Thursday, March 31, 2016

Three Young Women are Enmeshed in the Horrors of World War II

As the Nazi war machine begins it's invasion of Europe, three young women find their lives changed forever. Carolyn Ferriday, a débutante and former Broadway actress, volunteers at the French Embassy where she is caught up in the flow of French citizens either trying to escape the advance of the Nazis, or trying to get home to loved ones. Later she becomes involved in helping the survivors of Ravensbruck. 

Kasia Kuzmerick is a teenager in occupied Poland. At first she thinks the Nazis won't bother her town, but soon they arrive and people are transported to Ravensbruck for reeducation. Kasia's mother and sister are sent and finally Kasia joins them.

Herta Oberheuser, a young German doctor is frustrated that she is allowed such a limited medical practice. The Nazis see young women as mothers rather than skilled professionals. To get closer to working in her desired professions, she applies for a government medical position and finds herself in another male-dominated environment where she is expected to do terrible things.

This is a very well written book that is hard to read in places. The author has spent a great deal of time and effort learning about the atrocities committed at Ravensbruck and does an excellent job of creating a realistic environment for her three characters. I loved Kasia and Carolyn, but found Herta and her work so repugnant that sometimes I had to put the book down.

Two of the characters, Carolyn and Herta, are historical figures. The story could have been told with just these two, but I found the addition of Kasia helped highlight the horror of what the Nazis did to women. I highly recommend this book.

I received this book from Net Galley for this review.