Based on the true story of a New York socialite who championed a group of concentration camp survivors known as the Rabbits, this acclaimed debut novel reveals a story of love, redemption, and terrible secrets that were hidden for decades.
Lilac Girls follows the three stories of Caroline, Kasia, and Herta as they navigate the perils of WWII era life. The novel weaves together accounts from three perspectives – Polish, German, and American – each girl has a different experience, but all are connected and affected by the atrocities of the war.
Kasia becomes a courier for the underground resistance in Poland, and is ultimately captured and taken to Ravensbrück, the concentration camp for women, where she endures unthinkable horrors. She crosses paths with Caroline, who uses her social standing to help young women rescued from Hitlers concentration camps.
“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
The novel is historical fiction, based on the true story of 72 Polish women who were imprisoned and experimented on at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp and how Caroline Ferriday, an American philanthropist and former actress brought them to the U.S. for rehabilitation and the trip of a lifetime. The author spent 10 years researching the story of Caroline, to bring us an accurate account of her story.
Find resources related to the novel here, including blog posts, videos, and detailed illustrated maps of the Rabbit’s Journey, Caroline’s New York, and Kasia’s Dublin (respectively, below).
At my high school, the holocaust was taught as a theme, woven throughout our History and English courses throughout the year. We read Night, and were lucky enough to have Elie Weisel visit our campus to speak with us. The holocaust was a horrible chapter of our recent past that cannot be forgotten. We must learn from the past in order that we do not repeat our mistakes. This book not only brings awareness to the atrocities of Hitler’s WWII Nazi Party, but hopefully reminds us that we must always fight for justice. We have seen genocides even today, (such as Darfur, Cambodia, Rawanda…), we cannot allow such violence. Peace must prevail. We must keep writing, reading and sharing these horrifying historical accounts so that we may learn from them, and never let them happen again.
*I borrowed this book from a Little Free Library.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’m an author and native New Englander, still pinching myself since my debut novel Lilac Girls, became a New York Times bestseller the week it was published in April 2016. The novel is historical fiction, based on the true story of 72 Polish women who were imprisoned and experimented on at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp and how Caroline Ferriday, an American philanthropist and former actress brought them to the U.S. for rehabilitation and the trip of a lifetime. I have been researching the story for over ten years and am excited beyond belief to finally share it with the world.
One Reply to “Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly”
My mother-in-law recently passed this book along to me, and I cannot wait to read it. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is another great WWII fiction novel. It had such an amazing impact on me and opened me up to a new genre of fiction that I couldn’t connect with before.
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