The Rabbit Girls

The Rabbit GirlsBerlin, As The Wall Between East And West Falls, Miriam Winter Cares For Her Dying Father, Henryk When He Cries Out For Someone Named Frieda And Miriam Discovers An Auschwitz Tattoo Hidden Under His Watch Strap Henryk S Secret History Begins To UnravelSearching For Clues Of Her Father S Past, Miriam Finds An Inmate Uniform From The Ravensbr Ck Women S Camp Concealed Among Her Mother S Things Within Its Seams Are Dozens Of Letters To Henryk Written By Frieda The Letters Reveal The Disturbing Truth About The Rabbit Girls , Young Women Experimented On At The Camp And Amid Their Tales Of Sacrifice And Endurance, Miriam Pieces Together A Love Story That Has Been Hidden Away In Henryk S Heart For Almost Fifty YearsInspired By These Extraordinary Women, Miriam Strives To Break Through The Walls She Has Built Around Herself Because Even In The Darkest Of Times, Hope Can Survive Well, this was a terrible conglomeration of infidelity, hidden letters, domestic abuse, the Holocaust, and a dying father all rolled into one book that I absolutely would have DNF d if I could I did not intentionally read two books about the Holocaust back to back, unfortunately both book clubs I am in happened to pick a Holocaust book this month the other book was The Tattooist of Auschwitz And out of the two I would recommend reading neither, but I would kind of recommend burning this one Well, this was a terrible conglomeration of infidelity, hidden letters, domestic abuse, the Holocaust, and a dying father all rolled into one book that I absolutely would have DNF d if I could I did not intentionally read two books about the Holocaust back to back, unfortunately both book clubs I am in happened to pick a Holocaust book this month the other book was The Tattooist of Auschwitz And out of the two I would recommend reading neither, but I would kind of recommend burning this one.Spoiler book summary view spoiler A woman who unbeknownst to her was being drugged by her abusive supervillain esqe husband escaped from him in order to find and care for her dying father, then finds some hidden letters in her deceased mother s closet that turn out to be from her father s mistress that were written while she was held in concentration camps and who turns out to be the woman s actual mother in a big reveal that you could see from a mile away Oh and throw in some rabbit girls who were experimented on in the Ravensbruck concentration camp as a backdrop for the mistress s story along with the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in the woman s story because why not And then oddly choose to make the book title The Rabbit Girls when this book is really in no way about them at all and does their story the least justice hide spoiler This centers around Miriam who is the present day character,so than focusing on the past and Henryk Miriam is not only givenchapters than Henryk, but her chapters are also notably longer The dictation of Miriam s chapters typically either focus on her repetitive inquiry into the letters she found that are related to her father Henryk or her personal life and the problems that she has with her abusive husband Henryk s chapter s typically focus on his own marital problems rather This centers around Miriam who is the present day character,so than focusing on the past and Henryk Miriam is not only givenchapters than Henryk, but her chapters are also notably longer The dictation of Miriam s chapters typically either focus on her repetitive inquiry into the letters she found that are related to her father Henryk or her personal life and the problems that she has with her abusive husband Henryk s chapter s typically focus on his own marital problems rather than the historical context that he experienced.This being said, only about 15% of the story was of historical relevance There was nothing historically integrated that was new information The rabbit girls , or the guinea pigs who were experimented on, have been given voices through other novels The details about them were not elaborate either.The beginning was very slow to start The story only starts to pick up around 40% of the book, but still Miriam s chapters continued to hold back the story The story starts out with Miriam s father, Henryk, calling out an unknown name Frieda on his deathbed So, Miriam makes it her goal to find this person before her father dies An overdone opening scene in my opinion Nevertheless, I only kept reading to see the mystery unfold about Frieda, which is why I gave it 2.5 stars instead of 2 stars Unfortunately, Frieda s story was overshadowed by Miriam s narratives This was an interesting WW2 story told across dual timelines Miriam is caring for her dying father, Henrik, shortly after the fall of the Berlin wall She s also in an abusive marriage When she discovers a prisoner s uniform, and a collection of letters she realizes are from her father s mistress from decades before, she sets out to unravel the story of what happened in the last days of the war Poignant and tragic Without getting into spoilers, this had some interesting historical tidbits, s This was an interesting WW2 story told across dual timelines Miriam is caring for her dying father, Henrik, shortly after the fall of the Berlin wall She s also in an abusive marriage When she discovers a prisoner s uniform, and a collection of letters she realizes are from her father s mistress from decades before, she sets out to unravel the story of what happened in the last days of the war Poignant and tragic Without getting into spoilers, this had some interesting historical tidbits, some unexpected twists, and was overall a nice debut that I enjoyed reading I found Frieda s perspective the most captivating overall Trigger Warnings view spoiler graphic concentration camp scenes, medical torture, graphic murder of an infant, domestic abuse, infidelity hide spoiler Please excuse typos name misspellings Entered on screen reader If you ve just picked this one as your AugustPrime First Read then you are in for a treat eventually The first quarter of this book is slow really slow and I wondered if I d made a mistake in choosing it That said, once it gets going, it s as if it s a completely different book.Two characters tell their stories directly Miriam and her father Henryk and a third tells hers via letters hidden inside the seams and pockets of an inmate s uniform from one of Germany s concentrati If you ve just picked this one as your AugustPrime First Read then you are in for a treat eventually The first quarter of this book is slow really slow and I wondered if I d made a mistake in choosing it That said, once it gets going, it s as if it s a completely different book.Two characters tell their stories directly Miriam and her father Henryk and a third tells hers via letters hidden inside the seams and pockets of an inmate s uniform from one of Germany s concentration camps The book opens in Berlin with one of the most important liberations of Germany s 20th Century the destruction of the Berlin wall and the eruption of Eastern Germans rushing into their divided city It s focus though is on the abuse and eventual liberations of the death camps at the end of the Second World War and the life of people in those camps under the administration of the Nazis Oppression of all sorts is to the fore throughout the book although we re just getting stuck into life under the Nazis both outside and inside the camps when we realise that themodern story of oppression is Miriam s domination by her husband Axel a classic case of what we now call coercive control The juxtaposition of the two forms of menace is very powerful As readers we can hope for nothing different from the past but we can continue to hope for some kind of redemption in the present tense of the book.Miriam finds an Auschwitz tattoo on her father s wrist, under his watchband and he starts calling out for Frieda I nearly gave up at this point as I ve seen a lot of photos of Auschwitz tattoos and they were never neat little wrist tattoos More typically they were sprawling characters on the outer or inner forearm This had me doubting the likely veracity of the rest of the book but once things got moving, I soon forgot The point of the revelation of the tattoo is that we re supposed to believe that Henryk NEVER told his daughter that he d been in the camp He wasn t a Jew or a gypsy so Miriam wonders why he was there As readers, we know because we re reading Henryk s thoughts about Frieda, the girl he loved and for whom he risked his marriage and lost his career.Enlisting the help of an elderly woman called Eva, Miriam gets her to translate the letters she finds in the dress which have been written in French Oddly, the book presents all of these letters both the French and German ones in chronological order which seemed rather convenient to me Clearly, Eva is controlling the release of the information to Miriam and to the rest of us.Meanwhile, as Miriam learns about the woman her father once loved, she s trying to escape from the man she no longer loves her husband and abuser, Axel He s a controlling and violent man who has built a network of lies to support the image of his wife as weak, insane and unable to look after herself Can learning of the courage of others so many years before help Miriam to find her own courage to say No to Axel Not everything rings true the watchstrap incident in particular and I had a lot of doubts about how the dress came to be in Henryk s possession with the letters still hidden after 45 years The ending ties everything together very nicely though and is very well done One thing I don t agree with at all is the positioning of the book via the blurb and the title as being about the rabbit girls of the concentration camps These women were experimented upon by doctors in the camps who gave them less respect or care than a vivisection rabbit And yet, from the point of view of the story, they are a really tiny aspect of a much broader discussion Anybody with a morbid interest in the abuse of inmates in that way should probably find another book and I consider it a shame that the book is being promoted in this way Perhaps we re supposed to view Miriam as a rabbit girl in her own right, abused by her husband for 20 years, but I suspect I m attempting to force fit a title to a book It s a love story and a story of somebody finding her strength to fight back with the help of an unexpected friend just as her father s once lover finds the strength to survive in the camps through the comradeship of other women Once I d got through the first 25 30% of the book, I found it really interesting and put everything else on hold to get the book finished This book was barely enjoyable I started reading it because it was supposed to be a historical fiction about the Rabbit Girls during WWII Unfortunately, this is not accurate The author tries to fit too many genres in one book, making it busy an unenjoyable The plot jumps around quite a bit, which is usually not a problem, but in this case the story became confusing at points and predictable throughout. The book had a slow start and I found the plot was convoluted and difficult to follow at times Towards the end things moved fast and it started to makesense The isolated moments began to fit together. I picked this book as myfirst reads for August, not really expecting too much and then not able to stop reading It s a story that will stay with me. This one will get you I normally power through books like this in a day or two, but the dark reality of the Holocaust that this book highlights made me slow down and take it in pieces Even taking a day off in between sometimes I m not a crier while reading, but as a mother, this book got me a few times An important look at the realities of the time, but a hard one nonetheless. BeautifulThe trauma of a country gone insane The trauma created by those who prey on others The trauma of those who bear witness The trauma of those who survive The strength of the human spirit despite evil in this world This novel covers it all. A deeply moving and upsetting story about the suffering of the so called Rabbit Girls in Ravensbruck concentration camp The narrative moves between the unhappy Miriam, writing in Germany in 1989 as the Berlin Wall tumbled, the letters of Frieda, smuggled out of Ravensbruck, and the reminiscences of Henryk, father of Miriam and the lover of Frieda, who is now facing his death Parts aresuccessful than most with the most memorable sections preserved for Frieda By contrast, Miriam remains d A deeply moving and upsetting story about the suffering of the so called Rabbit Girls in Ravensbruck concentration camp The narrative moves between the unhappy Miriam, writing in Germany in 1989 as the Berlin Wall tumbled, the letters of Frieda, smuggled out of Ravensbruck, and the reminiscences of Henryk, father of Miriam and the lover of Frieda, who is now facing his death Parts aresuccessful than most with the most memorable sections preserved for Frieda By contrast, Miriam remains distant Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights