bookish: lilac girls
“...a lilac only blossoms after a harsh winter.”
Three wildly different women, a German doctor, a Polish teen, and a American socialite, are set on a collision course when Hitler and his army march on Poland in 1939.
Desperate to escape the confines of a community rejecting a female physician, Herta Oberheuser takes a job with German government. When she finds herself at Ravensbruck, a Nazi death camp, Herta realizes she wasn’t hired treat the women held prisoner there. She was sent to Ravensbruck to perform barbaric surgeries and conduct medical research on the women unlucky enough to be selected for experiments.
Rebellious, young Kasia volunteers for the underground movement in occupied Poland but falls in over her head. When she attracts the attention of the SS and is arrested, along with her mother and sister, Kasia is brought Ravensbruck and subjected to brutal experimentation at the hands of Dr. Oberheuser.
Caroline Ferriday, a New York socialite desperate to reconnect with her lover, Paul, who was imprisoned by Nazis in France, stumbles upon the story of the Ravensbruck girls, who became known as “the Rabbits”, and sets out to find justice for the women of Ravensbruck.
Inspired by true events and real women, Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly, brings something new to the landscape of World War II fiction. The true stories of Caroline and Herta are expertly intertwined with the imagined life of Kasia Kuzmerick in this tale of love, loss, and life after war.
Compelling, memorable, and page-turning, Lilac Girls will move you and inspire you.
I wholeheartedly recommend this gem of a novel. Grab a cup of tea, a warm blanket, and dive into the vivid, regrettable history of Ravensbruck and lose yourself in this charming story of women doing what they do best, surviving, against all odds.