Summary of Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly | Includes Analysis
Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly's debut, is a World War II-era novel based on real people and events. The novel tells the intertwined stories of three women: Caroline Ferriday, a New York socialite and philanthropist; Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish prisoner at the Ravensbrück concentration camp for women; and Herta Oberheuser, a Nazi doctor at Ravensbrück.
In 1939, 37-year-old Caroline volunteers at the busy French consulate in New York City. Scrambling to book a speaker for a gala, Caroline approaches Paul Rodierre, a handsome French actor who's in New York to perform on Broadway. Paul agrees, and afterward, Caroline and Paul begin a close and sexually charged friendship. Unfortunately for Caroline, Paul has a wife, Rena, in France.
In spring 1940, after Hitler invades Denmark and Norway, Paul goes back to Paris. He worries about Rena, who is half Jewish. By June, France has surrendered to Germany. Not long after, Caroline's boss....
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