The little town of Bethehem has a former residence and museum dedicated to a real life heronie of WWII that you've never heard of: Caroline Ferriday. She was a beautiful New York socialite and actress who made a departure from her glamorous lifestyle to support an unfortunate group of women known as The Rabbits. They were singled out for experimentation in an all female concentration camp. Tragic story for sure, but also very inspirational and well worth your reading time. Book club members will want to combine a discussion of the book with a trip to the musuem in Bethehem.
April 2016 Indie Next List
“Lilac Girls is a powerful and moving debut told through the voices of three women during World War II. Caroline is a New York socialite working at the French consulate and sending care packages to French orphans. Kasia, a young Polish girl, is arrested for helping the underground resistance and sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. Herta is the only female German surgeon stationed at Ravensbruck. The way these three women's lives intersect both during and after the war will grip you and tug at your heartstrings. I would recommend this to anyone who loved Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale.”
— Melissa Law (W), Island Bookstore, Corolla, NC
"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 powerful debut novel reveals an incredible story of love, redemption, and terrible 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 Ravensbruck, 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. In "Lilac Girls, " Martha Hall Kelly has crafted a remarkable novel of unsung women and their quest for love, freedom, and second chances. It is a story that will keep readers bonded with the characters, searching for the truth, until the final pages. "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 Ravensbruck. "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.
About the Author
Martha Hall Kelly is a native New Englander now living in Atlanta, Georgia, where she s writing the prequel to "Lilac Girls." This is her first novel."