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Girl Well Read

Developmental Editor by day, Book Blogger by night.

Lilac Girls

Lilac Girls - Martha Hall Kelly

A special thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This historical fiction novel is about Ravensbruck, the concentration camp that conducted horrific medical experimental on young, healthy, Polish women. The story is told by three separate narrators and spans two decades from the onset of Hitler invading Poland in 1939 through to 1959.

Caroline Ferriday is a former actress from a wealthy and predominant family who is working with the French Consulate in New York City.

Kasia, along with her mother and sister, have been caught working for the underground resistance in Poland. They are sent to Ravensbruck and are subjected to torturous experiments. These women were called 'rabbits' because they would hop about on their healthy leg, and they were the Nazi's experimental 'rabbits'.

Herta Oberheuser is a young German doctor, the only female physician at Ravensbruck. She is part of the group of doctors responsible for the horrific experiments performed on the Polish women with the goal of learning how to best heal the German soldiers.

The stories do not converge until after the war—Caroline's narrative is completely separate from Herta and Kasia's and I thought this was very effective. Caroline seeks out the 'rabbits', bringing many of them to the U.S. where they were operated on with success to correct some of the prolonged effects they were experiencing.

I really enjoyed Hall Kelly's author's note at the end of the book. Her research is incredibly impressive and thorough. This provides the reader with a deeper understanding and connection with the characters, especially when you find out that they actually existed.