Lilac Girls Book Reviews

Martha Hall Kelly

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly Book Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • One million copies sold! 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.

“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)

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

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Book Name Lilac Girls
Genre Historical
Language English
E-Book Size 22.87 MB

Lilac Girls (Martha Hall Kelly) Book Reviews 2023

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Wonderful, Intriguing, Could not put down. This book was EXCELLENT. From beginning to end, it was fantastic. The story is heartfelt, and the characters are vibrant. Author Martha Hall Kelly is a wonderful writer. Never a boring moment in this book. It will tug at your heart, take your breath away and keep you on edge. This is a MUST READ for everyone.

Amazing. I couldn’t put this book down. Phenomenal and loved the detailed historical elements

Lilac Girls. I must agree with most other reviews. The book is riveting and not for the lighthearted. Terrible things happened to many good people during this period in history and this author does a good job of making things come to life. It is a bit confusing at times and what seemed to me to be a lot of background or otherwise useless information. I would have given it 5 stars had it been a shorter read.

Lilac Girls. It would be a mistake not to read this book. I'm going to buy it in hard cover, too, so that I include it in my small collection of books that I will read more than once. It's horrifying and unimaginable how Hitler, one man, was the catalyst for years of terrorizing and incentivizing people to assist in his insane vision and hatred. I'm 53 and every time I read books on this subject it boggles my mind.

Amazing Read. I have read many books on World War II, this was one of the very best. When I read some of the previous reviews, the one from Urrrg on April 2nd really says it best. This is a must read for all Americans who think we have such a horrible life and country. The strength of the women who were put through such horrors and survived even stronger is such an inspiration. Thank you for this book!

Simply Breath Taking. This book will take you back in time and the writing is absolute perfection. You will feel the emotions and highs and lows. I have shared this book with others and it’s a definite read again.

Engrossing and Moving. I found this book to be one of the best I’ve read in a very long time. I was totally engrossed in each of the three main characters lives and felt every joy and trial they encountered. At times, I had to put it down to process the distressing events that I had just read, but not for long, as I had to know if they were going to survive. With today’s ongoing world conflicts and knowing the holocaust horrors have not gone away, just taken on new identities, it was a reminder to speak up and stand up to fight crimes against humanity.

Outstanding. This book was incredible - a must read.

lIllac girls. I truly loved reading this story. The author really described the character in great realistic detail. I felt like I knew them all personally. Can't wait for another book by this author. Martha Kelly.

Should Be Required Reading for Millennials. Americans, particularly those who have never felt the true impact of war, are quick to focus on "problems" without perspective. This book brilliantly outlines what true problems are. What true suffering is. What true personal sacrifice for others is. It provides the ultimate in perspective. It reminded me once again how fortunate we are to live in the place and time we do - a truth built quietly by the Greatest Generation and our current and past service members. Our good fortune so often overlooked in a time of empty social media hysteria. In short, a must read for every American. A wonderful book like no other I have read on the subject. It eloquently and accurately transports you to both the horror and humanity of World War II. May we never return.

Best book I’ve read this year. Engaging. Based on true people. Heartfelt and the writing is sincere and hopeful despite the sad stories within. Highly recommend.

Lilac Girls. A story worth telling. They must never be forgotten!

Bravo! I loved it!. I enjoyed the history and the intersecting character story lines as well as the format. I am humbled by the amazing inner strength and resilience of the Rabbits despite the atrocities they witnessed and endured. I found Caroline’s persistence, selflessness and generosity in helping the Rabbits beyond admirable. Thank you for an incredible and powerful story!

Lilac Girls. Excellent read. Info about things I didn't know about in my historical experience. Great overall story.

Lilac Girls. Wow. This is just awesome. I finished in 2 sittings because I could not read fast enough. I wanted to read ahead to find out what happened to all the characters. Truth is really stranger, more terrifying than fiction. I would not classify as human and would not insult animals by calling the monsters in power at concentration camps animals. Freedom, democracy, and human rights should never be taken for granted, but cherished and valued. I loved this book, as difficult as it was to read some passages. Wish Caroline could be cloned and replace all corrupt leaders, required to treat everyone and animals including pigs and chickens with dignity, kindness, and respect. Kudos to the author--just outstanding book!!

One of the best books i have read. Loved his book. The three stories and how hey all live in parallel. Outstanding read!

Thought provoking. Heroic book. Parts were so disturbing that I could not sleep. I'm fearful that we have put aside the atrocities and forgotten. This is not a "light" read.

lilac girls. immersive, educational, sobering

Lilac Girls. This was deeply moving throughout. I laughed and cried and grieved along with the families torn apart and shredded during World War II. I felt like I was there as I read each page. My father, an American with half-German ancestry, flew B-17s over Germany from November 1944-April 5, 1945. He was shot down over the German countryside, and escaped to Paris as the war in Europe was ending. He shared some of the horrors he witnessed there, so this story felt very personal. Thank you for the extensive research you did to accomplish this amazing book. I shall never forget it. I was born in August 1945, long before my father was able to return home. I'm thankful to have a family reunited in love and peace. Niki Roberts Haley

Extreme violence & details in novel!. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly is a historical novel set during World War II. We get to see how the lives of three women in three different countries are affected by the war. Caroline Ferriday in New York City, Kasia Kuzmerick in Lublin, Poland, and Dr. Herta Oberheuser in Germany. This war will forever change their lives (if they make it alive to the end). Each one will experience the war differently. Come see how these three woman survive the war and what happens to them afterward. Lilac Girls is a long novel with some extreme details. This book is not for the faint of heart. There are many gruesome details about what happens at Ravensbruck (originally listed as rehabilitation camp for women). Ravensbruck was actually a concentration camp. Many women were experimented on at this camp by the doctors. These women became known as The Rabbits. It is very hard to read the details in this book. Lilac Girls contains good writing and interesting characters. The book starts out slow (making it hard to get into), but it does get much better. It is also confusing at first because it starts with Caroline (a New York socialite who devotes her time to the French Consulate), then goes to Kasia, then Herta. It then starts over again. The majority of the book is devoted to the what happens to the characters during the war and then the last section to how the war affects the rest of these women’s lives. I give Lilac Girls 3.75 out of 5 stars. This novel will stick with you long after you finish it (because of the details). The book is based on real people and incidents. I received a complimentary copy of Lilac Girls from the publisher in exchange for an honest review of the novel.

Fascinating read. Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly, is an excellent novel of historical fiction and a great read. I loved the strong women characters and the obvious research based information. I also liked the fact that a Nazi female Doctor's story was included. I would like to have read more of the relationship between Paul and Caroline after the war, but that is my only criticism of this novel.

Great book. I read the Sunflower sister and I wanted to read another about the Woosley family. This book was exciting, sad and heartfelt. The only thing I felt towards the last part is the lives of the women sped up so fast in the book.

Well written and enlightening. The author did a fantastic job bringing these characters' lives and struggles to light, and in a manner that I couldn't put the book down. The strength of the women is remarkable. Thank you for researching their stories and sharing their journey.

Couldn't put it down!. The stories would not let me sleep. One of the best books I've read in a while- the only disappointment was when I couldn't keep turning the page.

Excellent. Beyond words!

Have to read!!!. Talented author!! I can't stop thinking about these selfless women & what they went through. The author did an amazing job bringing them together. If you want to read a "can't put it down", this is the one! I will now go take care of the household chores I've put off for five days.

Lilac Girls. My gritting teeth, my stopped heart, and my gasping breath wanted to put this book down, but my hand kept turning pages.

Lilac Girls. Loved this book. This is a hard time in history to read about, displacement, war tragedy, unfair treatment, killings and so much unfairness in separation of families and properties. But all in all it is an important time to remember and pass on for future generations.

Couldn’t put it down. Wow, heartfelt and so beautifully written, I couldn’t put this book down. I can’t wait to read the next book! Following each girls story and seeing them finally intertwine was just amazing! Very well done!

Lilac Girls. Great historical novel that grabs the reader early. I have read a few WWII novels and this is the first one that portrays what European, female physicians were faced with. Very graphic at times, not for the weak stomach. A recommend read.

Lovely, heartfelt, extremely engaging!. Incredible, gripping, unforgettable story... I could hardly put it down. There were, however, a few things that annoyed me throughout. I've lost count of how many times the author uses the word "bosom", or gave the meaning of a character's name in order to make a point about their personality. Caroline's relationship with Paul was unconvincing and difficult to like, and her role in the bigger story seemed pointless for at least the first 300 pages. Although each chapter is told from a different character's point of view, the speaking style were are awfully similar, so that it's obvious that the author is writing in their place. I was expecting each character to have their own unique voice, as is accurate if one were to read their diaries. There are times where author introduces a character who has already been introduced a few pages before... and if she forgot that she had already done so. A times the setting, characters' clothes, and speaking style was not in line with that of the war-time era. And last but not least, I think that starting the book with Caroline in NYC was a weak start, because Kasia's and Herta's stories were far more attention-grabbing.

Riveting!. This story of this camp in particular and what it did to these human sacrificial lambs, called the "rabbits" was completely news to me. I had never heard of their plight and will forever more be grateful that I now have. Heartbreaking and utterly unimaginable to think that this actually happened. The author did a superb job in telling their story and of their heroine Caroline. What a life well lived with her tenacity with human rights and finding justice for these women.

The lilac girls. Totally mesmerizing. Readable and thought provoking. Will stay with me forever. Brought to life a very sad time in Europe History and specially Poland and World War 2 Germany and France. Excellent .

Lilac girls. Must read

GREAT READ. Excellent! Couldn’t stop reading!

SO Good!!. Lilac Girls was a wonderful book. The author made you feel like you were with the girls every step of the way. Plus the fact that many of the events are true always attracts me. It was one of the books that you try to slow down because you are savoring it.

Compelling. Who knew? Yes, I know about so many evils of WWII but not this one. Like so many others, I couldn't put it down. This was a very important presentation and the information needs to be made more prominent among the other horrors of that time. And, the question that I ask myself and others, "What would you have done?" No easy answer there.

Lilac Girls. As someone who has seen man's inhumanity to man first hand, this book shows the contrast between a few evil people who can dominate a country and a culture, and the many good people it takes to overpower such evil. As someone who has spent so much time in Germany and come to love the people and culture, I know good people must be vigilant, or evil will prevail. This story is well presented and well written. How can I say I loved such a story? I guess I can say I loved the power of the characters and the goodness of a few.

Lilac Girls. Drudgery to read. Eventually stopped 3/4 thru. Maybe it was the way the characters & story lines were so broken up. I found it difficult to follow & keep my interest.

The women of Ravensbrück. I was mesmerized by this book, and the totally different stories of each woman involved in the only Nazi concentration camp for females. I found the writing to be intelligent and expressive, without sentimentality but with great insight.

Lilac Girls. Wonderful, well written debut novel that draws you in with each chapter. A mostly female centered book,the characters are strong, resilient and powerfully human. I knew nothing about the subject (the surgery experiments on women political prisoners) prior to reading this book and author Martha Hall Kelly does a fabulous job with the subject. A great read.

The Lilac Girls. I loved every page of this book. Very well written. Very compelling and enlightening.

A great read. I would recommend this book to all who like to especially read historical fiction. It really impacts you and your emotions. My heart is heavy but appreciate the efforts involved with this writing.

To the author and publisher. Loved the book while reading I learned a lot about Ravensbrück. But the name? You would think Herta is among the Lilac girls and she is not. She was devil.

Characters hard to keep track of. I found myself confused as to who was who.

Riveting. So well written and a story that I wasn't familiar with. Telling it from three different perspectives created such compelling storytelling. Definitely tough to read in places, but I really loved it. The ending was a everything. Keep a hanky handy! Make sure to read the Afterward written by the author. Wraps things up very well.

Moving. This is one of my all time favorite books. I fell in love with the characters and was moved by their story lines.

The Lilac Girls. A must read!

An Absolutely Compelling story!. Normally, I don’t care for novels that bounce between their characters, but this is an exception. Well-written stories; captivating characters; a book I won’t soon forget. Thank you for this incredible story. I hope to visit The Hay in spring!

Wow!. Slow to start but then it was difficult to put down.

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Loved it. Loved it! I would have taken at least another 1000 pages... Good historical book! Thanks a lot

Powerful and moving. A story told of concentration camps, love and life from different viewpoints. Some parts disturbing but necessary to fully understand the significance of the plot. A great read.

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Summary of Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

The Lilac Girls book written by Martha Hall Kelly was published on 05 April 2016, Tuesday in the Historical category. A total of 3,308 readers of the book gave the book 4.5 points out of 5.

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