Lilac Girls

Lilac Girls

by Martha Hall Kelly
4.5 75


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Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101883082
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/28/2017
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 49
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Martha Hall Kelly is a native New Englander now living in Atlanta, Georgia, where she’s writing the prequel to Lilac Girls. This is her first novel.

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Lilac Girls 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 76 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
[ I received this book free from the publisher through NetGalley. I thank them for their generousity. In exchange, I was simply asked to write an honest review, and post it. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising] “But it’s fitting in a way— Father loved the fact that a lilac only blooms after a harsh winter" This is a powerful historical fiction with roots deep in fact. We meet four women: Caroline Ferriday and Herta Oberheuser, both real people, and two sisters Kasia Kuzmerick and her sister Zuzanna, loosely based on Nina Iwanska and her physician sister Krystyna, both operated on at Ravensbruck, the only womens' camp during WW2. ( paraphrased from Author's acknowledgments at the end of the book) Ferriday was a former Broadway actress who worked at helping and saving French children until she found out about the true atrocities of the camps. She then spent the rest of her life helping the survivors. Herta Oberheuser was a female doctor who ran the sulfa operation experiments at the camp, and Kasia and Zuzanna, based on real people as noted above, were two of her "patients". I have visited Sachsenhausen and read enough about the camps not to go into the atrocities, as that part is fairly well documented in other places. What fascinated me in this book is how seamlessly the author has woven fact and fiction into a story that kept me up reading most of a night, both horrified and edified, as well as thankful that there were such brave souls during a time in history we'd rather forget. This is a WONDERFUL book. I strongly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. If you enjoyed Nightingale and All the Light We Cannot See, both of which I constantly recommend to people, you will love this book. Buy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This has to be one of the best books I've ever read. I was hooked in the first few pages. Ive reccomended it to everyone I could think of.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Only negative was when it ended! Written well enough to keep up with each characters story without confusion. Loved it!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this because I really enjoyed The Nightingale and was not disappointed. It's a really powerful story that has me thinking of its relevance today. I couldn't put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I did not know this story, but people should. Such compelling characters, with such strong will. The author has a keen way of writing the story. Praise for Lilac Girls.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The power of the human spirit astounds me. This book is an exquistely told story about Holocaust survivors and an American lady who made it her life's work to help people in need. It's a well-deserved tribute to their courage and fortitude.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read. This is a great read. Highly recommend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the characters, they came to life. Could not put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An historical time and experience better depicted in Nightingale and other works. I did appreciate the specific story of the camp the girls were held in....wasn't aware of this particular camp. Adding a fictionalized romance for one of the Lilac girls was a mistake and tedious in the telling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It left me wanting more. Will be recommending it to everyone.
Anonymous 10 months ago
This was a simply an amazing book. The characters came alive and I looked forward to meeting them every day when I read. Their story is inspiring and has profound meaning. Even in the darkest days of despair, their hope and spirit was never broken. A fabulous and incredibly well written novel based on actual people and history.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Great book. Was hooked from the first page. Loved the characters. Will look forward to more books from this author. Well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished The Lilac Girls and it was very good. The writing clear and descriptive. Based on actual people and real crimes against humanity. Touching, informative, a very good story. I did not know of Ms. Ferriday and the Polish ladies. Everyone should read this book. Should be on high school history or English reading list.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Based on true facts that are written in a way that brings the reader into the story. Loved it. Would recommend everyone read.
Anonymous 5 months ago
This has to be one of the best books I've ever read. I was hooked in the first few pages. Ive reccomended it to everyone I could think of. and Take a Barnes $10 Off coupons code from
Anonymous 6 months ago
The cover and the publisher write up on this book does NOT do it justice. This book is amazing. Best I have read in quite some time.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Excellent is the best I can use to descibe this author's 1st novel. A piece of what happened during WWII I'd not heard of; to not just occupied France but not as well known occupied Poland. Then to learn it is about real people. A strong recommendation from me to read. I am glad it was recommended to me! I look fotward to her next novel. JDL 8/3/17
Anonymous 7 months ago
Was totally wrapped up in the story and then learned it was based on true events. Wow
Anonymous 8 months ago
I enjoyed every page and was only disappointed that there weren't more pages. I could have read 100 more.
Anonymous 11 months ago
A long book, and, at times, confusing but difficult to put down. confusing
Anonymous 11 months ago
I couldn't put it down! It is the perfect mix of emotions, history and story telling. One of the best reads in a very long time!
Anonymous 11 months ago
Must read !
Anonymous 5 hours ago
Anonymous 13 hours ago
The first part of the book focuses on the period that 2 of the central characters are in Ravensbrueck, the women's concentration camp in Germany. It is absolutely heartbreaking to read. The second part focuses on what happens to the women after their release, and the work of the amazing woman who helped their cause. Well worth getting through the brutality, for the beauty of life that follows. The base of the story is true and so inspiring.