Martha Hall Kelly » Author

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imageAfter spending so much time at The Bellamy-Ferriday House and Gardens researching Lilac Girls, you can imagine how attached I’ve become to the lovely old house. I’ve also become so fond of the wonderful people at The Connecticut Landmarks, in whose hands Caroline left her beloved home. This year they have done a holiday tribute to Lilac Girls and decked the halls with lilac poinsettias and even put the book under the tree. I’m just so touched and this holiday I’ll be thanking my lucky stars I visited Caroline’s home back in 2000. Dressed in lilac, The Hay has never looked more beautiful.

Thank you to Dorothy Ambruso, BF House guide extraordinaire for sharing it.

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  • Karen FrithDecember 14, 2016 - 8:21 am

    I’ve just finished reading your compelling and sensitively and atmospherically written book!

    I left NZ for a holiday in Canada 3 days ago armed with your book, which I have just finished

    I was inspired, saddened, challenged and very glad that this true story has been written about and the profile once again raised

    Faultless and well researched!

    Thank you for writing this book!ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comDecember 17, 2016 - 3:55 am

      Its my pleasure, Karen. I’m so glad you enjoyed Lilac Girls and that you found it to be a good companion on your trip!ReplyCancel

  • Joanne SenIerDecember 21, 2016 - 2:30 pm

    I have just completed my reading of your beautifully written novel. I found it impossible to put down, each chapter drawing me in more to the characters’ world.
    It is heartwrenching to know of the pain human beings can be capable of inflicting on others but uplifting to reflect on the courage, faith, and tenacity of the human spirit.
    I cannot wait to share your work with my friends. When my lilacs bloom in the spring, I will remember your Lilac Girls.ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comDecember 21, 2016 - 2:52 pm

      Dear Joanne,

      Notes like this make me especially glad I wrote Lilac Girls. Thank you!


  • JenniferDecember 25, 2016 - 3:44 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Just by reading the inside cover of the book I was hooked. Without knowing anything about Caroline Ferriday and knowing very little about the Ravensbrucks Lapins previous to the book, I have now read numerous articles and first hand accounts on both, all of which tell an incredible story of adversity and survival. While somewhat unbelievable to comprehend what humans are truly capable of, it is also amazing to see the humanity that can exist in us all. Thank you for bringing to life such an emotional story; a story that needed to be told.ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comDecember 25, 2016 - 9:11 pm

      Thank you, Jennifer. I’m so happy you enjoyed it!



  • PauletteDecember 26, 2016 - 9:42 pm

    Thank you so much for all your hard work writing this book! It was so good and I hated to put it down. Some parts were really difficult to read; it is amazing what people are able to survive. I was surprised the woman Doctor stayed at the camp as appalled as she was when she first got to Ravenbruk. I am glad also that she wasn’t allowed to get away with all of what she had done, though she must have thought she had for many years.
    I hope you are writing another book. I will look forward to reading it! Thank you again! You have a loyal fan in me.ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comDecember 27, 2016 - 6:30 am

      What a sweet note, Paulette. So glad you enjoyed Lilac Girls! I’m working on the next book now,a prequel to Lilac Girls. Can’t wait to share it! 💜ReplyCancel

  • MaryDecember 31, 2016 - 10:34 pm

    I have just finished reading Lilac Girls. It was a story that was beautifully written. It inspired me to learn more about the people you wrote about. This story of courage and strength. I am an avid reader and there is only one other author I have ever felt the need to write about… now you make two! I am looking forward to your next endeavor. Again, thank you so much for a great novel about a very sad time, but with such a hopeful ending. Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comJanuary 16, 2017 - 12:29 am

      Wow, Mary, just one of two. I am honored and just thrilled that you reached out.

      So glad you enjoyed the book!


  • GeorgetteJanuary 15, 2017 - 8:17 pm

    I am so glad that I discovered Lilac Girls and I thank you for the enormous research task that you undertook in writing this novel. I was a little afraid that I wouldn’t be able to abide what I expected to be the gruesome parts, but the characters maintained so much sensitivity and even kindness toward each other that I anticipated reading more to the saga. There are so many fragments that stick in my mind – fixing an inmates hair for her, sharing the delicacy of a carrot and clueless Herta assuming the psychologist didn’t wear a lab coat solely in order to woo them to trust him. I wish I lived near enough to attend one of your book talks and I look forward to your future novels. Oh, and thank you for giving us a glimpse of the real women who inspired your work.ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comJanuary 16, 2017 - 12:27 am

      Thank you for your note, Georgette. I love hearing specific things readers like in the book. We share a lot of the same likes…especially the one when Kasia and the other women fix Regina’s hair for her. All based on true accounts, which makes it even more poignant.
      Really appreciate you taking the time to reach out!
      All the best,


Last night a Goodreads reader named Cynthia posted a question on my page: “What will you do if Lilac Girls wins The Goodreads Reader’s Choice Award?” I told Cynthia I would shout it to the rooftops since my goal in writing the book was to get the word out about this incredible group of Polish political prisoners, The Rabbits, who endured so much after surviving Nazi experiments at Ravensbruck.

That is so true, but this morning I woke up thinking of another special group of women, the Rabbits who didn’t survive. Nine young women who also lived through the brutal experiments but were marched, some of them carried, since they were still recovering, to the shooting wall and executed. All because they volunteered in the Polish underground to sabotage the Nazi effort. image-15-2

It has been a teary morning assembling their pictures,  such lovely young women who never had a chance at life, but I wanted to post their faces and names so we can remember and honor them for their courage and dedication to fighting the Nazis, for standing up for what is right.

Thank you for supporting Lilac Girls. Thanks to you, the whole world is learning their story. And it has only just begun.

Irena Poborowna (center) Clockwise from top: Janina Flak, Wanda Kakowska, Wanda Polakowska, Malgorzata Dembowska, Romana Sekula, Zofia Szachowicz, Henryka Dembowska, Krystyna Krauzowna.


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  • Roey GangloffNovember 18, 2016 - 11:09 pm

    One of the top 5 books I have ever read!ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comNovember 23, 2016 - 11:29 pm

      Wow. Thank you, Roey. I’m so honored to be part of your top five

  • M C DeweyNovember 29, 2016 - 9:15 pm

    Lilac Girls was one of the finest books I have read. And I have read much in my 65 years.ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comDecember 1, 2016 - 2:42 am

      Thank you so much–that is very kind of you!



  • FranDecember 31, 2016 - 5:47 pm

    Just completed reading your novel about the “Polish Rabbits.” As “M C Dewey” so appropriately stated in her aforementioned comment, “Lilac Girls was one of the finest books I have read.” In my 63+ years of life as an avid and voracious reader, I have read thousands of books. This one was amazingly extraordinary, exceptionally well written and meticulously and accurately researched. It touched me deeply and emotionally affected me in unforeseen and unexpected ways beyond my imagination or memory. Will eagerly await and look forward to the release of your much anticipated “prequel” to The Lilac Girls. Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comDecember 31, 2016 - 10:05 pm

      What an extraordinarily lovely note, Fran. I so appreciate the kind words.
      Just thrilled you enjoyed Lilac Girls!