Lilac Girls - Martha Hall Kelly

Lilac Girls

By Martha Hall Kelly

  • Release Date: 2016-04-05
  • Genre: Historical
Score: 4.5
From 2,383 Ratings

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For readers of The Nightingale and Sarah’s Key, 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.

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

“Harrowing . . . Lilac illuminates.”People

“A compelling, page-turning narrative . . . Lilac Girls falls squarely into the groundbreaking category of fiction that re-examines history from a fresh, female point of view. It’s smart, thoughtful and also just an old-fashioned good read.”Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“A powerful story for readers everywhere . . . Martha Hall Kelly has brought readers a firsthand glimpse into one of history’s most frightening memories. A novel that brings to life what these women and many others suffered. . . . I was moved to tears.”San Francisco Book Review

“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)

“[A] compelling first novel . . . This is a page-turner demonstrating the tests and triumphs civilians faced during war, complemented by Kelly’s vivid depiction of history and excellent characters.”Publishers Weekly

“Kelly vividly re-creates the world of Ravensbrück.”Kirkus Reviews

“Inspired by actual events and real people, Martha Hall Kelly has woven together the stories of three women during World War II that reveal the bravery, cowardice, and cruelty of those days. This is a part of history—women’s history—that should never be forgotten.”—Lisa See, New York Times bestselling author of China Dolls

“Profound, unsettling, and thoroughly . . . the best book I’ve read all year.”—Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet


  • Characters hard to keep track of

    By Lucky Lola
    I found myself confused as to who was who.
  • Couldn’t put it down

    By brian.demo
    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!
  • Moving

    By Peonies+Magnokia
    This is one of my all time favorite books. I fell in love with the characters and was moved by their story lines.
  • Simply Breath Taking

    By cwat817
    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.
  • Excellent

    By Dandee13
    Beyond words!
  • The Lilac Girls

    By Bamacybrmom
    I loved every page of this book. Very well written. Very compelling and enlightening.
  • lilac girls

    By rthomas hughes
    immersive, educational, sobering
  • The women of Ravensbrück

    By Joanabake
    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

    By Done forever
    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.
  • Compelling

    By Vice Dean
    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.