the tragic story of the Ravensbrück prisoners.
Then the readers will also meet Herta Oberheuser, an actual person in the history of Lilac Girls. She was a very ambitious woman, a surgeon who highly upheld the Nazi ideology. Herta Oberheuser role became a cruel one because she was the one who conducted the experiments on healthy Polish women, only to find ways to commit a mass murder. Herta also encouraged the government at that time to establish Ravensbrück with a hidden agenda that would benefit her own career. Even after the war was over, Herta remained in the historical spotlight. She admitted no regrets and was sentenced with 20 years in prison.
The narrative that Kelly wrote flows nicely even though it is a cruel and painful story. But there are lessons we can learn from this book, one of which is that war brutality always leaves an end that is just so hard to forget. And Caroline Ferriday deserves a great appreciation, because thanks to her services, the Poland women who fell victims to Ravensbrück managed to survive.
Thank you to Martha Hall Kelly who has written this remarkable debut novel.
I think : Must Buy !
Page length : 512 pages
Publisher / date : Random House USA Inc, Imprint Ballantine Books Inc, 28 Feb 2017
- beautiful narration
- binds until the last word
- A bit confusing at the beginning but does not detract from the beauty of writing