Book Review: Lilac Girls

I read genres across the board, but the past couple of years I’ve been stuck on WW II historical fiction.  The obsession is real. So real that I have a ton of other books to yet to be read (an entire bookcase actually…plus what’s on my Kindle…oh crap), but I keep pushing them aside when I find another book in my current wheelhouse.  Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly fell into my lap (literally, thanks to my librarian momma) and I’m so glad that it did…I’ll get to you eventually, bookcase!


Lilac Girls is…not what it seems. Yes, the description will tell you that it’s about three women, battling through the war in three very different ways and that’s true, but Lilac Girls? It sounds slightly lighthearted, no? No.

This book tells the real story (two characters are based on actual women, names and all) facing impossible, harrowing situations.  Kasia, a Polish teenager, suffers the war in Ravensbruck, one of Hitler’s cruelest concentration camps; Caroline, a New York socialite works tirelessly for French orphans and victims of the concentration camps and Herta, one of Germany’s only female doctors, is trapped in a violent, evil web of Nazism.

Kelly’s storytelling is impeccable and her writing style is intelligent, but easy to navigate. This is her first novel and I can’t wait until she writes another.

I can’t say I connected with all of the characters (Herta and I aren’t exactly on the same plane), but I was enthralled by all of them.  I know this book is right up my alley, but I think it’s an excellent story for anyone read- especially women.

If you do read Lilac Girls I hope you enjoy it and learn something from it – I know I did.  Happy reading and please let me know what you think!  Next up for me is Early Warning, by Jane Smiley.  If you want to check out my Goodreads profile for previous reviews, you can find it here, and if you missed my Summer Reading List, check here.

Review Details:

Title – Lilac Girls

Author – Martha Hall Kelly

Available Here

Read if you liked: The Nightingale, Schindler’s List, Sarah’s Key

My Rating – 4.5 (out of 5)


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