Lilac Girls

Lilac Girls

A Novel

Book Club Kit - 2016
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"On a September day in Manhattan in 1939, twenty-something Caroline Ferriday is consumed by her efforts to secure the perfect boutonniere for an important French diplomat and resisting the romantic advances of a married actor. Meanwhile across the Atlantic, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish Catholic teenager, is nervously anticipating the changes that are sure to come since Germany has declared war on Poland. As tensions rise abroad - and in her personal life - Caroline's interest in aiding the war effort in France grows and she eventually comes to hear about the dire situation at the Ravensbruck all-female concentration camp. At the same time, Kasia's carefree youth is quickly slipping away, only to be replaced by a fervor for the Polish resistance movement. Through Ravensbruck - and the horrific atrocities taking place there told in part by an infamous German surgeon, Herta Oberheuser - the two women's lives will converge in unprecedented ways and a novel of redemption and hope emerges that is breathtaking in scope and depth"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, [2016]
Characteristics: 10 copies (487 pages ; 25 cm)
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781101883082
9781101883075 (hardback)
Call Number: BOOK CLUB KELLY

Opinion

From Library Staff

This debut novel is inspired by the life of unlikely World War II heroine Caroline Ferriday. It follows the experiences of Ferriday, a Manhattan debutante, who resolves to help upon learning of the atrocities at the Ravensbruck concentration camp. A Polish teen who is swept up in the resistance m... Read More »


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t
theamac
Jul 21, 2018

An eye-opening, emotional read that is roughly based on the true stories of three women and their experiences during WWII. I have never read about the atrocities that occurred at Ravensbruck, a female concentration camp that is especially known for its medical experimentation on young Polish women. I learned a lot and would highly recommend it.

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xiaojunbpl12
Jul 21, 2018

Though Caroline’s narrative (New York stories and her affair with a French celebrity) appealed to me, such a conjured up book title may disappoint or infuriate readers who consider a serious subject were smooched as to cater a different mass market.
Herta had some brilliant narratives in the first half of the book, esp. her younger days when molested. I was hoping to see more, even fictionalized episodes to convince about her transition, psychological numbness, and illusory dignity, but she was simply gone and taken over by others cursing her monster.
Kasia, the only fictional character out of three, had my interests in the beginning, for a country suffered both during the war and behind the iron curtain, but her narratives became less and less engaging my senses.

I admire author’s ambition to bring forth a historical tragedy and war crime, encouraging as many people as possible to learn what otherwise be left in obscurity. The usage of local lingo (French, German, Polish) mixed in each narration showed extensive research conducted and certain linguistic talent (though bewildered me
sometimes). But overall it was felt a compilation of news storytelling in chronological order from three perspectives, lack of shared suspense and room for imagination.

b
banjocat
Jul 21, 2018

One of the best books I have ever read, couldnt put it down and didnt want it to finish.
Ive read alot about the holocaust, but had no idea about the womens only concentration camp.

How another person can HATE another so vehemently is something I cannot and never will understand.

I highly recommend this book, its a fantastic read.

i
Irakar
Jul 17, 2018

amazing book.
i read a lot about holocaust, but mostly about Jewish side.
these events were unknown to me, prompted to research more.

c
ctkvlk
May 31, 2018

Excellent book on a sensitive subject. Interesting take on a subject that has received much coverage. Sensitive without being maudlin. Recommended reading.

e
EarleneGlasgow
Mar 27, 2018

Based in the true story of Caroline Ferriday who after hearing about women who survived cruel Nazi experimentation at Ravensbrück, sponsored them to travel to the U.S. for recovery. Through this campaign she meets Kasia who was only a teenager when she was taken to the camp. The reader also hears the perspective of Herta who is a German doctor longing for experience who answers an advertisement to work at an all female camp.

z
Zoelexi777
Mar 02, 2018

This is a fabulous book. It is based on true events that occurred during the Second World War. At times, it was difficult reading but well worth it. It is well written and the research was very thorough. I would recommend this book.

m
m0mmyl00
Jan 13, 2018

Spoiler alert: The Lilac Girls told the separate but interwoven stories of three women who lived during the time of the Holocaust. Kasia is a brave teenager who is determined to fight the Germans. She works as a spy and supports the underground activities of her Girl Scout-type group. She is rounded up with other Poles and sent to Ravensbrück to be “re-educated.” Herta is a doctor with a promising future; very rare for a female. She is offered a plum job at Ravensbrück and goes, hoping to alleviate the suffering of the residents. When she discovers they are prisoners, and not even considered humans, she is undaunted and continues to do her “job.” Her job is to conduct experiments on girls’ legs, introducing foreign materials into wounds she and her staff inflicted on the girls and treating them/not treating them to see what happened. Kasia is one of her victims. Caroline is a New York socialite who uses her considerable influence and wealth to come to the aid of those suffering at the hands of the Germans while she works as a volunteer at the French embassy. Once the war is over, and she learns about the women whose legs were maimed, she plans and implements a plan to bring those women to America to be treated.
This story is based on a true event in history. The main characters are all real, and the main events in the story all really happened. It makes for some difficult reading, but it is well written and well researched, and tells an important story about individual people and what they did and what they had to bear.

e
Eil_1
Oct 01, 2017

This book, was based on history - a brutal part of WWII - Ravensbruck a concentration camp for women where horrific experiments were conducted and murders of thousands of babies and females were committed. Kasia and Caroline are strong characters; Herta chooses Evil in order to satisfy her ego and ambitions. A powerfully intense read.

d
diannemarie52
Sep 20, 2017

A very thought provoking book that you will remember long after you have read it.

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Firerose14
Nov 30, 2017

“It’s just a thing, Kasia. Don’t waste your energy on the hate. That will kill you sure as anything. Focus on keeping your strength. You’re resourceful. Find a way to outsmart them.“ -Matka (pg. 161)

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cknightkc
Jan 23, 2017

“But it’s fitting in a way - Father loved the fact that a lilac only blossoms after a harsh winter.” - p. 440

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