Lilac Girls is set during World War II and tells the stories of three women around the world. The first, Caroline, is an American working in the French consulate in New York City. The next, Kaisa, is a Polish teenager working for the underground resistance who is arrested and sent to a German concentration camp. The last, Herta, is a German doctor who becomes involved with the camps.
I’ve read many books set during World War II and am both fascinated and horrified by the stories, but this is one of the only books I’ve come across that extends so far after the war. By continuing the story more than a decade after the war ended, we were able to see the effects of the war on world.
It was really interesting to read these different perspectives of the war, especially as their stories began to intertwine. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. On the other hand, because there were three separate points of view, the writing felt a bit choppy in the beginning.
Caroline, the character from New York City, really frustrated me at times as well. She was incredibly stubborn when it came to her love interest and pushed him away after all they had been through, causing them to both be unhappy. The person who this character is based on, Caroline Ferriday, played a huge role in helping survivors of the concentration camps and I wish the book and given more emphasis on the impact she had.
A few quotes that I marked while reading:
“I was free of spending my life pleasing them, free to go it alone.”
“’Everyone steals from everyone now. Goods belong to those who can hold onto them.’”
“…the war was officially over, I did not rejoice. The war continued for us, just under a different dictator, Stalin.”
“How nice is its, when one’s own reputation is damaged, to hear of others’ misfortunes.”
Lilac Girls is a great book and I definitely recommend it, especially for historical fiction fans!