Lilac Girls - Martha Hall Kelly

Lilac Girls

By Martha Hall Kelly

  • Release Date: 2016-04-05
  • Genre: Historical
Score: 4.5
From 468 Ratings


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


  • Lilac Girls

    By Artymusician
    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!!
  • Lilac Girls

    By Bobo111213
    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.
  • SO Good!!

    By Bevmae
    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.
  • Lilac Girls

    By Perky too
    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.
  • The Lilic Girls

    By KAT Graves
    Thank you for this very moving book. It was very hard to at times. It brought tears to my eyes more than once. It was heart braking to read what these young girls went thru. We all know there human monsters in this world, but Hitler was evil to the core! Stories like this need to be told, so this will never happen again. God Bless those who were apart of this horrible time in history.
  • Have to read!!!

    By Orcamom
    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

    By Ruru3711
    Excellent read. Info about things I didn't know about in my historical experience. Great overall story.
  • Lilac Girls

    By Happysheller
    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
  • Couldn't put it down!

    By KellyMorrow
    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.
  • The lilac girls

    By Cathietk
    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 .