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Critical Praise

“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)

 “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

“Harrowing... LILAC illuminates.”


“[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