Book Rating (656)
Narrator Rating (143)

Lilac Girls: A Novel

Unabridged Audio Book

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Cassandra Campbell, Kathrin Kana, Kathleen Gati, Martha Hall Kelly

17 Hours 30 Minutes

Random House (Audio)

April 2016

Audio Book Summary

Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this powerful debut novel reveals an incredible story of love, redemption, and terrible secrets that were hidden for decades.
New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.
An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.
For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.
The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.
In Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly has crafted a remarkable novel of unsung women and their quest for love, freedom, and second chances. It is a story that will keep readers bonded with the characters, searching for the truth, until the final pages.

Narrator List:
CAROLINE, read by Cassandra Campbell
KASIA, read by Kathleen Gati
HERTA, read by Kathrin Kana
With the Author's Note read by the author.

Advance praise for Lilac Girls
“Inspired by actual events and real people, Martha Hall Kelly has woven together the stories of three women during World War II that reveal the bravery, cowardice, and cruelty of those days. This is a part of history—women’s history—that should never be forgotten.”—Lisa See, New York Times bestselling author of China Dolls
“This is the kind of book I wish I had the courage to write—a profound, unsettling, and thoroughly captivating look at sisterhood through the dark lens of the Holocaust. Lilac Girls is the best book I’ve read all year. It will haunt you.”—Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
“Rich with historical detail and riveting to the end, Lilac Girls weaves the lives of three astonishing women into a story of extraordinary moral power set against the harrowing backdrop of Europe in thrall to Nazi Germany. Martha Hall Kelly moves effortlessly across physical and ethical battlegrounds, across the trajectory of a doomed wartime romance, across the territory of the soul. I can’t remember the last time I read a novel that moved me so deeply.”—Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author of A Hundred Summers and The Secret Life of Violet Grant

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  • Emmalene M.

    Very well written book about such a tragic time in history that is well worth listening to. What strength these women had to have to endure such a horrific experience during the war. The narration is amazing! Makes it very easy to keep the characters separated.

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  • Tiffany C.

    This book was beautifully written and was incredible to listen to. I had a very hard time pausing because I was too engrossed in it. The author did an amazing job researching and telling these stories.

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  • Brian J.

    In writing this review I am speechless. I had reservations about reading this book because I didn't want to read something so sad. Yes there are hard parts, but this was one of the most meaningful books I have read. Don't hesitate to read this book, beautifully done!

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  • Linda E

    Don't let the cover fool you. This is not a "ladies" book of fiction. I was shocked to learn the characters were real and that these experiments were performed on healthy people during WWII by Nazi doctors. I have told many friends about it and can't get this story out of my mind. The three narrators had great voices and accents that made it a memorable story.

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  • A M.

    I was worried this book would be too hard for me, but after reading all the reviews I decided to go ahead. I’m so glad I did, as I just couldn’t put it down. Even though it tells a difficult story, it is not dwell on the violence. I was crying listening to the author’s note at the end and realizing the three main characters had indeed existed. Thank you Martha Hell Belly for all your historical research and for this beautiful novel.

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  • Stacie Y

    An amazing read!

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  • Jamie Z.

    Absolute MUST read, and best done by audiobook as the 3 narrators for the 3 main characters could not have been better, making them so real and alive. The author has done an incredible amount of research to bring the true story of the depraved Nazi medical experimentation on concentration camp prisoners, in this case young Polish Catholic women who were arrested for their underground resistance activity. The humanity and honesty in this book is astounding and moved me to tears so many times. Some parts were hard to get through, but we can and must, and the book is so engrossing and ultimately uplifting. Amazingly well written, and like other readers, I learned so much more about this hideous time even tho I have read much about the Holocaust. Thank you to the author, and the narrators, for bringing these brave survivors to our awareness, and so deeply to our hearts.

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  • Lauren R.

    One of my favorites!

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  • Melanie H.

    Beautifully written and sublimely narrated. This book was hard to listen to at times, and I had to take breaks during some especially gut-wrenching moments, but the investment was worth the payoff. Gorgeous story based on true events and people. I thought I knew all there was to know about the concentration camps, but I learned something new! Loved it.

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  • Emma J.

    I have read a lot of Nazi era memoirs and historical fiction and this is now truly added to the top of my list. The narration was phenomenal making the book and story that much more gripping. MUST READ ~

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