Herta, who is another character based on the real Dr Herta Oberhauser, received a book of her own on medicine Atlas of General Surgery when she accompanies her father on a visit to his favourite treater of the sick , a man she refers to as Katz, a doctor by right, but Jews were no longer seen as doctors When her father tells the treater of the sick of her desire to be a surgeon, which, under national socialism she was not allowed to specialize in, Dr Katz gives her this Atlas with the instructions that she s to bring it back once she s finished reading it, and he ll loan her another She reads through it quickly, and makes her way back to his home to exchange it for another only to find him gone, and the SS carrying out boxes of his booksIt was sad to see someone s possessions taken in such a way, but the Jews had been warned They knew the F hrer s requirements This was unfortunate, but not new, and it was for the good of Germany Eventually, all these stories weave into one, a tapestry of pain, horror, sadness, and even some love and beauty Grace, even Hopefully, stories like these will never be forgotten, and hopefully we ll get to a point where we won t need to remember them In the meantime, I am left feeling a bit haunted by this story, by the stories of these women, and all they enduredEventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it The river was cut by the world s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs I am haunted by watersNorman Maclean, A River Runs Through It Many thanks, once again, to the Public Library system, and the many Librarians that manage, organize and keep it running, for the loan of this book Emotional, Powerful, Brutal This book will take your breath away it certainly stole mine Some stories are unforgettable, no doubt that this one is among them However, to leave it at that, is not adequate No This is different Not only did I appreciate this novel, but it changed me It shook me to the core and rocked the very foundation on which I stand If you haven t yet read this, you must It is imperative that we never forget the extraordinary suffering and enormous loss that took place during the Holocaust It is also something worth noting that one of the perspectives in Lilac Girls was from that of a Nazi doctor, Herta Oberhauser I ve never read any piece of literature that gives a voice to one of the most evil humans in mankind This was by no means an easy read, however, it is critical that we all never forget the inhumanity that was the Holocaust.
Inspired By The Life Of A Real World War II Heroine, This Debut Novel Reveals A Story Of Love, Redemption, And Secrets That Were Hidden For Decades 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 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 Ravensbr Ck, 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 I m so very clearly in the minority here, and I don t really feel like drawing the ire of the thousands of people who seem to have enjoyed this book so just let me say that the story was fine but I thought the writing was weak The characters weren t developed and Kelly s use of the three intertwined narratives technique Side note I am sick to death of that technique struck me as clumsy and ineffective.
I finished this book earlier in the day, and I ve been pondering what to write for my review and I cannot put into words how much this book impacted me It s books like this that make me appreciate how fortunate I am, for I know with great certainty that I could be nowhere as resilient FANTASTIC BOOK No matter how many holocaust stories I read, I still find them disturbing, shocking and heart wrenching Surviving such a devastating experience brings with it a lifetime of horrors For no one truly forgets and nor should we.
3 women from 3 different geographies as WWII erupts Each doing what they can towards the war effort Caroline in NYC Putting care packages together for orphaned children Going one step further and helping rebuild the country Falling in love with a foreigner who is forced to return to Nazi occupied France.
Kasia in Poland The Nazis have invaded and she has been caught working for the underground movement She s been sent to Ravensbr ck and now is infamously known as one of the rabbits Even with liberation, the polish people were forced to live under communist rule with Stalin s iron fist from one radical leader to another never experiencing freedom The losses suffered and the pain endured would be enough to lose hope But hope is all they had and gave them the strength to survive Herta in Germany A medical doctor working at a concentration camp doing experimental surgeries on inmates A doctor whose purpose is saving lives is practicing unethical surgeries and murder Aka The rabbit surgeon The nazi code so fundamentally f ked up The structure of the narrative told from the 3 perspectives gives a global scope I would have preferred locking onto one character, but overall this was beautifully written and an amazing story of character, courage, redemption and resilience 5 I tend to gravitate to books on WWII and the holocaust, but I have never read a book about Ravensbr ck, the Nazi concentration camp for women I had never heard of the rabbits I was shocked by this book, not expecting it to be as good as it was.
The Lilac Girls tells the story of three very different women, whose lives eventually intersect Caroline Ferriday, a socialite and former actress works for the French Consulate in NYC and she works tirelessly for children who have been impacted or displaced by the war Kasia Kuzmerick, a young Polish girl who eventually is taken by the Germans to Ravensbr ck, and is one of the rabbits Finally, Herta Oberheuser, a young german doctor who is really striving to get herself noticed as a female doctor and shows her unwaivering support for the Reich The story rotates in chapters between the points of view of each of these women Telling their stories before, during, and after the war The rabbits were a group of young, healthy, women who the germans performed ruthless, unnecessary operations on them, debilitating them for life, and sometimes just killing them outright Herta is the doctor who performs those operations She is such an evil person who shows no remorse for what she does as it s done for the good of Germany.
The story is quite intense At times, it becomes hard to listen to Caroline and Herta are based on real life people who did these things that are described in the book Kasia, is a story based on many of the rabbits It can be a difficult read at times, but no book on this time period is an easy read Initially, Caroline seemed to be quite shallow to me, and her romance with Paul just seemed odd But eventually, she accomplishes some amazing things.
I do have to get this out WORST BOOK COVER It is quite a lovely picture but this shows no representation of what is INSIDE the book To be honest, when the book came out, I knew it was a story based around WWII But looking at the cover, I thought it was some book about a bunch of wealthy girls and how they living during this time, but thinking it would be a fluff book In fact, I returned it to the library initially The book is so much and the cover has nothing to do with it other than there are three main female characters.
I listened to this one via audio and it was wonderful Three different female narrators, one for each character All did a fabulous job and really immersed me in to the story I would suggest the audio version for those that enjoy audios Overall, a great story about three different women that should not be missed.
After all the books I ve read about the horrors surronding WWII it still amazes me how awful humans can be to each other Lilac Girls is one of those novels that brings to light a little known atrocity the experimentation on women in Ravensbruck Concentration Camp The writing is so raw that at times I wasn t sure I d be able to get through it It saddens me so much to think that any of the victims of these atrocities would carry guilt feeling any it was their fault I appreciate the dedication and research Kelly did in order to bring these women s story to us It is important that stories like these continue to be written so that the victims of these atrocities are never forgotten 4.
5 stars Spoiler My one criticism might be a spoiler so at this point you might want to stop reading The only part of this story I didn t really feel connected with was the relationship between Caroline and Paul Something about it just felt off To my surprise, I discovered in the Authors Note that this was the only totally fictious relationship in the book I don t think this relationship was needed and it would ve earned a 5 star rating from me if it had been omitted Still a brillant story.
This story is about three different women, two of whom were real life characters according to the author s notes, the third a prisoner at the all female prison camp Ravensbr ck Caroline Ferriday is the first narrator, Kasia a young Polish girl and finally the notorious Herta Oberheuser don t read up on her experiments at meal time The setting is mainly during the years of WWII, but the later third or so take place some years afterward.
Typically such a subject matter would have me gripped to the book and bawling my eyes out at the gross inhumanity of the experiments the women at the camp were forced to endure, but this just didn t grab me I can t understand why a fascinating, albeit graphic, bit of history can be put into a novel that in the end became increasingly tedious I don t know if it was the alternating third person narratives admittedly not a method I m terribly fond of , or just flat characters characterization, but I just didn t care about any of them, not even Kasia and her fellow prisoners Caroline s narrative went on and on about her pretty dresses, charities parties and all that name dropping, and then there s the romantic element with no chemistry In the end, I just didn t care and began to skim, and it went on too long for before tying things up and moving on.
Sorry, but apparently I am in the minority and see this getting a lot of favorable reviews, but due to the slowness of the story reaching it s resolution, unlikeable characters and really, Herta should have been a lot unlikeable , and one too many social party and pretty dress for Caroline, I just can t rate this higher YMMV.
Ravensbruck was Hitler s only major concentration camp exclusively for women The story is centered around three women.
each from 3 different countries Poland, Germany, and, America before during and after World War II all based on the lives of real women in history There are actually several plots not sure any of them are minor The storytelling is disturbing, gripping and written veraciously.
Caroline Ferriday s was a wealthy American woman who made it her life s work to help the female prisoners She was a strong quiet womanyet we felt her suffering.
her aching love for her family and the women she was helping Her dedication was endlessa leader who was ruthless and unreasonable she stood for justice and was going to make sure the world became aware of the horrors which took place Dr Herta Oberheuser, from Germany, executed the most ghastly and torturous medical experimentation imaginable on these woman in the camps Her purpose was for the women to conflict pain purposefully some crazy type of thinking these woman should be in agony as a type of counterbalance any distress the German soldiers endured Kasia Kuzmerick a Polish political prisoner, is the one fictional female character Dr Oberheuser forced her to assist and perform in the horrid medical experimentation operations Martha Hall Kelly s story is emotional, heart wrenching, but not all gloomy What stood out for me were the relationships the real friendships women bonding , that developed creating the possibility for an optimistic way of being.
They shared experiences of unspeakable memories, and losses, too afraid to hope alone but when they confronted their challenges together we see a rich portrayal of female friendship in the face of adversity Much pain much hardshipmuch truth The factual details of the novel are troubling yet the storytelling ispersuasive, interesting and deeply moving The research from Martha Hall Kelly, is quite impressive The authors notes at the end add a deeper understanding from her years her personal dedication of study By the time the reader gets to the endwe can t help but respect the integrity in which Martha Kelly devoted to the historical facts Powerful and extremely engrossing reading Thank You Random House, Netgalley, and Martha Hall Kelly,