Marilyn C.'s Reviews > Lilac Girls

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
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it was amazing
bookshelves: read-in-2016

Do not let the idyllic cover of this book fool you; three girls, arm in arm, having a leisurely stroll together. This book is about Ravensbruck, a women's concentration camp located in northern Germany, during World War II. Over 130,000 women went through this camp with the majority never leaving: dying from disease, starvation or execution. These women were also subjected to grotesque experiments that would leave them disfigured, sterilized or dead. They would become known as the Ravensbruck rabbits.

Martha Hall Kelly's debut novel is eye opening and disturbing to read at times. The book alternates between three stories, Caroline Ferriday, Herta Oberheuser, and Kasia Kuzmerick. Two of those stories, Caroline's and Herta's, are based on real people. I found the beginning of the book with the alternating stories to be distracting and a little confusing at times. There is a wonderful thread of sisterhood and friendship in this story. With everything and everyone that was taken from them, all these women had were each other.

Although, it is difficult to read about the atrocities that happened during the Holocaust, this book is a must read for everyone. 4.5 Stars rounded up to 5 Stars
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Reading Progress

June 12, 2016 – Started Reading
June 12, 2016 – Shelved
June 15, 2016 – Finished Reading
June 16, 2016 – Shelved as: read-in-2016

Comments Showing 1-21 of 21 (21 new)

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message 1: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Masterson Great review, Marilyn! :)


Marilyn C. Thanks, Jennifer!


Karen Great review! I loved it!


Marilyn C. Thank you, Karen!


message 5: by Jen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jen Terrific review-and I gotta agree with that rating.


Marilyn C. Thank you, Jen!!


message 7: by Dana (new)

Dana Great review! I hope to read it this summer.


message 8: by Liz (new) - added it

Liz Marilyn, thank you for this lovely and honest review! It's on my list and I'm looking forward to it and a bit nervous at the same time. It seems to me that, like you said, it's something that should be read.


message 9: by Sinéad (new) - added it

Sinéad Might have to bump this up my reading list! Great review Marilyn ☺


Marilyn C. Thank you, Stephanie, Dana, and Sinead!


Marilyn C. Liz wrote: "Marilyn, thank you for this lovely and honest review! It's on my list and I'm looking forward to it and a bit nervous at the same time. It seems to me that, like you said, it's something that shoul..."

Thank you, Liz!
I have always felt these stories need to be heard and I personally did not know much about the Ravensbruck rabbits. Not all of the book is a complete downer, Caroline Ferriday's character is based in NYC and her focus is on helping the war torn country of France.


message 12: by Rae (new)

Rae Meadows Excellent, Marilyn--thanks for the review!


Marilyn C. Thank you, Rae!


message 14: by Candace (new) - added it

Candace Great review, Marilyn! :)


Marilyn C. Thanks, Candace!


message 16: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Great review of an important book, Marilyn!


Marilyn C. Thank you, Deanna!


message 18: by Carol (new)

Carol Marilyn, your review rings true for me with one exception. Just as movies have ratings for violence, nudity, drug use, language, etc., I would like novels to have a similar notice. Yes, I realize that most likely every WWII novel about the atrocities of war will feature [necessary] graphic descriptions. I love the author's style, but I have to say, I'm over reading about murder, implied and overt violence, and the fall-out of those who lived the events. Maybe my brain is saturated from decades of reading/watching/hearing about those issues. I wonder if others have similar realizations and a change in reading preference.


message 19: by Jean (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jean Good review, Marilyn. This is one facet of the war that we don't hear about, and I thought it was well researched.


Marilyn C. Jean wrote: "Good review, Marilyn. This is one facet of the war that we don't hear about, and I thought it was well researched."

Thank you, Jean and I agree!


Marilyn C. Carol wrote: "Marilyn, your review rings true for me with one exception. Just as movies have ratings for violence, nudity, drug use, language, etc., I would like novels to have a similar notice. Yes, I realize t..."

This book has graphic descriptions of the events that took place but I do not think Martha Hall Kelly went overboard on the subject matter. I really enjoyed this book and feel the need to read about theses events that took place no matter how difficult they are.


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