Liliane was born of Russian Jewish parentage in the former French Concession of Shanghai, China, where she attended a French lycée. She and her family - all stateless - experienced World War II under the Japanese military occupation, later the Chinese civil war between the Nationalist government and the communists, the arrival of the victorious People's Liberation Army and subsequent establishment of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Because of difficulties to obtain an immigration visa to the United States under a very restrictive quota system, Liliane lived two years under the PRC. All this is discussed in her book Stateless in Shanghai published in 2010 by China Economic Review Publishing (Hong Kong) Ltd. for Earnshaw Books.

After Liliane emigrated to the United States, she studied as an undergraduate at Boston University where she also received a Ph.D. in French Language and Literature. She taught these subjects at Boston College and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While in academia, she published a book on Voltaire and a number of articles on 18th century France. Later moving to Washington, DC, she worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Peace Corps.

Since retirement, Liliane has given lectures on history and culture on cruise ships sailing around the world. Presently she speaks at various organizations and book clubs on old and new Shanghai and her book Stateless in Shanghai.