When we stopped in New Jersey for a pit stop on our way to Norway in June, my Grandma gave me a book to read while on vacation, and I just finished it last night. More specifically, I took a pain pill (I had surgery on my foot last week) and read until the wee hours. It was glorious… I can’t recall the last time I stayed up late because I couldn’t put a book down.
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly is the story of three women in entirely different circumstances during World War 2. The story surrounds a real-life character, Caroline Ferriday. She grew up privileged in New York and Paris. During the war she spent much of her time helping children, but was introduced to a group of women known as the “Rabbits”, who spent WW2 locked up in a women’s concentration camp know as Ravensbruck. Kasia Kuzmerick is one of the Rabbits- the Nazis performed horrible experiments on her during the war and she eventually meets and gets help from Caroline. The third woman in the story is Herta Oberheuser, a young female doctor who gains a position at Ravensbruck, and actually performs operations and experiments on some of the girls at the camp, including Kasia. It was so interesting to read a book with 3 very different point of views on the same subject.
Growing up in Norway, we discussed WW2 in school a lot, and I can actually remember marching on the 50th anniversary celebration of the end of the war. It was a big part of the history there, and older people have stories of the Nazis occupying their homes (including my Grandpa!). Despite all that I learned, I had no idea that the Nazis did this to young women- ruined their lives just to perform experiments on their bodies. To know that Caroline Ferriday was an actual person who helped them made the book so real. If you get a chance to read this one- I highly recommend it.
I’m seeing a trend here. I tend to LOVE books where the main character was a real person in history. Some of my favorites?
Have you read any fiction books about a non-fiction person that you can recommend? I’d love to read more!