As you may or may not know “Thumping Good Read” is a moniker that I assign to books that I couldn’t put down. This book was even better than a TGR because I learned some history in the story. File this under the category of : ” I had no idea…”
Lilac Girls tells the true story of a New York socialite and sometime actress Caroline Ferriday. It’s also the story of women on both sides of the Nazi concentration camp at Ravensbruck, built especially for women. The tortures and demons visited upon those women because of their religion, race, or nationality cannot even be imagined by those of us who live in our lives of first world problems. Many of the women, if they survived the first sorting, also were subjects of horrific medical experiments.
Lilac Girls tells the story of the “Rabbits” of Ravensbruck and one of the doctors who found herself committing the most heinous medical experiments. The women were called rabbits because of the “hopping” many of them had to use instead of walking after the experiments on their legs were complete.
Caroline hears their story and befriends many in the group, getting them access to medical and dental care, nutrition and much more. Along with Caroline, working from the French Consulate in NYC and her family’s farm in Connecticut, we meet her mother who works just as tirelessly to aid the French and others during the Third Reich through whatever means possible…including hocking the silver. We meet the sisters, Kasia and Zuzanna, both Rabbits and camp survivors with different outlooks and experiences, and Herta, the surgeon, caught not he wrong side of medicine.
If it all sounds a little melodramatic, I can tell you that some parts are, particularly around Pierre, the ne’er do well boyfriend who comes right in the end. However, although I have rudimentary knowledge of the Holocaust , this book does a good job portraying the desolation and terror that comes with knowing your life is worth nothing to a madman….
It’s mothers and daughters, women and children, good against evil. Good wins this round.