This book review is on the Books & Broads Book Club August book choice: The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. I must start off with the disclosure I have told you many times before, Dear Bloggites, I dislike reading war books, no matter the subject of the book, if it involves war, I can almost guarantee I won’t care for it (7 out of 10 times). With that being said, (or written), here goes.
The Lilac Girls follow three different women during the invasion of Germany and into WWII. The three ladies are: Caroline Ferriday, an America socialite living in New York; Kasia Kuzmerick, A Polish teenager; and Herta Oberheuser, a young German doctor. Caroline is a New York socialite who becomes involved with a French actor that is married. Kasia lives a standard teenage life in Poland hanging out with her friends. Herta is an up-and-coming female doctor trying to make her way in the world of only male doctors. Once Germany invades Poland, the three lives are thrown into a whirlwind of fate that will ultimately cause their lives to cross in the most unexpected way.
Premise sounds really good, right? You would think this was an exciting book to read and delve into, yes? NO! NO! NO! I was so beat down by this book and the war, yet again, as it went along. Martha Hall Kelly writes the book from each point of view alternating chapters and it is written in first person (don’t get me started). Now, the first person, I get (begrudgingly) because it allows the reader to fully engage in each woman’s personal life and thoughts on the world around them.
The downfall of the alternating points of view is that the author lost her rotation and you went from reading one woman, to the next woman, then the third balancing the alternation to reading one woman, to reading the next woman, then the next woman again, then finally the third. This messed up alternation of chapters can confuse and break the reader’s engagement in the storyline.
The author did a good job in really ensuring her historical facts were correct and did give a disclosure on what was true events versus her freedom of imagination in the book. I did appreciate that disclosure because so many times people will take great freedom with the facts of a historical work they are writing, that the reader, if unfamiliar with the time period, may actually believe all the events in the book are real.
If you are a historical fiction fan or a WWII fan or are fascinated with Hitler’s reign, this book is for you, but if not, I do not recommend you reading it.
I give The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly 2 out of 5 Bookmarks. Happy Reading! 🙂