Three seemingly unrelated stories of women surviving the war – an American actress and charity worker, a Polish teenage underground spy taken to Ravensbruck, and a German doctor involved in the medical experimentation on concentration camp prisoners. Their stories, of course, intertwine and these compelling characters stayed with me for a long time. 📖 "These ‘lucky’ women often had lost everything. Their husbands and children. Their homes. To make matters worse, the French government focused on the men who had returned, military men especially, but any males who’d survived the war. Somehow the returning women were afterthought." [994/1381] ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ #bookstagram#bookish#booklove#currentlyreading#igbooks#igread#Instaread#whatshouldireadnext#modernmrsdarcy#lilacgirls#WomenInWWII#WWIIWomen
12 days left before our #BNBookClub meeting to discuss our #AprilPick , @marthahallkelly1’s #LostRoses . The book follows Eliza, the mother of #LilacGirls ’ heroine, and three equally indomitable women from St. Petersburg to Paris under the shadow of WW1.
Listen to our #BNPodcast in which Martha Hall Kelly talks about the inspiration behind her latest #BNBestseller at https://bit.ly/2IDTsWH, and sign up for your spot in the discussion on May 7th at 7pm at https://bit.ly/2ZwGmzv.
0 915 hours ago
Lilac Girls Book Club Discussion
How did everyone do on their reading? Hopefully you've all finished by now or are close to it! I couldn't put it down while reading so I actually finished in early March! I was fascinated by all of the different perspectives on World War 2 that I had never read about before. Caroline's life, the story of "the rabbits," what happened at Ravensbruck, and Herta's storyline were all new to me.
Discussion Questions (found at the back of the book!) See my answers in the comments.
1. As Caroline becomes more invested in her work with the French Families Fund, and eventually with the Rabbits, did you feel that she changes in any way?
2. Did you find Herta to be a sympathetic character? Why or why not?
3. What did you find most shocking or interesting about the book? #lilacgirls#lilacgirlsnovel#instabook#instabookclub#bookclubofinstagram#bookclubdiscussion#raisingcuriousmindsbookclub#bookstagram
Each April, around this time, a ceremony is held at Ravensbrück to commemorate the anniversary of the liberation of the camp, which is officially recognized as April 30, 1945: the day the Soviet Army arrived and liberated the last prisoners. Survivors and their families come to the site of the former camp, now a memorial and museum, to remember and reflect. They participate in religious ceremonies of all traditions. They sing songs in different languages and carry flags of over 30 countries. They light candles. They lay wreaths. And they throw roses into the beautiful lake just outside the camp walls.
It’s a moving and memorable display of mourning: hundreds of roses bobbing gently on top of the water. At the bottom of the lake lies the ashes of thousands of women who were murdered at the camp and cremated in the small crematorium that still stands just steps away from the water’s edge.
We were there last April thanks to many of you and your generous donations that helped fund our trip. We were able to film the ceremony and interviews with survivors and gather important archival material from the museum.
Now, as we are beginning post-production, we once again need your help to make it happen. It’s an incredible privilege to document these stories, and we could not do it without your support.
We are thrilled to have already raised more than half of the money we need! You all are amazing. If you’ve already given, thank you! If you’ve been thinking about giving, now is the time! Your dollar will be matched by our grant. And please continue to share our film and the story of the Rabbits with everyone you know. @rememberravensbruck#rememberravensbruck 📷: @the.storyographer
1 5121 hours ago
I’m probably one of the only people that hasn’t read the Lilac Girls (lilacs are my favorite what am I even doing!?) but I’m diving into the Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly. It’s the Barnes and Noble pick for May and I’m loving it so far.
I’m not going to lie, I’m also listening to Winter Cottage by Mary Ellen Taylor which is also about a rich family in 1916 - it’s taking a lot of brain power to keep the two straight😂
You all know that I gush over every author I meet. I couldn’t count the number of talks and signings I’ve been to if I tried and I’ve never disliked a single one. Please don’t let the normalcy of my enthusiasm take away from what I have to say about #MarthaHallKelly because last night’s event was like the best one I’ve ever attended on steroids. It was about a hundred steps above and beyond anything I’ve been to in the longest time. @marthahallkelly is every bit as wonderful as her books, which is saying something because I’d read this lady’s grocery list, you guys. She has been one of my favorite writers for quite some time. I consider #LilacGirls the best book about #WorldWar2 ever written. She’s kind, she’s genuine, and she’s fascinating. I was completely blown away. I’ve yet to master the art of not bumbling like an idiot when I meet these big, important people but I could’ve sat and talked with her all night. And get this - after she generously gave my mom, my friend, and I a good deal of her time, SHE wanted a picture with ME. What is life? I was floored and so so honored. There are still several more events on her tour. If she’s coming anywhere near you, I couldn’t recommend going to see her more highly. Whether you get to meet her or not, you should run, don’t walk, to pick up a copy of #LostRoses (no. 3 on #NYT this week!). I was lucky enough to read it early and it is every bit as special as her debut. Already looking forward to her next book and everything that follows it! #bookstagram#booksbooksbooks#bibliophile#signedbook#signedcopy#booksigning
I somehow got on a kick of reading books set around World War II focused on the experiences of women. Spies, mothers, fighter pilots, sisters, artists, soldiers, secretaries, daughters, and above all, survivors. Here are eight titles about women’s experiences during WWII. (My descriptions below.) 📖 We Were the Lucky Ones (Georgia Hunter) This one doesn’t focus only on women—the focus is on one Polish Jewish family who are scattered across the globe during the war— Siberia, Persia, Poland, France, Brazil, and the United States. I’m beginning the list with this one because it’s my favorite book on this list. [TV show in the works!] 📖 The Women in the Castle (Jessica Shattuck) The story of three widows following WWII – lead by Marianne, a resister whose husband was murdered in the failed plot to assassinate Hitler and who promised to find and protect the wives of other resisters and their children. Set in a crumbling Bavarian castle and told partially through flashbacks to the war this book is full of beautiful prose and takes a long view of well before and well after the war. 📖 The Huntress (Kate Quinn) I’m reading this gorgeous book right now – three intersecting storylines of three very different women. A young American photographer living in post-WWII Boston, a former Nazi rumored to be a murderer (“The Huntress”), and (my favorite) a Soviet fighter pilot “Night Witch” who flew 616 night bomber missions to destroy Hitler’s eastern front. Their stories parallel and intersect in a split time/perspective approach that is fun and exciting. 📖 Lilac Girls (Martha Hall Kelly) Three seemingly unrelated stories of women surviving the war – an American actress and charity worker, a Polish teenage underground spy taken to Ravensbruck, and a German doctor involved in the medical experimentation on concentration camp prisoners. Their stories, of course, intertwine and these compelling characters stayed with me for a long time. 📚 continued in comments!! #BooksOnWWIIWomen#WWIIWomenBooks
1 924 April, 2019
So usually, I’m not into historical fiction all that much. I heard everyone raving about this so I decided to pick it up, but I wasn’t expecting much from it.
HOLY COW though y’all. This is probably my favorite book I’ve read so far this year. It felt so real, and the story broke my heart time and time again. The women of this story have very real flaws but who are powerful, enduring, and loving in the best way they can be. The perspectives were so genuine; my only wish is that we heard from Herta a bit more. But I totally understand why an author wouldn’t want to venture too far inside her head.
What are you guys reading right now??
What’s your favorite historical fiction book? There are so many great historical fiction books out there! It’s tough to choose just one but one of my favorites is Lilac Girls. It was a really well done historical fiction book without all the excessive romance. What’s with me and romance these days?! Lately it’s been annoying me 😅. I’m not a grinch, promise! I love me a good romantic book but I also appreciate it when a books is great without it. .
Thank you so much @randomhouse for gifting me this arc. This is a prequel to Lilac Girls and it’s out now if you’re interested! .
It is 1914, and the world has been on the brink of war so often, many New Yorkers treat the subject with only passing interest. Eliza Ferriday is thrilled to be traveling to St. Petersburg with Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanovs. The two met years ago one summer in Paris and became close confidantes. Now Eliza embarks on the trip of a lifetime, home with Sofya to see the splendors of Russia: the church with the interior covered in jeweled mosaics, the Rembrandts at the tsar’s Winter Palace, the famous ballet. .
But when Austria declares war on Serbia and Russia’s imperial dynasty begins to fall, Eliza escapes back to America, while Sofya and her family flee to their country estate. In need of domestic help, they hire the local fortune-teller’s daughter, Varinka, unknowingly bringing intense danger into their household.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Eliza is doing her part to help the White Russian families find safety as they escape the revolution. But when Sofya’s letters suddenly stop coming, she fears the worst for her best friend.
From the turbulent streets of St. Petersburg and aristocratic countryside estates to the avenues of Paris where a society of fallen Russian émigrés live to the mansions of Long Island, the lives of Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka will intersect in profound ways. In her newest powerful tale told through female-driven perspectives, Martha Hall Kelly celebrates the unbreakable bonds of women’s friendship, especially during the darkest days of history. .
19 14224 April, 2019
2 2323 April, 2019
Hello! I started Lilac Girls this morning and it’s been on my TBR for a loooong time. I just kept associating it to Spring because of the title and now that we’re officially into Spring, it’s time!! Does anyone else pair books with seasons or is that just me?
I’ve read MANY historical fiction books that revolve around the Holocaust and WWll. This one was so captivating and heart breaking at the same time that I just couldn’t put it down. .
Eye Opener! #lilacgirls#historicalfiction
5 4823 April, 2019
Books about the roles of women during WWII abound and I am currently reading The Lost Girls of Paris. Based on true events, this story is of Churchill’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) created for espionage and sabotage in occupied Europe. SOE included one small female unit.
Narration is by three women. Grace is a war widow, puzzled by a group of photographs found in a suitcase left in Grand Central Station; Eleanor is the leader of the female SOE deployed from London; Marie is the young mother (now SOE agent) sent to occupied France as a radio operator.
The story of Grace’s determination to solve the mystery of the 12 women in the photographs opens up a new appreciation for the many brave women who were forced to change their lives and futures during and because of the war.
Some of the books about the “girls” of World War II are harder to read than others but I think it’s important for us to continue to learn about the brave women who served our world so well.
Code Girls NF fascinating history of American women code breakers working for both the Army and the Navy
The Girls of Atomic City NF history of Oak Ridge, TN, a Manhattan Project Secret City, and the young women recruited from small Southern towns to work there
The Beantown Girls Fic a story of three young woman who leave Boston to become Red Cross Clubmobile girls serving on the front lines in Europe
Lilac Girls Fic inspired by actual events, the story of a NY socialite, a Polish resistance fighter, a German doctor and Ravensbruck.
Have you read any of these? Or another WWII story that features women? What do you recommend?