Lilac Girls: A Novel

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For readers of The Nightingale and Sarah’s Key, inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this remarkable debut novel reveals the power of unsung women to change history in their quest for love, freedom, and second chances. New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For readers of The Nightingale and Sarah’s Key, inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this remarkable debut novel reveals the power of unsung women to change history in their quest for love, freedom, and second chances.

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.

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 Ravensbrück.”—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

Comments

Shannon B. says:

historical fiction that tells the story of three very different women during WWII, effectively It has been a long time since I’ve read a novel this moving. The story alternates between three characters. Caroline Ferriday, socialite and former actress in New York, works at the French embassy as WWII starts. The book features a romance between her and a French actor, and this story weaves in and out, not seeming to connect until at last it does. However, you don’t mind your time with Caroline, although she is not the most compelling figure. 

SBCincinnati says:

Amazing! Enthralling! Enlightening! A must read for book clubs! Would have given 6 stars out of 5, if possible. Best book I have read this year! Absolutely enthralling, intriguing and insightful. I learned a piece of history I never knew about while reading this very well written and researched book. I love novels that are entwined around actual events. This novel follows three women, Caroline Ferriday, Herta Oberheuser and Kasia Kuzmerick, starting in 1939. How these women are impacted by World War II and how their lives intersect is the crux of this amazing story. I have read many books set in this same time frame, but this book came from three perspectives that I had not read before. After the first few chapters I was totally hooked.I highly recommend this book to anyone, but especially to those who like books like “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah or “Sara’s Key” by Tatiana de Rosnay. Perfect for book clubs. There is so much in this book that would lend itself to great discussions. If I were you, I would pre-order this book.

Margi Komninos says:

Some Great Books this Summer – a MUST read! Really liked this book as it gave a perspective to those persecuted under Hitler that were not Jewish. The book is written from the perspective of 3 individuals — a woman in NYC trying to help the French children; a Polish woman and her family who were sent to one of the worst “re-education camps” where horrific experiments were done on healthy individuals (most of them non-Jewish); and from a female German doctor who worked at that re-education camp. It follows their stories through some years. It was only AFTER reading the book that I found out that this was the true story of each of these 3 women. It is historical fiction because these were not their words and there is one fictional character that the author developed. This along with “Above the East China Sea” by Sarah Bird were my 2 favorite books this summer. Wish I could find more like these. If you liked “Sarah’s Key” you will definitely like this book.

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