Book Review: Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

af81653e-dbae-4c67-91d3-b18efc774366“Turning oneself to the misfortunes of others is the best way to dispense with personal troubles. Hadn’t Lord Byron himself said, “The busy have no time for tears”? – Martha Hall Kelly, Lilac Girls

So, when I said I wanted to keep writing on this blog, I didn’t think that I would use it for writing about books that I am reading. Well, I think that is a good way for me to keep this blog going as well as getting to share reviews of books that I read. I will still use it for general musings about life and school, but I feel like integrating books into it is a great idea also, since reading is a part of education and reading and writing go together and this blog was created for that purpose…okay, now I am just rambling. I hope, if anyone is still reading these, that they learn a little something and perhaps decide to start reading some of the books that I post about. So, without furher ado, here is the review of the book I just finished reading.

One of my favorite book genres (and the majority of the books that I read) is Historical Fiction. I love the stories and how the authors are able to insert many factual events into them. Some are entirely fiction story and plot wise, but the time periods and locations are not. So, it is always interesting to have the mix of both fact and fiction. In the case of Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, we see just that. She spent years researching about these women who were used as human rabbits to be experimented on during the Holocaust and the woman who helped them get the treatment they needed, Caroline Ferriday. This story had not been told before and I am so happy that it has been now and in such a beatuiful way.

I love the romance we see between Caroline and Paul and how, while in the end it does not work out, they remain friends. Also the love between Kasia and Pietrik. And sisterly love. It’s all made so realisitic and relatable. Even though there were horrible circumstances involved, Kasia goes through all the emotions that any person would going through a trauma like that. Herta Oberhouser, I do not understand how she could participate in those sulfanamide experiments. Maybe because she agreed with it. Maybe she did want Germany to be the way Hitler envisioned, but the fact that she could even bring herself to be a part of any of it, is hard to fathom. I also love the symbolism of the lilacs and I wasn’t sure when I was reading why that was title, but once I found out, I thought it was so beautiful and fitting to the story.

While two of the characters were real people (Caroline and Herta) Kasia was based on a real polish person who was a prisoner in the Ravensbruck camp. So, the way she was able to bring them to life based off the research she found was great storytelling on her part and it’s her debut novel! I wanted to read this book as soon as a found it, but since it takes me a while to get through books I had to finish some others first. I am sad to be finished, but happy to be able to share it with everyone. So, for people who are fans of history, World War II, strong female characters, and causes that matter, this book is for you. I literally just recommend it anyway because you won’t be disappointed.

(I tried to keep the spoilers to a minimum since people might not want to know everything that happens and wants to read for themselves).

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