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February 7, 2019

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

“It only hurts you to hold on to the hate.” 

This fantastic new book is a prequel to The Lilac Girls. It features Caroline's mother, Eliza during the time period of WWI and the Russian revolution. As with the Lilac Girls, this book features strong women who are working and sacrificing to make the world a better place during a difficult time in world history. (Note - you don't need to read The Lilac Girls before you read Lost Roses. However, Lilac Girls is such a fantastic book that you need to make sure that you read it soon.)

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Lost Roses
April 2019; Ballantine Books; 978-1524796372
audio, ebook, print (448 pages); historical fiction
Eliza is a happily married very wealthy woman who lives with her husband Henry and her daughter in Caroline in New York. She loves to travel and as the book begins is planning a trip to St. Petersburg to accompany her best friend Sofya home from her visit to the US. The year is 1914 and when WWI escalates and the Romanov empire in Russia is beginning to collapse, Eliza returns safely home. Sofya and her family think that they will remain safe in Russia because they are cousins of the Romanov's but the uprising of the poor in Russia also includes the end of the rich upper class - no matter who they are. When Eiza quits getting mail from Sofya, she fears the worst for her friend.

These two women live very rich and pampered lives but still have empathy for what is going on in the world. Both of them are put into difficult situations and change their lives to work for those who have less than they do. At a time in history that is very difficult, they both show their strength in the decisions they make and the battles they fight. I loved and admired both of these strong women and highly recommend this novel.

Buy Lost Roses at Amazon

Note:  Lost Roses is a prequel to the popular book Lilac Girls.  Here is my review of Lilac Girls:

Lilac Girls
Just when you think that you have read everything that there is to read about WWII, a book like this comes along and you read about the effects of the war from an entirely new perspective. This is not only based on real people but it is a debut novel by an author that I predict we will be hearing from in the future. It's a fantastic novel and would be a great book not only for book clubs but for anyone who is interested in how badly people can treat others.

There are three main characters in the Lilac Girls

  • Caroline Ferriday, an NYC socialite and former actress who works in the French embassy in NYC.
  • Kasia - a Polish teenager who works with the underground once the Nazis invade Poland and who is arrested, along with her mother and sister and sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp.
  • Herta - a German doctor at Ravensbruck camp who convinces herself that she is doing the right thing at the camp.

The novel is told in alternating chapters by each of the three main characters and the reader gets a total picture of what is going on in the US during the war as well as the atrocities going on in the camps. Ravensbruck was well known because medical experiments were done on some of the prisoners that were so inhumane it is almost unbelievable.

As difficult as part I of the book was to read, parts 2 and 3 took place after the war as the three women tried to renew their old lives. Much of it was also very heartbreaking but there was also hope for the future after the war.

Buy Lilac Girls at Amazon

About The Author

Martha is a native New Englander who lives in Connecticut and Martha's Vineyard. She worked as an advertising copywriter for many years, raised three wonderful children who are now mostly out of the nest and Lilac Girls is her first novel. She has been hard at work on the prequel to Lilac Girls, Lost Roses, which features Caroline's mother Eliza Ferriday and her fight to save a group of Russian women, former aristocrats who lost everything in the Russian Revolution. Lost Roses publishes April 2, 2019. You'll find more info about both books on Martha's website: and on Pinterest.
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Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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