Thursday, January 26, 2017

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly - Reshelved Books

Hello fellow readers!

I have been meaning to write this review for a while now.  Actually, I have tried to sit down and write this review 3 times but haven't really gotten anywhere.  This is my last semester in my MLIS program *yay!*  And this is also the first semester where I have had 3 projects due in Week 4 *ugh.*  It's week 2 right now.  I guess you can say life has me a bit overwhelmed. 

I recently finished reading Martha Hall Kelly's Lilac Girls, a novel that tackles the subject of WWII and the Nazi occupation of Poland.  What I liked about this novel is that it shows the horrific experience of concentration camps from a female prisoner of war perspective, rather than focusing specifically on religious persecution.  This novel follows the story of three women: Caroline, who lives in America, Kasia, a young Polish girl and devote Catholic, and Herta, an aspiring doctor.  Kelly takes these three characters, who come from different circumstances, have different dreams, and live different lives, and links them together through Hitler.  The one character that really stood out to me was Herta.  When Herta becomes a doctor, she ends up working for Hitler's concentration camps, specifically the camps for female political prisoners.  It is here that Herta meets Kasia and ends up operating on her for experimental purposes.  These experimental surgeries eventually lead to her trial for Crimes Against Humanity.  What really stood out to me was that Herta does feel guilt, but tries to justify her guilt to the people around her and to herself by saying that the women she preformed the experimental surgeries on were political prisoners sentenced to death anyway.  This theme of guilt also finds its way to Kasia, where she blames herself for her mother's death for being near her during her arrest.

This book is just as fascinating as it is gripping and horrific.  It's almost unbelievable that these terrible things happened on such a grand scale during pretty much recent history.  However, I guess terrible things happen today too.

4 out of 5 coffee beans for this novel!

If you have read this novel, please comment below with what you thought!  If you haven't, comment with what you're reading now! I need book suggestions for when Week 4 ends!         


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