Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Who Are The Lilac Girls?

How many of you are World War II buffs?  How many of you have read a great about the many events that took place during the war?  I myself am familiar with the concentration camps such as Auschwitz, Bergen Belsen, and Ravensbruck.  I was not familiar with the story of The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly; I am delighted to share it now.


Caroline Ferriday works for the French Consulate in New York who helps French, but more specifically she works with orphans.  She has never married but shares living quarters with her mother.  There is also an interesting gentleman on the side.  Caroline sends packages to orphans and continues to help as Europe is rapidly invaded by the Nazis.   Over in Poland, Kasia is excited about the changes and an opportunity to help with the underground.  Her boyfriend Pietrik tries to keep her from being involved.  One day the Gestapo catches Kasia her friends and family, and they are sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp.  Kasha arrives with her sister Zuzanna and their mother.  Herta Oberheuser comes onto to staff at Ravensbruck as a doctor.  What kind of services would she provide?   How would she treat Kasia and her family?  How does Caroline connect to the situation at Ravensbruck?

My Thoughts: 

I loved this novel!  I loved how the author Ms. Kelly brought a different kind of story about World War II to her audience.  There are many narrators in this story Caroline, Kasia, and Herta.  We learn about these characters and their family from the outset of the story.  I did not think Caroline Ferriday was a real person.  Herta is also a real person.  Kasia and her sister are based off of people who lived through the Ravensbruck experience.  The author vividly describes the camp, occupied France, and occupied Poland.  Ms. Kelly has great perspective on what the conflict in Europe was like, and her narrator’s illustrate it beautifully.   

I listened to the audiobook of this book!  I cannot say how much I love, love, love, Cassandra Campbell.  I know when I select an audiobook and she is a narrator the audience is in for a treat.   The Kathleen Gati brought Kasia and Herta to life, with great authenticity.

I will forewarn that this novel is long!  It has a very meaty story, I don’t know that I would have stayed with it if I had not done it has an audiobook.  I also struggled with Caroline’s connection to the events at Ravensbruck.    



Order your copy of Lilac Girls here.

Martha Hall Kelly is available on these platforms:

Cassandra Campbell is available on  Twitter . 

Kathleen Gati is available on these platforms: