#BookReview – The Lilac Girls by Martha Kelly #buddyread

28009835On the eve of a fateful war, 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 sinks deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspect neighbours, one false move can have dire consequences.

For ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. But, once hired, 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 female-only Nazi concentration camp. The tragedy and triumph of their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, and Germany to Poland—capturing the indomitable pull of compassion to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

My Review

I’ve really struggled with how to write this review because I can’t put my finger on how I feel about it. I actually started out with the audiobook, but didn’t like all of the narrators so changed to the kindle book quite near the beginning.

I’m so glad that I read this as a buddy read with Yvo@It’s all About Books as I’m not sure I would’ve been able to finish it otherwise. It was good being able to message each other as we read the horrendous chapters set in Ravensbruck, the women’s concentration camp. I’ve read a quite a few books set during WW2 and I think these were some of the most barbaric scenes I’ve read.

I found Caroline’s point of view interesting and to be honest bit strange, until the latter part of the book when it all becomes clear what her involvement is. Personally I would’ve preferred the author’s historical note about her at the beginning of the book, so I knew exactly why she was part of the story.

Herta, the German doctor’s point of view was rather flat to me and lacked depth. I’m not sure if the author was just trying to show how dedicated she was to the regime, or how hard it was for women to be recognised in the medical field at that time.

Kasia’s the character I was most drawn to most because she seemed far more real than the other characters. She was very young and had to deal with the most horrendous situations in the story.

Also the cover makes me feel uncomfortable, as it looks like a lovely story about about three women, a bit misleading, plus the lilacs where hardly mentioned.

My overall impression is that there are better books set during the Holocaust, particularly The Pianist by Szpilman Wladyslaw and The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28 thoughts on “#BookReview – The Lilac Girls by Martha Kelly #buddyread

Add yours

      1. That doesn’t matter though, it is your view and what you thought about it. This honesty about a book is what makes you a great book blogger xx

  1. It’s tough to review books you feel conflicted about, isn’t it? You did a great job of explaining why you felt the way you did, though. Great review!

  2. I’m so glad I was able to buddyread this title with you! I would probably have had a completely different experience otherwise… The messages were very welcome breaks from the heavy chapters. I do agree this is one of the most brutal WWII stories I’ve read so far… And isn’t it quite funny that the only character we really connected to (Kasia) is the only one who wasn’t actually based on a real person?? I just realized that haha.

    I completely agree with The Pianist being a better WWII holocaust story by the way. As is The Tattooist Of Auschwitz, Schindler’s List, The Diary Of Anne Frank, The Boy In The Striped Pajamas to name a few. And talking about WWII in general, From Sand And Ash, All The Light We Cannot See, The Nightingale and Between Shades Of Gray can’t be missing (I feel I’m forgetting about titles though).

  3. Great review Nicki, I like WWII stories but I wasn’t sure already with the cover which doesn’t make me think of WWII but I hear it’s heavier than you would think. It’s a bit disappointing if you don’t feel the connection with a main character though so I think I’m going to follow you and read another story about this era first 🙂

  4. Great review and ahoy for buddy reads! It does help keep the reading a bit more on track or something…
    Going by your thoughts, I think I would really struggle with the heavy scenes… i used to be able to sponge these up- I must have been on a journey to see life and reality and history for what it was, but every now and again, there’s only so much you can take… I wonder what is it with the lilacs though? Is it something of a symbolism?

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