Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Book in Acceptable Condition.
See more
Sold by TrueBooks247 and fulfilled by Amazon.
[{"displayPrice":"$10.05","priceAmount":10.05,"currencySymbol":"$","integerValue":"10","decimalSeparator":".","fractionalValue":"05","symbolPosition":"left","hasSpace":false,"showFractionalPartIfEmpty":true,"offerListingId":"F8ILoTe88sqZdZjxin8WvgA5JPy%2FXkQrMyqr%2FWMDY53FjZDPPRWCwUmmINrsOJt%2BgKgeqNdnpRQe6AKnRbBCG95FrPoAB8zA74AcRDdYN1%2FKH3FXVcpnZrat4AO6yHfKFE%2BfMbeeIk8F9RtrRmIVWw%3D%3D","locale":"en-US","buyingOptionType":"NEW"},{"displayPrice":"$8.08","priceAmount":8.08,"currencySymbol":"$","integerValue":"8","decimalSeparator":".","fractionalValue":"08","symbolPosition":"left","hasSpace":false,"showFractionalPartIfEmpty":true,"offerListingId":"ZsJtOnBPReV%2FHRm7CRxio6OwbaWVIK08M4OzF5x2xgglYqwua%2Bs9cpj6qkkbaf3d%2BVWzc0SGJn6H8reDDrKFr8LRgboOkmWSAAPljubRYGIrFwRzQ1YlqZywC4Wupsc5fKmur0rKOnG%2BzrDNSQ4j6WwbAgA0BFC931PeYocfrpVI0yDB1CeYdZnI%2Fkb47usM","locale":"en-US","buyingOptionType":"USED"}]
$$10.05 () Includes selected options. Includes initial monthly payment and selected options. Details
Price
Subtotal
$$10.05
Subtotal
Initial payment breakdown
Shipping cost, delivery date, and order total (including tax) shown at checkout.
ADD TO LIST
Available at a lower price from other sellers that may not offer free Prime shipping.
SELL ON AMAZON
Share this product with friends
Text Message
WhatsApp
Copy
press and hold to copy
Email
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Loading your book clubs
There was a problem loading your book clubs. Please try again.
Not in a club? Learn more
Join or create book clubs
Choose books together
Track your books
Bring your club to Amazon Book Clubs, start a new book club and invite your friends to join, or find a club that’s right for you for free. Explore Amazon Book Clubs
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Frequently bought together

+
+
Choose items to buy together.
Buy all three: $38.21
$10.05
$12.70
$15.46
Total price:
To see our price, add these items to your cart.
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Book details

Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

From the Publisher

Praise for Lilac Girls:




Description

Product Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • One million copies sold! Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this remarkable debut novel reveals the power of unsung women to change history in their quest for love, freedom, and second chances.

“Extremely moving and memorable . . . This impressive debut should appeal strongly to historical fiction readers and to book clubs that adored Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See.”—Library Journal (starred review)

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.

USA Today “New and Noteworthy” Book • LibraryReads Top Ten Pick

Review

“Harrowing . . . Lilac illuminates.” People

“A compelling, page-turning narrative . . . Lilac Girls falls squarely into the groundbreaking category of fiction that re-examines history from a fresh, female point of view. It’s smart, thoughtful and also just an old-fashioned good read.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“A powerful story for readers everywhere . . . Martha Hall Kelly has brought readers a firsthand glimpse into one of history’s most frightening memories. A novel that brings to life what these women and many others suffered. . . . I was moved to tears.” San Francisco Book Review

“[A] compelling first novel . . . This is a page-turner demonstrating the tests and triumphs civilians faced during war, complemented by Kelly’s vivid depiction of history and excellent characters.” Publishers Weekly

“Kelly vividly re-creates the world of Ravensbrück.” Kirkus Reviews

“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

About the Author

Martha Hall Kelly is a native New Englander now living in Atlanta, Georgia, where she’s writing the prequel to Lilac Girls. This is her first novel.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

Caroline

September 1939

If I’d known I was about to meet the man who’d shatter me like bone china on terra-cotta, I would have slept in. Instead, I roused our florist, Mr. Sitwell, from his bed to make a boutonnière. My first consulate gala was no time to stand on ceremony.

I joined the riptide of the great unwashed moving up Fifth Avenue. Men in gray-felted fedoras pushed by me, the morning papers in their attachés bearing the last benign headlines of the decade. There was no storm gathering in the east that day, no portent of things to come. The only ominous sign from the direction of Europe was the scent of slack water wafting off the East River.

As I neared our building at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Forty-ninth Street, I felt Roger watching from the window above. He’d fired people for a lot less than being twenty minutes late, but the one time of year the New York elite opened their wallets and pretended they cared about France was no time for skimpy boutonnières.

I turned at the corner, the morning sun alive in the gold-leaf letters chiseled in the cornerstone: la maison française. The French Building, home to the French Consulate, stood side by side with the British Empire Building, facing Fifth Avenue, part of Rockefeller Center, Junior Rockefeller’s new complex of granite and limestone. Many foreign consulates kept offices there then, resulting in a great stew of international diplomacy.

“All the way to the back and face the front,” said Cuddy, our elevator operator.

Mr. Rockefeller handpicked the elevator boys, screening for manners and good looks. Cuddy was heavy on the looks, though his hair was already salt-and-peppered, his body in a hurry to age.

Cuddy fixed his gaze on the illuminated numbers above the doors. “You got a crowd up there today, Miss Ferriday. Pia said there’s two new boats in.”

“Delightful,” I said.

Cuddy brushed something off the sleeve of his navy-blue uniform jacket. “Another late one tonight?”

For the fastest elevators in the world, ours still took forever. “I’ll be gone by five. Gala tonight.”

I loved my job. Grandmother Woolsey had started the work tradition in our family, nursing soldiers on the battlefield at Gettysburg. But my volunteer post as head of family assistance for the French Consulate wasn’t work really. Loving all things French was simply genetic for me. My father may have been half-Irish, but his heart belonged to France. Plus, Mother had inherited an apartment in Paris, where we spent every August, so I felt at home there.

The elevator stopped. Even through the closed doors, we could hear a terrific din of raised voices. A shiver ran through me.

“Third floor,” Cuddy called out. “French Consulate. Watch your—”

Once the doors parted, the noise overpowered all polite speech. The hallway outside our reception area was packed so tightly with people one could scarcely step through. Both the Normandie and the Ile de France, two of France’s premier ocean liners, had landed that morning in New York Harbor, packed with wealthy passengers fleeing the uncertainty in France. Once the all-clear horn signaled and they were free to disembark, the ships’ elite streamed to the consulate to iron out visa problems and other sticky issues.

I squeezed into the smoky reception area, past ladies in Paris’s newest day dresses who stood gossiping in a lovely cloud of Arpège, the sea spray still in their hair. The people in this group were accustomed to being shadowed by a butler with a crystal ashtray and a champagne flute. Bellboys in scarlet jackets from the Normandie went toe-to-toe with their black-jacketed counterparts from the Ile de France. I wedged one shoulder through the crowd, toward our secretary’s desk at the back of the room, and my chiffon scarf snagged on the clasp of one ravishing creature’s pearls. As I worked to extract it, the intercom buzzed unanswered.

Roger.

I pressed on through, felt a pat on my behind, and turned to see a midshipman flash a plaquey smile.

“Gardons nos mains pour nous-mêmes,” I said. Let’s keep our hands to ourselves.

The boy raised his arm above the crowd and dangled his Normandie stateroom key. At least he wasn’t the over-sixty type I usually attracted.

I made it to our secretary’s desk, where she sat, head down, typing.

“Bonjour, Pia.”

Roger’s cousin, a sloe-eyed boy of eighteen, was sitting on Pia’s desk, legs crossed. He held his cigarette in the air as he picked through a box of chocolates, Pia’s favorite breakfast. My inbox on her desk was already stacked with case folders.

“Vraiment? What is so good about it?” she said, not lifting her head.

Pia was much more than a secretary. We all wore many hats, and hers included signing in new clients and establishing a folder for each, typing up Roger’s considerable correspondence, and deciphering the massive flood of daily Morse-code pulses that was the lifeblood of our office.

“Why is it so hot in here?” I said. “The phone is ringing, Pia.”

She plucked a chocolate from the box. “It keeps doing that.”

Pia attracted beaux as if she emitted a frequency only males could detect. She was attractive in a feral way, but I suspected her popularity was due in part to her tight sweaters.

“Can you take some of my cases today, Pia?”

“Roger says I can’t leave this chair.” She broke the shell of the chocolate’s underside with her manicured thumb, stalking the strawberry crèmes. “He also wants to see you right away, but I think the woman on the sofa slept in the hallway last night.” Pia flapped one half of a one-hundred-dollar bill at me. “And the fatty with the dogs says he’ll give you the other half if you take him first.” She nodded toward the well-fed older couple near my office door, each holding a brace of gray-muzzled dachshunds.

Like Pia’s, my job description was wide-ranging. It included attending to the needs of French citizens here in New York—often families fallen on hard times—and overseeing my French Families Fund, a charity effort through which I sent comfort boxes to French orphans overseas. I’d just retired from an almost two-decade-long stint on Broadway, and this felt easy by comparison. It certainly involved less unpacking of trunks.

My boss, Roger Fortier, appeared in his office doorway.

“Caroline, I need you now. Bonnet’s canceled.”

“You can’t be serious, Roger.” The news came like a punch. I’d secured the French foreign minister as our gala keynote speaker months before.

“It’s not easy being the French foreign minister right now,” he called over his shoulder as he went back inside.

I stepped into my office and flipped through the Wheeldex on my desk. Was Mother’s Buddhist-monk friend Ajahn Chah free that night?

“Caroline—” Roger called. I grabbed my Wheeldex and hurried to his office, avoiding the couple with the dachshunds, who were trying their best to look tragic.

“Why were you late this morning?” Roger asked. “Pia’s been here for two hours already.”

As consul general, Roger Fortier ruled from the corner suite with its commanding view of Rockefeller Plaza and the Promenade Cafe. Normally the famous skating rink occupied that sunken spot, but the rink was closed for the summer, the space now filled with café tables and tuxedoed waiters rushing about with aprons to their ankles. Beyond, Paul Manship’s massive golden Prometheus fell to earth, holding his stolen fire aloft. Behind it, the RCA Building shot up seventy floors into the sapphire sky. Roger had a lot in common with the imposing male figure of Wisdom chiseled above the building’s entrance. The furrowed brow. The beard. The angry eyes.

“I stopped for Bonnet’s boutonnière—”

“Oh, that’s worth keeping half of France waiting.” Roger bit into a doughnut, and powdered sugar cascaded down his beard. Despite what might kindly be called a husky figure, he was never at a loss for female companions.

His desk was heaped with folders, security documents, and dossiers on missing French citizens. According to the French Consulate Handbook, his job was “to assist French nationals in New York, in the event of theft, serious illness, or arrest and with issues related to birth certificates, adoption, and lost or stolen documents; to plan visits of French officials and fellow diplomats; and to assist with political difficulties and natural disasters.” The troubles in Europe provided plenty of work for us in all those categories, if you counted Hitler as a natural disaster.

“I have cases to get back to, Roger—”

He sent a manila folder skidding across the polished conference table. “Not only do we have no speaker; I was up half the night rewriting Bonnet’s speech. Had to sidestep Roosevelt letting France buy American planes.”

“France should be able to buy all the planes they want.”

“We’re raising money here, Caroline. It’s not the time to annoy the isolationists. Especially the rich ones.”

“They don’t support France anyway.”

“We don’t need any more bad press. Is the U.S. too cozy with France? Will that push Germany and Russia closer? I can barely finish a third course without being interrupted by a reporter. And we can’t mention the Rockefellers . . . Don’t want another call from Junior. Guess that’ll happen anyway now that Bonnet canceled.”

“It’s a disaster, Roger.”

“May need to scrap the whole thing.” Roger raked his long fingers through his hair, digging fresh trenches through the Brylcreem.

“Refund forty thousand dollars? What about the French Families Fund? I’m already operating on fumes. Plus, we’ve paid for ten pounds of Waldorf salad—”

“They call that salad?” Roger flipped through his contact cards, half of them illegible and littered with cross-outs. “It’s pathetique . . . just chopped apples and celery. And those soggy walnuts . . .”

I scoured my Wheeldex in search of celebrity candidates. Mother and I knew Julia Marlowe, the famous actress, but she was touring Europe. “How about Peter Patout? Mother’s people have used him.”

“The architect?”

“Of the whole World’s Fair. They have that seven-foot robot.”

“Boring,” he said, slapping his silver letter opener against his palm.

I flipped to the L’s. “How about Captain Lehude?”

“Of the Normandie? Are you serious? He’s paid to be dull.”

“You can’t just discount every suggestion out of hand, Roger. How about Paul Rodierre? Betty says everyone’s talking about him.”

Roger pursed his lips, always a good sign. “The actor? I saw his new play in previews. He’s good. Tall and attractive, if you go for that look. Fast metabolism, of course.”

“At least we know he can memorize a script.”

“He’s a bit of a loose cannon. And married too, so don’t get any ideas.”

“I’m through with men, Roger,” I said. At thirty-seven, I’d resigned myself to singledom.

“Not sure Rodierre’ll do it. See who you can get, but make sure they stick to the script. No Roosevelt—”

“No Rockefellers,” I finished.

Between cases, I called around to various last-minute possibilities, ending up with one option, Paul Rodierre. He was in New York appearing in a new American musical revue at the Broadhurst Theatre, The Streets of Paris, Carmen Miranda’s cyclonic Broadway debut.

I phoned the William Morris Agency and was told they’d check and call me back. Ten minutes later, M. Rodierre’s agent told me the theater was dark that night and that, though his client did not own evening clothes, he was deeply honored by our request to host the gala that evening. He’d meet me at the Waldorf to discuss details. Our apartment on East Fiftieth Street was a stone’s throw from the Waldorf, so I rushed there to change into Mother’s black Chanel dress.

I found M. Rodierre seated at a café table in the Waldorf’s Peacock Alley bar adjacent to the lobby as the two-ton bronze clock sounded its lovely Westminster Cathedral chime on the half hour. Gala guests in their finest filtered in, headed for the Grand Ballroom upstairs.

“M. Rodierre?” I said.

Roger was right about the attractive part. The first thing a person notices about Paul Rodierre, after the initial jolt of his physical beauty, is the remarkable smile.

“How can I thank you for doing this so last minute, Monsieur?”

He unfolded himself from his chair, presenting a build better suited to rowing crew on the Charles than playing Broadway. He attempted to kiss my cheek, but I extended my hand to him, and he shook it. It was nice to meet a man my height.

“My pleasure,” he said.

His attire was the issue: green trousers, an aubergine velvet sports jacket, brown suede shoes, and worst of all, a black shirt. Only priests and fascists wore black shirts. And gangsters, of course.

“Do you want to change?” I resisted the urge to tidy his hair, which was long enough to pull back with a rubber band. “Shave perhaps?” According to his agent, M. Rodierre was a guest at the hotel, so his razor sat just a few stories overhead.

“This is what I wear,” he said with a shrug. Typical actor. Why hadn’t I known better? The parade of guests en route to the ballroom was growing, the women stunning in their finery, every man in tails and patent leather oxfords or calf opera pumps.

“This is my first gala,” I said. “The consulate’s one night to raise money. It’s white tie.” Would he fit into Father’s old tux? The inseam would be right, but it would be much too tight in the shoulders.

“Are you always this, well, energized, Miss Ferriday?”

“Well, here in New York, individuality is not always appreciated.” I handed him the stapled sheets. “I’m sure you’re eager to see the script.”

He handed it back. “No, merci.”

I pushed it back into his hands. “But the consul general himself wrote it.”

“Tell me again why I’m doing this?”

“It’s to benefit displaced French citizens all year and my French Families Fund. We help orphans back in France whose parents have been lost for any number of reasons. With all the uncertainty abroad, we’re one reliable source of clothes and food. Plus, the Rockefellers will be there tonight.”

He paged through the speech. “They could write a check and avoid this whole thing.”

“They’re among our kindest donors, but please don’t refer to them. Or President Roosevelt. Or the planes the U.S. sold France. Some of our guests tonight love France, of course, but would rather stay out of a war for now. Roger wants to avoid controversy.”

“Dancing around things never feels authentic. The audience feels that.”

“Can you just stick to the script, Monsieur?”

“Worrying can lead to heart failure, Miss Ferriday.”

I pulled the pin from the lily of the valley. “Here—a boutonnière for the guest of honor.”

“Muguet?” M. Rodierre said. “Where did you find that this time of year?”

“You can get anything in New York. Our florist forces it from pips.”

I rested my palm against his lapel and dug the pin deep into the French velvet. Was that lovely fragrance from him or the flowers? Why didn’t American men smell like this, of tuberose and wood musk and—

“You know lily of the valley is poisonous, right?” M. Rodierre said.

“So don’t eat it. At least not until you’ve finished speaking. Or if the crowd turns on you.”

Product information

Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.
UP NEXT
CANCEL
00:00
-00:00
Shop
Text Message
Email
Facebook
Twitter
WhatsApp
Pinterest
Share
More videos
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Customers who bought this item also bought

Related posts

Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
12,688 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

amachinist
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Sisterhood of Survival, Recollection and Redemption
Reviewed in the United States on January 18, 2018
Lilac Girls is one of the most moving Holocaust novels this reviewer has ever read. The story covers a twenty year period from 1939-1959. Kelly''s exhaustive archival research, interviews of concentration camp survivors and visits to sites in the US, Poland, Germany and... See more
Lilac Girls is one of the most moving Holocaust novels this reviewer has ever read. The story covers a twenty year period from 1939-1959. Kelly''s exhaustive archival research, interviews of concentration camp survivors and visits to sites in the US, Poland, Germany and France make her work more one of fact than of fiction. At first the reader meets Caroline Ferriday, who really lived as a socialite, Broadway actress, charity worker and volunteer at the NY French consulate. Then, there are the Polish Kusmerick sisters, based on real sisters from Lublin, who were interred at the all women''s concentration camp at Ravensbrück, Germany. There they and 72 other inmates were subjected to hedonistic and debilitating operations and injections performed by Nazi physicians. Many of these inmates could no longer walk erect, but were reduced to hopping for which they were dubbed "the Rabbits of Ravensbrück". They suffered and while some succomed, others survived to give testomony to their ordeal. Finally, and perhaps most strikingly, there is Herta Oberhauser, one of the real Nazi doctors who performs these "experimental procedures" on the inmates. After the war, Dr Oberhauser was captured, tried at the doctors'' trial in Nuremburg and incarcerated. With great mastery, the author intertwines the lives of all of these female characters as though she were plaiting a neat braid in which the ends unite in a satisfying whole. These are charcters and expriences that resonate with the reader, long after the last page is read.
151 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
sharmie
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Yawn
Reviewed in the United States on October 22, 2018
Ridiculous and implausible. I know it’s based on a true story but the writer took such unnecessary liberties with the characters, who, I’m sure were infinitely more human and 3-dimensional than written about in this book. Why fictiionalize it? My mother in law recommended... See more
Ridiculous and implausible. I know it’s based on a true story but the writer took such unnecessary liberties with the characters, who, I’m sure were infinitely more human and 3-dimensional than written about in this book. Why fictiionalize it? My mother in law recommended it to me. I should have known. The writing is clunky and old fashioned. I know I demand a lot from a writer and I understand that taste is subjective. This is just trash dressed up in ww2 and the story of the camps deserves better. There are maybe hundreds of better books on the subject. But if you like it, great. Maybe read something like “Music and Silence” and compare. Btw, all seven of my uncles and my father both served in that war. It’s not as though I don’t honor the sacrifices made.
76 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Letty
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Was not enjoying myself— couldn’t finish it
Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 2018
After the positive reviews, I was sure I’d love this book— especially because I really like WW2 stories. But I’m sorry to say that I hated this book. I was so uncomfortable that I couldn’t finish it, which is something I’ve done only a handful of times (not finish a book I... See more
After the positive reviews, I was sure I’d love this book— especially because I really like WW2 stories. But I’m sorry to say that I hated this book. I was so uncomfortable that I couldn’t finish it, which is something I’ve done only a handful of times (not finish a book I start reading). I thought the writing was poor and I simply was not enjoying myself. The storylines were not interesting to me, and I honestly could not stomach the torture scenes.
81 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Marisa Martin
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I had high hopes...
Reviewed in the United States on July 19, 2017
This was not as good as I expected it to be. The story has so much potential. The description of Ravensbruck, the women and the events there were fascinating to read, and I very much appreciate that aspect of the novel. Caroline Ferriday seems like such an interesting... See more
This was not as good as I expected it to be. The story has so much potential. The description of Ravensbruck, the women and the events there were fascinating to read, and I very much appreciate that aspect of the novel. Caroline Ferriday seems like such an interesting subject to write about. I honestly didn''t like the relationship between Caroline and Paul; I felt too much attention was given to the relationship in a manner that often made Caroline seem a little petty. Since the relationship with Paul Rodierre was the fictional element brought into the protagonist''s life, it may have done her a slight injustice. There was too much detail and dialogue that concentrated on trivial events in comparison with the real events which are the heart of the novel.
96 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Kay Stevens
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Great Story that is a Testament to the Human Spirit
Reviewed in the United States on February 4, 2018
This is a great story overall, although it certainly has some flaws. The principal one that I found was the character Caroline Ferriday in the way that she is portrayed. She seems to lack the depth of her real life counterpart who came to the aid of not only many French... See more
This is a great story overall, although it certainly has some flaws. The principal one that I found was the character Caroline Ferriday in the way that she is portrayed. She seems to lack the depth of her real life counterpart who came to the aid of not only many French orphans but the poor imprisoned Polish women who history may have forgotten if not for her efforts. The story’s real strength is in these characters; those who are referred to as the rabbits. These girls and women were victims of hideous and brutal experiments done on them by Nazi doctors in the Ravensbruck Concentration camp and were called the rabbits because they hopped due to their disfiguring surgeries and due to the way they were treated- like experimental animals. Two of the main characters who are the hapless victims of these horrific experiments are Kasia and Zuzanna.They are sisters and their love for each other helps them to survive this ghastly experience.

Despite, the story sometimes getting bogged down by the snobbery of high society and a love story between Caroline and a French actor that really doesn’t serve the plot in any meaningful way, this story is a compelling read with much to say about the resilience of the human spirit to endure...despite evil all around and to even ultimately triumph! The ending was particularly powerful when the tables are turned and the prisoner finally gets the chance to confront her captor. it is a poignant story which will keep you engaged with many twists and turns of the plot and will enlighten you about a period in the world’s history which can never be forgotten!
63 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Carol Schmidt
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Cover and Title Deceptive
Reviewed in the United States on September 19, 2018
The title Lilac Girls is very bothersome to me. These were women with the exception of a couple under 18. The book is about their horrors - not get-togethers in gardens. I understand the title was based on the gardens, but am disappointed that it is used as the title along... See more
The title Lilac Girls is very bothersome to me. These were women with the exception of a couple under 18. The book is about their horrors - not get-togethers in gardens. I understand the title was based on the gardens, but am disappointed that it is used as the title along with the pic of arm-in-arm women. That is far from the focus of the book. What were the publishers thinking? I have to guess they were thinking "what will sell." The romance of Caroline could have been pared down - a little too much chic lit for my taste, especially given the sheer horror of the experiences of the other women. It was a very tough read but a story that needed to be told. I give it 3 stars with very mixed feelings.
55 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
readinginmagnolia
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
More like two points of view than three
Reviewed in the United States on December 15, 2017
This read was for a book club discussion and I found it to be a compelling read. The story follows three strong intelligent females from different backgrounds through the events of World War II. Catherine, a New York socialite, who has dedicated her life to... See more
This read was for a book club discussion and I found it to be a compelling read. The story follows three strong intelligent females from different backgrounds through the events of World War II.

Catherine, a New York socialite, who has dedicated her life to service and charity, supported by her mother but not always by her peers or so-called friends who have more frivolous pursuits in mind. Kassia, a Polish teenager who has a crush on her best friend, and aspires to be a part of the underground resistance but is quickly caught and ends up in a most horrifying concentration camp. Herta, a German girl who has a medical degree, but as a woman will never be treated as a doctor or equal by her colleagues, but still buys into the Nazi propaganda and uses it to justify her actions.

This was definitely not a light read and clearly the author did her homework. There are tons of great reviews for this book and I do not regret reading it. However, I did have some issues with it and I’d like to address those. These issues should not really keep a reader from reading the book. They were just personal observances. Due to unforeseen circumstances in my personal life, I read this book in one day starting at 7 AM and finishing at 11:30 PM. As such, I found the book a longer read than it needed to be. There were several spots that could have been edited out and the story would have been just as complete and compelling. A good editor needed to scrap some things, for example, what was the point of Kassia coming upon Nadia at the concentration camp? Maybe there was a subtle point but it could have been left out. More is not better.

Unlike some others, I quite enjoyed the relationship/friendship between Catherine and Paul until the point she started ignoring his letters. Then she ignored more of his letters, then she ignored even more of his letters but he kept writing. This started to get a little tedious and at this point I felt like she was acting a little childish and a little too much like the romance novel heroines that I eschew, which compels me at this point to say that for the most part, the heroines in this novel are all very strong females with a lot to admire, something that is sadly lacking in a lot of the books that I read.

Herta, what can I say about this character, who is actually based on a real person as well (Catherine was also a real person). My problem with the portrayal of Herta in the book is that I felt like it was misleading. I went into this book without any forewarning of the fact that two of these women were real people in history and the third was based on an amalgamation of certain women as well. Based on the first three chapters, each told from the point of view of one of these three women, I thought I was going to be reading the rest of the story in the same manner, told from three different perspectives that probably would join or merge at some point. I was wrong.

I felt quite a kinship with Herta in the beginning, with her struggles in her family and her struggles to be taken seriously as a woman in her career, and I even overlooked her “drinking the Nazi kool-aid”, so to speak, since I definitely understand being influenced/fed extreme ideas at such a young age. That kind of hatred is taught or learned but some of us grow to be adults and realize that it’s not the only way and vastly change our opinions as we actually experience more of the world around us. I kept waiting for Herta to understand until suddenly I didn’t.

There was suddenly a big gap in the narrative and the chapters no longer switched back and forth between the three women. There would be two chapters for Kassia and two chapters for Catherine, back and forth but nothing for Herta. At first, I was relieved to realize that the author was not going to force Herta’s point of view on me any longer, but as I started getting closer to the end of the story, I started to feel like that was a cop out. If the author was going to commit to telling Herta’s point of view, that this story was supposed to be from the point of view of three different women, then she should have continued in that vein even if it was off-putting. I felt like I missed a huge part of the story and a huge part of what motivated one of the main characters.

In the end, I felt like I was sold on a book from three points of view but I only received two.

Note for triggers: While I do not remember any foul language in this book, I would note a trigger for rape. There is a dubious consent scene earlier in the book as well as an incestuous rape scene. Since this is a book about a female in a terror of a concentration camp in WWII, I think it could go without saying that there is quite a bit of violence, death, gore and other atrocities mentioned but I will say it. They are not gratuitous scenes for the sake of themselves, only presented in a manner to make the reader understand the level of terror this situation instilled, and in my opinion, necessary to the telling of the story.
51 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Susan Wild
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Provocatuve and emotional stories of WW2
Reviewed in the United States on December 12, 2018
Lilac Girls follows the lives of three women: American, German and Polish, and their struggles during WW2. It is an inside view of a concentration camp with insights into varying views of religion, immigrants, embassy politics/ Absprbing...
30 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report

Top reviews from other countries

NickiMags
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Strange Read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 4, 2018
I’ve really struggled with how to write this review because I can’t put my finger on how I feel about it. I actually started out with the audiobook, but didn’t like all of the narrators so changed to the kindle book quite near the beginning. I’m so glad that I read this as...See more
I’ve really struggled with how to write this review because I can’t put my finger on how I feel about it. I actually started out with the audiobook, but didn’t like all of the narrators so changed to the kindle book quite near the beginning. I’m so glad that I read this as a buddy read as I’m not sure I would’ve been able to finish it otherwise. It was good being able to message each other as we read the horrendous chapters set in Ravensbruck, the women’s concentration camp. I’ve read a quite a few books set during WW2 and I think these were some of the most barbaric scenes I’ve read. I found Caroline’s point of view interesting and to be honest bit strange, until the latter part of the book when it all becomes clear what her involvement is. Personally I would’ve preferred the author’s historical note about her at the beginning of the book, so I knew exactly why she was part of the story. Herta, the German doctor’s point of view was rather flat to me and lacked depth. I’m not sure if the author was just trying to show how dedicated she was to the regime, or how hard it was for women to be recognised in the medical field at that time. Kasia’s the character I was most drawn to most because she seemed far more real than the other characters. She was very young and had to deal with the most horrendous situations in the story. Also the cover makes me feel uncomfortable, as it looks like a lovely story about about three women, a bit misleading, plus the lilacs where hardly mentioned. My overall impression is that there are better books set during the Holocaust, particularly The Pianist by Szpilman Wladyslaw and The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.
6 people found this helpful
Report
Janie U
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Horrific story in a novel which is based on the truth
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 12, 2019
I was told about this book by a friend whose book club had read it - their opinions were very divided and my friend didn''t enjoy the book at all. I was intrigued by the truth behind the novel so thought I would buy it to and would make up my own mind. There are always...See more
I was told about this book by a friend whose book club had read it - their opinions were very divided and my friend didn''t enjoy the book at all. I was intrigued by the truth behind the novel so thought I would buy it to and would make up my own mind. There are always different sides to every story. Looking from different viewpoints is the vehicle used by this author to tell a dreadful story. The story is about three women - one a doctor in a concentration camp, one a prisoner who was used in the experiments that took place and the other a high society woman from New York working to raise money for those in Europe effected by the war. The writing is touching and fascinating. Once the characters were established I couldn''t wait to find out what was going to happen - although there was an inevitability that there was going to be very little good come of the events of the world war. So many novels are written about this war but there is always a unique angle to be found and this was yet another one which gave an amazing story to be used. Fact is always better than pure fiction and I suspect that if this story had been imagined completely it would be treated almost as science fiction or horror. In fact, the truth behind it makes the book feel more horrific than ever. I loved reading this novel and was so pleased that I picked it up.
3 people found this helpful
Report
Mrs C.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Brilliant
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 26, 2018
Gripping, heart wrenching and painfully sad at times but something we should all know about. The Lilac Girls tells the story of 3 women during and after WW2. It is centred around the Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp in Germany and the experimental surgery that the...See more
Gripping, heart wrenching and painfully sad at times but something we should all know about. The Lilac Girls tells the story of 3 women during and after WW2. It is centred around the Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp in Germany and the experimental surgery that the Nazis carried out on a group of Polish women who became known as the ‘Ravensbrück Rabbits’. I found the first few chapters hard going but from about 15-20% in I was gripped. This is based on true events and also real people, which I realised half way through and knowing that made it even more gripping and probably more harrowing at times. I loved that we heard the different experiences and viewpoints of 3 different women - 1 of which was Herta - one of the German doctors responsible for the crimes. It was obviously horrendous and makes you feel so angry but it was very interesting. The others were Kasia, one of the ‘rabbits’, and Caroline who is an American actress and socialite who helps the ladies affected, after the war. Herta and Caroline are real people and Kasia is a character based on a real life ‘rabbit’. Don’t expect a light hearted read but don’t let that put you off as I haven’t felt so affected by a book in a long time.
5 people found this helpful
Report
Caroline
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Important and moving novel
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 14, 2020
The novel is told through the eyes of 3 narrators; Caroline, Kasia and Herta. Caroline is an altruistic New York socialite providing aid for French refugees, Kasia lives in Poland and her life is turned upside down with the German occupation of Poland and Herta is a German...See more
The novel is told through the eyes of 3 narrators; Caroline, Kasia and Herta. Caroline is an altruistic New York socialite providing aid for French refugees, Kasia lives in Poland and her life is turned upside down with the German occupation of Poland and Herta is a German doctor, who accepts a post at a new ''re-education'' camp solely for women called Ravensbrück. Each chapter is narrated by one of the women, each with very different voices. This novel is truly wonderful. The narration is fast paced and throughout I felt very invested in the fates of Caroline and Kasia. The importance of this novel must not be underestimated and at times I found myself in tears and so very angry at the atrocities committed. It is not a book I would normally have chosen but I am so very glad I read this. An excellent and important read.
Report
kareneaks
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Incredible but harrowing book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 2, 2017
This was an amazing insight into what happened during the Second World War through the lives of 3 different women with very different stories that are intwined. The American socialite raising funds , the Polish girl who ends up at the concentration camp and the female camp...See more
This was an amazing insight into what happened during the Second World War through the lives of 3 different women with very different stories that are intwined. The American socialite raising funds , the Polish girl who ends up at the concentration camp and the female camp doctor . I had never heard much about Ravensbruck concentration camp and was appalled at what went on there . This book gives insight into why people do the things they do and the courage of people in the face of adversity. Definitely worth reading
One person found this helpful
Report
See all reviews
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Customers who viewed this item also viewed

Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Explore similar books

Tags that will help you discover similar books. 16 tags
Results for: 
Where do clickable book tags come from?
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Pages with related products.

  • history of europe
  • world historical novels
  • historical biographical
  • new york books
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Praise for Lilac Girls:




Description

Product Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • One million copies sold! Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this remarkable debut novel reveals the power of unsung women to change history in their quest for love, freedom, and second chances.

“Extremely moving and memorable . . . This impressive debut should appeal strongly to historical fiction readers and to book clubs that adored Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See.”—Library Journal (starred review)

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.

USA Today “New and Noteworthy” Book • LibraryReads Top Ten Pick

Review

“Harrowing . . . Lilac illuminates.” People

“A compelling, page-turning narrative . . . Lilac Girls falls squarely into the groundbreaking category of fiction that re-examines history from a fresh, female point of view. It’s smart, thoughtful and also just an old-fashioned good read.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“A powerful story for readers everywhere . . . Martha Hall Kelly has brought readers a firsthand glimpse into one of history’s most frightening memories. A novel that brings to life what these women and many others suffered. . . . I was moved to tears.” San Francisco Book Review

“[A] compelling first novel . . . This is a page-turner demonstrating the tests and triumphs civilians faced during war, complemented by Kelly’s vivid depiction of history and excellent characters.” Publishers Weekly

“Kelly vividly re-creates the world of Ravensbrück.” Kirkus Reviews

“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

About the Author

Martha Hall Kelly is a native New Englander now living in Atlanta, Georgia, where she’s writing the prequel to Lilac Girls. This is her first novel.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

Caroline

September 1939

If I’d known I was about to meet the man who’d shatter me like bone china on terra-cotta, I would have slept in. Instead, I roused our florist, Mr. Sitwell, from his bed to make a boutonnière. My first consulate gala was no time to stand on ceremony.

I joined the riptide of the great unwashed moving up Fifth Avenue. Men in gray-felted fedoras pushed by me, the morning papers in their attachés bearing the last benign headlines of the decade. There was no storm gathering in the east that day, no portent of things to come. The only ominous sign from the direction of Europe was the scent of slack water wafting off the East River.

As I neared our building at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Forty-ninth Street, I felt Roger watching from the window above. He’d fired people for a lot less than being twenty minutes late, but the one time of year the New York elite opened their wallets and pretended they cared about France was no time for skimpy boutonnières.

I turned at the corner, the morning sun alive in the gold-leaf letters chiseled in the cornerstone: la maison française. The French Building, home to the French Consulate, stood side by side with the British Empire Building, facing Fifth Avenue, part of Rockefeller Center, Junior Rockefeller’s new complex of granite and limestone. Many foreign consulates kept offices there then, resulting in a great stew of international diplomacy.

“All the way to the back and face the front,” said Cuddy, our elevator operator.

Mr. Rockefeller handpicked the elevator boys, screening for manners and good looks. Cuddy was heavy on the looks, though his hair was already salt-and-peppered, his body in a hurry to age.

Cuddy fixed his gaze on the illuminated numbers above the doors. “You got a crowd up there today, Miss Ferriday. Pia said there’s two new boats in.”

“Delightful,” I said.

Cuddy brushed something off the sleeve of his navy-blue uniform jacket. “Another late one tonight?”

For the fastest elevators in the world, ours still took forever. “I’ll be gone by five. Gala tonight.”

I loved my job. Grandmother Woolsey had started the work tradition in our family, nursing soldiers on the battlefield at Gettysburg. But my volunteer post as head of family assistance for the French Consulate wasn’t work really. Loving all things French was simply genetic for me. My father may have been half-Irish, but his heart belonged to France. Plus, Mother had inherited an apartment in Paris, where we spent every August, so I felt at home there.

The elevator stopped. Even through the closed doors, we could hear a terrific din of raised voices. A shiver ran through me.

“Third floor,” Cuddy called out. “French Consulate. Watch your—”

Once the doors parted, the noise overpowered all polite speech. The hallway outside our reception area was packed so tightly with people one could scarcely step through. Both the Normandie and the Ile de France, two of France’s premier ocean liners, had landed that morning in New York Harbor, packed with wealthy passengers fleeing the uncertainty in France. Once the all-clear horn signaled and they were free to disembark, the ships’ elite streamed to the consulate to iron out visa problems and other sticky issues.

I squeezed into the smoky reception area, past ladies in Paris’s newest day dresses who stood gossiping in a lovely cloud of Arpège, the sea spray still in their hair. The people in this group were accustomed to being shadowed by a butler with a crystal ashtray and a champagne flute. Bellboys in scarlet jackets from the Normandie went toe-to-toe with their black-jacketed counterparts from the Ile de France. I wedged one shoulder through the crowd, toward our secretary’s desk at the back of the room, and my chiffon scarf snagged on the clasp of one ravishing creature’s pearls. As I worked to extract it, the intercom buzzed unanswered.

Roger.

I pressed on through, felt a pat on my behind, and turned to see a midshipman flash a plaquey smile.

“Gardons nos mains pour nous-mêmes,” I said. Let’s keep our hands to ourselves.

The boy raised his arm above the crowd and dangled his Normandie stateroom key. At least he wasn’t the over-sixty type I usually attracted.

I made it to our secretary’s desk, where she sat, head down, typing.

“Bonjour, Pia.”

Roger’s cousin, a sloe-eyed boy of eighteen, was sitting on Pia’s desk, legs crossed. He held his cigarette in the air as he picked through a box of chocolates, Pia’s favorite breakfast. My inbox on her desk was already stacked with case folders.

“Vraiment? What is so good about it?” she said, not lifting her head.

Pia was much more than a secretary. We all wore many hats, and hers included signing in new clients and establishing a folder for each, typing up Roger’s considerable correspondence, and deciphering the massive flood of daily Morse-code pulses that was the lifeblood of our office.

“Why is it so hot in here?” I said. “The phone is ringing, Pia.”

She plucked a chocolate from the box. “It keeps doing that.”

Pia attracted beaux as if she emitted a frequency only males could detect. She was attractive in a feral way, but I suspected her popularity was due in part to her tight sweaters.

“Can you take some of my cases today, Pia?”

“Roger says I can’t leave this chair.” She broke the shell of the chocolate’s underside with her manicured thumb, stalking the strawberry crèmes. “He also wants to see you right away, but I think the woman on the sofa slept in the hallway last night.” Pia flapped one half of a one-hundred-dollar bill at me. “And the fatty with the dogs says he’ll give you the other half if you take him first.” She nodded toward the well-fed older couple near my office door, each holding a brace of gray-muzzled dachshunds.

Like Pia’s, my job description was wide-ranging. It included attending to the needs of French citizens here in New York—often families fallen on hard times—and overseeing my French Families Fund, a charity effort through which I sent comfort boxes to French orphans overseas. I’d just retired from an almost two-decade-long stint on Broadway, and this felt easy by comparison. It certainly involved less unpacking of trunks.

My boss, Roger Fortier, appeared in his office doorway.

“Caroline, I need you now. Bonnet’s canceled.”

“You can’t be serious, Roger.” The news came like a punch. I’d secured the French foreign minister as our gala keynote speaker months before.

“It’s not easy being the French foreign minister right now,” he called over his shoulder as he went back inside.

I stepped into my office and flipped through the Wheeldex on my desk. Was Mother’s Buddhist-monk friend Ajahn Chah free that night?

“Caroline—” Roger called. I grabbed my Wheeldex and hurried to his office, avoiding the couple with the dachshunds, who were trying their best to look tragic.

“Why were you late this morning?” Roger asked. “Pia’s been here for two hours already.”

As consul general, Roger Fortier ruled from the corner suite with its commanding view of Rockefeller Plaza and the Promenade Cafe. Normally the famous skating rink occupied that sunken spot, but the rink was closed for the summer, the space now filled with café tables and tuxedoed waiters rushing about with aprons to their ankles. Beyond, Paul Manship’s massive golden Prometheus fell to earth, holding his stolen fire aloft. Behind it, the RCA Building shot up seventy floors into the sapphire sky. Roger had a lot in common with the imposing male figure of Wisdom chiseled above the building’s entrance. The furrowed brow. The beard. The angry eyes.

“I stopped for Bonnet’s boutonnière—”

“Oh, that’s worth keeping half of France waiting.” Roger bit into a doughnut, and powdered sugar cascaded down his beard. Despite what might kindly be called a husky figure, he was never at a loss for female companions.

His desk was heaped with folders, security documents, and dossiers on missing French citizens. According to the French Consulate Handbook, his job was “to assist French nationals in New York, in the event of theft, serious illness, or arrest and with issues related to birth certificates, adoption, and lost or stolen documents; to plan visits of French officials and fellow diplomats; and to assist with political difficulties and natural disasters.” The troubles in Europe provided plenty of work for us in all those categories, if you counted Hitler as a natural disaster.

“I have cases to get back to, Roger—”

He sent a manila folder skidding across the polished conference table. “Not only do we have no speaker; I was up half the night rewriting Bonnet’s speech. Had to sidestep Roosevelt letting France buy American planes.”

“France should be able to buy all the planes they want.”

“We’re raising money here, Caroline. It’s not the time to annoy the isolationists. Especially the rich ones.”

“They don’t support France anyway.”

“We don’t need any more bad press. Is the U.S. too cozy with France? Will that push Germany and Russia closer? I can barely finish a third course without being interrupted by a reporter. And we can’t mention the Rockefellers . . . Don’t want another call from Junior. Guess that’ll happen anyway now that Bonnet canceled.”

“It’s a disaster, Roger.”

“May need to scrap the whole thing.” Roger raked his long fingers through his hair, digging fresh trenches through the Brylcreem.

“Refund forty thousand dollars? What about the French Families Fund? I’m already operating on fumes. Plus, we’ve paid for ten pounds of Waldorf salad—”

“They call that salad?” Roger flipped through his contact cards, half of them illegible and littered with cross-outs. “It’s pathetique . . . just chopped apples and celery. And those soggy walnuts . . .”

I scoured my Wheeldex in search of celebrity candidates. Mother and I knew Julia Marlowe, the famous actress, but she was touring Europe. “How about Peter Patout? Mother’s people have used him.”

“The architect?”

“Of the whole World’s Fair. They have that seven-foot robot.”

“Boring,” he said, slapping his silver letter opener against his palm.

I flipped to the L’s. “How about Captain Lehude?”

“Of the Normandie? Are you serious? He’s paid to be dull.”

“You can’t just discount every suggestion out of hand, Roger. How about Paul Rodierre? Betty says everyone’s talking about him.”

Roger pursed his lips, always a good sign. “The actor? I saw his new play in previews. He’s good. Tall and attractive, if you go for that look. Fast metabolism, of course.”

“At least we know he can memorize a script.”

“He’s a bit of a loose cannon. And married too, so don’t get any ideas.”

“I’m through with men, Roger,” I said. At thirty-seven, I’d resigned myself to singledom.

“Not sure Rodierre’ll do it. See who you can get, but make sure they stick to the script. No Roosevelt—”

“No Rockefellers,” I finished.

Between cases, I called around to various last-minute possibilities, ending up with one option, Paul Rodierre. He was in New York appearing in a new American musical revue at the Broadhurst Theatre, The Streets of Paris, Carmen Miranda’s cyclonic Broadway debut.

I phoned the William Morris Agency and was told they’d check and call me back. Ten minutes later, M. Rodierre’s agent told me the theater was dark that night and that, though his client did not own evening clothes, he was deeply honored by our request to host the gala that evening. He’d meet me at the Waldorf to discuss details. Our apartment on East Fiftieth Street was a stone’s throw from the Waldorf, so I rushed there to change into Mother’s black Chanel dress.

I found M. Rodierre seated at a café table in the Waldorf’s Peacock Alley bar adjacent to the lobby as the two-ton bronze clock sounded its lovely Westminster Cathedral chime on the half hour. Gala guests in their finest filtered in, headed for the Grand Ballroom upstairs.

“M. Rodierre?” I said.

Roger was right about the attractive part. The first thing a person notices about Paul Rodierre, after the initial jolt of his physical beauty, is the remarkable smile.

“How can I thank you for doing this so last minute, Monsieur?”

He unfolded himself from his chair, presenting a build better suited to rowing crew on the Charles than playing Broadway. He attempted to kiss my cheek, but I extended my hand to him, and he shook it. It was nice to meet a man my height.

“My pleasure,” he said.

His attire was the issue: green trousers, an aubergine velvet sports jacket, brown suede shoes, and worst of all, a black shirt. Only priests and fascists wore black shirts. And gangsters, of course.

“Do you want to change?” I resisted the urge to tidy his hair, which was long enough to pull back with a rubber band. “Shave perhaps?” According to his agent, M. Rodierre was a guest at the hotel, so his razor sat just a few stories overhead.

“This is what I wear,” he said with a shrug. Typical actor. Why hadn’t I known better? The parade of guests en route to the ballroom was growing, the women stunning in their finery, every man in tails and patent leather oxfords or calf opera pumps.

“This is my first gala,” I said. “The consulate’s one night to raise money. It’s white tie.” Would he fit into Father’s old tux? The inseam would be right, but it would be much too tight in the shoulders.

“Are you always this, well, energized, Miss Ferriday?”

“Well, here in New York, individuality is not always appreciated.” I handed him the stapled sheets. “I’m sure you’re eager to see the script.”

He handed it back. “No, merci.”

I pushed it back into his hands. “But the consul general himself wrote it.”

“Tell me again why I’m doing this?”

“It’s to benefit displaced French citizens all year and my French Families Fund. We help orphans back in France whose parents have been lost for any number of reasons. With all the uncertainty abroad, we’re one reliable source of clothes and food. Plus, the Rockefellers will be there tonight.”

He paged through the speech. “They could write a check and avoid this whole thing.”

“They’re among our kindest donors, but please don’t refer to them. Or President Roosevelt. Or the planes the U.S. sold France. Some of our guests tonight love France, of course, but would rather stay out of a war for now. Roger wants to avoid controversy.”

“Dancing around things never feels authentic. The audience feels that.”

“Can you just stick to the script, Monsieur?”

“Worrying can lead to heart failure, Miss Ferriday.”

I pulled the pin from the lily of the valley. “Here—a boutonnière for the guest of honor.”

“Muguet?” M. Rodierre said. “Where did you find that this time of year?”

“You can get anything in New York. Our florist forces it from pips.”

I rested my palm against his lapel and dug the pin deep into the French velvet. Was that lovely fragrance from him or the flowers? Why didn’t American men smell like this, of tuberose and wood musk and—

“You know lily of the valley is poisonous, right?” M. Rodierre said.

“So don’t eat it. At least not until you’ve finished speaking. Or if the crowd turns on you.”

Product information

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale

Lilac Girls: wholesale A 2021 Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) outlet sale