Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Review: Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly (audio)

Title: Lilac Girls
Author: Martha Hall Kelly
Series: Lilac Girls, #1
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell, Kathleen Gati, Kathrin Kana, Martha Hall Kelly
Published: Audio - April 2016, Random House Audio / Print - February 2017, Ballantine Books
Length: 17 hours 30 minutes / Paperback, 502 pages
Source: Audio - Library / Print - Personal copy

Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this debut novel reveals a story of love, redemption, and secrets that were hidden for decades.
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.

My thoughts: This book had been sitting on my shelf for quite some time and it wasn't until I joined the Barnes and Noble book club and they announced Lost Roses as their April book club pick that I finally had the impetuous to read it. If you know me at all, you know I'm a little particular about reading books in the order the author wrote them, so while I know these books aren't a series per say, I just felt I should read Lilac Girls first and I'm glad I did...especially knowing a third book is in the works!

I absolutely loved this book...I was captivated by the three story lines and even though horrific events occur at times during this story, it's still a powerful, memorable book - one that is based on real people and real events. As I've said before and I will say again, this is why I love reading historical fiction - I find it so fascinating learning about all these people and what they endured. I had never heard about "the rabbit's" during the war. Why not? We learned about the war in school and I even remember taking a history class in college about this specific time period and yet this topic has never come up? And that professor was amazing - he was one of the better ones that really sparked great conversations and had awesome primary source materials to show us, but never once did this subject come up? Why is that?

I particularly loved how with the way the story was told, alternating between the three points of view, we would at times get little cliff-hangers. While I was equally invested in all three points of view, I would be so eager to get back to where we had just been to find out what was going to happen next each time this happened!

This is the type of book that will stay with you for a long time. Yes, there are parts that are hard to hear, but we can't put our heads in the sand because we don't want to know about it. History is such an important part of how we learn and grow and it's people like Caroline Ferriday and Kasia Kuzmerick, and even Herta Oberheuser that need their stories told. We need the good, the bad and even the ugly to help us move forward in hopefully a better way. Read this story if you haven't already and just know it will be an emotional and heart-wrenching story.

Audio thoughts: I did a combination of print and audio with this book and let me tell you, the audio is fantastic! The three narrators were excellent, each one narrating the separate sections, giving voice to each of the three main characters. I was familiar with two of the narrators - Cassandra Campbell and Kathleen Gati (love her on General Hospital, but first time listening to her as a narrator) but Kathrin Kana was new to me. They all did a fantastic job bringing their character to life, bringing out just the right emotion as needed, and at times, it was quite emotional and raw. At times, I would go back to reread what I listened to because I needed to see the words in print. This was a fantastic audio production and if you don't mind the length, I highly recommend listening.


1 comment

  1. I'm so glad to see that you enjoyed the audio. I used an audible credit on this one but haven't listened to it yet. This looks great!


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