One Saturday morning, on our usual walk around our neighborhood, Dan and I came across a free sale. A young lady was moving from her apartment and had put out a number of things with a large “Free” sign. Of course, I had to stop. As I browsed, this young lady encouraged us to take anything and everything. Her rented U-Haul was already there, and it was filling up fast.
As I looked at the books, the young woman said, “Oh, this one is my favorite book. You’ll love it!” With such an enthusiastic recommendation, I took the book. I always like a heartwarming story.
Except it kind of wasn’t. I hadn’t heard of the book, “Lilac Girls”, so I didn’t really know what I was in for. As I began reading the book, I began to realize what the story involved. It was a hard book to read. I usually read at bedtime. Some nights, as I tried to fall asleep, it was hard to forget what I had just read.
I felt an obligation to read the entire book. I thought, if people had to live through this, I can at least read the story. I learned much about Nazi Germany and the one and only woman’s concentration camp. By the time I finished the book, I knew I had read a story I wouldn’t forget.
I now also have a new place to add to my list of places I want to visit: the Bellamy-Ferriday home in Bethlehem, Connecticut. Martha Hall Kelly, the author of Lilac Girls, recommends visiting the home in May, when the lilacs are in bloom.
The Bellamy-Ferriday home happens to be near another home already on my list of places I want to visit: the Mark Twain Home and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut. I added this to my list years ago when I watch a PBS special by Ken Burns on Mark Twain. Turns out, these two homes are only about 50 miles apart. If you’ve been to either one, let me know what you think in the comments below.
There’s one more ripple effect from my happenstance with the young lady who gave me the book. When I mentioned “Lilac Girls” in one of my comments, fellow blogger Beth, of the Small Simple Things of Life blog, asked me if I had heard of “Lost Roses” which is the prequel to “Lilac Girls.” I hadn’t heard of it, and I immediately requested it from the library. Thank you, Beth.
Now, I didn’t write this post as a book review. After all, “Lilac Girls” is already a New York Times Bestseller. I wrote it because I am amazed how one small act by someone I didn’t even know had such an impact on me. All because she handed me a book.