Lilac Girls

Hello, my bookworms! Happy Wednesday! Already, half of the week is behind us (gotta love a holiday weekend). Life has been hectic, but sweet. One of my friends found the smallest kitten ever in the road by her house, and saved it from getting hit by a car. She brought it to me to take care of (my house is a bit zoo-ish), so now, I have a little peanut I’m bottle-feeding and being mom. The original plan was to foster her and then adopt her out to family or a friend, but the nugget has stolen my heart, and I can’t picture myself giving her up. That being said, she’s been in need of majority of my attention and my reading has taken a massive hit yet again (when you have a teeny kitty in your possession, you get a lot of company). Anyway, she’s lucky she’s so cute, otherwise I’d be frustrated with the fact that I’ve barely read a hundred pages of a book in almost a week. She still doesn’t have a name, so any suggestions? I picked the name Poe because she’s a black cat, we’re in the Halloween season, and I’m obsessed with literature, but no one else seems to appreciate that name the way I do.. so please, give me your thoughts!

The good news is that I’m still getting Audible books done via my work commutes. So luckily, I can still bring you a review from my latest listen that I finished up on my drive home yesterday. It’s the debut novel from Martha Hall Kelly and it’s entitled, Lilac Girls. Like I said in an earlier post, when it comes to my audible reads, I seem to have a thing for historical fiction.

I wanted to love this book, and for awhile, I really did. It’s a long story, but it kept me company while I sat in traffic every day. I was even more intrigued when I found out the characters are based on real people. While the story has fictitious elements to it, learning about the lives of three women during WWII had my heart racing. The reason it’s getting only three stars is because the ending was a total disappointment. If I didn’t love 98% of the story so much, it would’ve gotten even less. Let me explain without giving too much away.

How do you build up such intense stories, and such incredible history, only to end it so abruptly with so many questions left unanswered? That’s infuriating to me. It’s not like it was an ending that was left up to the reader’s imagination, but more like the author just got tired of writing and ended the story where she chose to with no reason as to why it just stops. I even went back into my Audible app this morning just to make sure I wasn’t missing an epilogue or something. It was very disheartening after having spent so much time with these characters.

I spent weeks with a New York socialite, a Ravensbruck surgeon, and a prisoner camp rabbit. The build up to the war was tense, and having the tales of the women intertwine was exciting. I wanted Caroline to wind up with Paul, the French Broadway star she adored so much. I wanted Herta to discover her heart and stop being such a practical and calculating, heartless, Nazi doctor. I wanted Kasia to find closure from the trauma of her camp days and seek happiness in her young family post-war. Unfortunately, even over a decade after the war’s end, I was left wondering, and left with questions, because only certain aspects of the ladies’ stories were wrapped up in a neat, little bow. I never got to experience that final sigh of relief that it would all be okay.

I’m really sad that in the end, I just couldn’t love this story, not with the way I was left hanging after almost fifty chapters of an adventure. I almost wish I had just hated it all along, because it would’ve made the experience easier and more decisive for me to rant. Same goes for if I adored every single word and I could’ve just blathered about how obsessed I am with everything about this book. To be in the middle of the two is the toughest part of being a reader. To really immerse yourself in a vivid story only to be let down is heart-breaking for me. Fingers crossed the next book I choose goes a bit better.

My Final Rating: three out of five stars

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