Title: Lilac Girls
Author: Martha Hall Kelly
Publisher: Ballantine Books 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3/5 stars
Reading Challenges: Ebooks; Popsugar - Plant in Title; Women Authors
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.
This one was such a disappointment to me. It’s gotten great reviews and my book club picked it for April. My strongest reaction to this book was “meh.” The writing was clunky in certain parts. The story definitely needed to be edited down in sections. But my biggest complaints center on the characters. I just didn’t care about them. There was no emotional connection for me. Were we supposed to feel something for Herta? Or even Kasia when she was struggling with her anger? And Caroline was so flat at times, I just couldn’t. I didn’t really get the message we were supposed to ascertain. I know WWII was horrendous and terrible things were done to people, but beyond that, what?
In finishing the book, I read the afterward from the author. Caroline and Herta were real people. She researched them, Ravensbruck, and the horrors of WWII to create this fictionalized account what happened during and after the war. Okay, so they were real people? I would have rather read biographies of them than this imagining of what went on. And apparently Caroline’s romance with Paul was completely made up. I knew I didn’t like that storyline for a reason. It was so unbelievable and flat to me. Turns out it wasn’t real. That makes me feel better. Overall, I was really disappointed in this book.
Next up on the TBR pile: