I received an E-ARC of this novel through Net Galley. This book is being published on April 5th by Ballantine Books.
In this novel we follow three different women during the Holocaust. The diversity of these three women was great. The first in Caroline, a French woman in America working at the French consult. She spends a lot of time making packages for the orphanages in France. Second we meet Kasia, a Catholic Polish school girl. She has a crush and risks her life to help him out. Finally, we get Herta, a German woman finishing her medical schooling. She ends up working at a camp, and does some questionable things. We spend a lot of time going back and forth between Ravensbruck and America, and eventually France is in the mix.
We follow the story of two women at the same camp, but on different sides of the issues. It made it so much more interesting to see both sides. I really appreciate the way Herta was not portrayed in a biased negative light. It made it harder to see her as less than human. It also made it harder to read her side after seeing Kasia talk about the complete opposite side of the situation.
This was a heartbreaking story. Martha did her research. Caroline and Herta are real women. The big events that happen, are things that they actually did. Kasia was based off real women who were in the camps. There were a few things added to the real information, a love story for Caroline, but it made it more realistic. It increased my enjoyment of the story by adding personalizing details.
This was incredibly well written. The characters were realistic and semi-relatable, fully relatable would be hard for me due to a lack of awful things in my life. I really enjoyed reading it. I would definitely recommend this if you can handle reading about the Holocaust and slightly disturbing details.
Caroline was a great character and a great person. She worked so hard for the children in France at the beginning and then later for the ‘Rabbits’ of Ravensbruck. She was such an amazing person to be willing to do all of this. She does have a few moments of self-pity, which were very irrelevant for the situation. It did make her more relatable, by making her have her moments of selfishness. I do plan to find out more information on her later.
Kasia had the most heartbreaking story. Not only is she taken to a camp, she loses her mother, and then gets tested on. She finally makes it out and back to the boy she loved before, but she isn’t the same. It was really easy to feel for her. Her story was so sad and it’s the story of so many.
Herta was done really well. She was an actual doctor involved in the testing. She was not portrayed as an evil monster. Herta was a women doing what she was told and what she studied her whole life for. She wanted to be a doctor and she was.