Illustrated Maps

The Journey.

This map drawn by the wonderful Holly Hollon shows part of the European research journey I took to research Lilac Girls. Though Caroline Ferriday’s archive at her home in Bethlehem, Ct. was the perfect starting place, traveling to Poland, France and Germany to see my settings firsthand was invaluable.

Caroline’s New York

The map below is a reimagining of New York City, circa 1939, when Lilac Girls opens. It features landmarks at which scenes in the book take place, like The Plaza Hotel and Rockefeller Center, as well as fictitious spots such as the Snyder and Goodrich Antique Shop and Le Grenier Restaurant, both settings that live only in the book.

I hope it’s fun for readers who know New York to see how Caroline’s fictitious world meets the real thing and hope it gives those who’ve never stepped foot in Manhattan a frame of reference for how Caroline moves about the city in the book.

Carolines-New-York-Final_Websize (1)

Kasia’s Lublin

Kasia, the Polish main character in Lilac Girls, grows up in Lublin Poland, as many of the women who were arrested in the underground and sent to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp did. Below is a map of her world as seen in the book. I love the details Holly Hollon has given it–right down to Nadia’s orange door and her Felka curled up on the front stoop. You can see many of these landmarks today in Lublin, including the imposing Lublin Castle and Grodzska and Crakow Gates and the Crown Court Building. It’s a lovely city still today!

Kasias-Lublin_web size

70 thoughts on “Illustrated Maps”

    1. Omg this map is spectacular! Kudos to Holly and Martha for their collaboration on such a beautiful, accessible map. I am hoping it will be included in the book so I can have my own copy as I plan to take my own “Rabbits” tour of Europe, and I have a feeling I won’t be alone in my urge to retrace Martha’s steps as she was writing. Thank you for this beautiful map, it made my day!

  1. Martha,
    I cannot WAIT to read your book! i loved reading about how you came to write it, especially the part about the lilac you took home to grow…and now it’s a bush! Again, congratulations on this success. Wish I knew Oprah personally, as I’d give her your book to read and wait for your stardom to come!!
    Adios for now.

    1. You’re so sweet Colleen. Can’t wait for you to read it too! I’m working on the prequel, which features an amazing horse so I know you’ll like that, too.

  2. I am so overly impressed by your book. As I was reading it, I knew it was historical fiction but you seemed incredibly able to get into each person’s mind and emotions. I am overcome by the story you told and how superbly you told it. My father’s family is from Poland. He was lucky to be adopted by German cousins and was able to escape to the US in 1939. His birth mother, sister, and her sister’s two children perished. Thank you for not only telling the story so superbly but bringing too light in such a nuanced way a very important part of WW II as well as Jewish history. I also especially appreciate the books you named for further information on the Rabbits. I will seek them out.

    1. Dear Jacquie,
      I so appreciate your kind words. How lucky that your father was able to escape in 1939, but how terribly sad about his birth mother, sister and nieces. Thank you for sharing your family’s story!

  3. Dear Martha Kelly, I can’t even begin to describe how much I loved reading, “Lilac Girls.” I could barely put it down. Being of Polish descent myself this book meant so much to me & now I wonder if any of my Polish ancestors were in Nazi concentration camps. I really understood the title more towards the end of the book, as I am sure you meant it to be. I can’t thank you enough for your writing talents.

    I can hardly wait for your next book to come out!

    1. Dear Deborah,
      You are so welcome. I was hoping the story would resonate with Americans of Polish descent since this is their story, really.
      So I’m just thrilled that you liked it!

      And I’m working hard on the next one! :)))

      1. Dear Martha,

        I will be presenting the book discussion on your wonderful book Lilac Girls. I especially enjoyed it as I taught school in Germany in the early 1960’s and happened to have visited Ravensbruck.

        Thank you for such an accurate account of Ravensbruck prison.

        Deborah Allan

        1. Dear Deborah,
          How interesting that you taught school in Germany and visited Ravensbruck. Did they allow you to walk around the camp back then? So glad you felt like it was an accurate account of the camp!
          All the best,
          Martha

  4. estimada Martha, es un agrado y un placer y and I am grateful a Dios por haberle encontrado en internet, saber de su libro (que aun no lo leo), sin embargo no pierdo las esperanza de poder leerlo y en español. The truthque la historia contada en su libro refleja LIVED las atrocidades que pasaron este grupo de mujeres polacas. quiero agradecerle por darnos un pesacito de historia del siglo veinte en su libro.
    gracias….

    Saludos desde Santiago de Chile.

  5. Just finished reading Lilac Girls. Historical fiction is my favorite genre but while I have read other books concerning the Holocaust this is the first book that truly haunted me. I went to bed thinking about Ravensbruck and woke up with it on my mind. It was even more unnerving to realize this was based on a true story. It was amazing to read of your research. Thank you for such an amazing book. It will stay with me for a long time. Looking forward to your next book. Thanks, Kathy

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Kathy. And glad you’re looking forward to the next one…I’m working on it now!

    2. Hi, Kathy!

      Lilac Girls has been on my list of books to read for quite some time and I just started it two nights ago. Before that I read The Nightingale. Historical fiction is a favorite of mine, as well, and I would love any recommendations you might have.

      1. Have you read We Were the Lucky Ones? It is so good. Also, The Orphan’s Tale is a must-read, too. All the Light We Cannot See?

  6. Dear Martha,
    I just finished the audiobook version of Lilac Girls and found your writing style quite eloquent and easy to follow, especially with the many individual names one had to remember.
    Listening to the book combined with the way you portrayed some of the experiences, made me feel at times like I was at the camp with the girls!
    As a child of Holocaust survivors from Poland and an avid reader on the Holocaust, I thought I was quite knowledgeable but had no idea about the extensive surgical experiments conducted at Ravensbruck.
    Of course, the ending was truly remarkable! Thank you for such an amazing book and I look forward to your next one.
    Lola

    1. Dear Lola, I’m so glad you enjoyed the audiobook–I did as well. It really does bring the book alive! You are so welcome–so glad I shed a little light on a new subject for you!

      xx

      Martha

  7. Wow wow double wow !! What an absolutely amazing book !! I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed it . Although a bit hard on the heart at times. I love the way you write and was looking for more from you !
    Anyway undoubtedly one of the best books I have ever read. Thanks ♡
    I’ve tended to shy away from such painful historical reads….but I’m hooked .

  8. I loved your book. When I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it and how soon I could get back to it. Sadly, I finished it today. Thank you including the author’s note. Looking forward to your next book.

  9. I selected Lilac Girls for my bookclub group contribution-we each share our book between 18 ladies. I have always been interested with events of WWII, amazed at how it all happened. Your novel was very eye-opening in respect to how these women were treated and uplifting to know how one young woman used her influence to better the lives of these women. Thank you for researching and writing Lilac Girls. Also I grew up in Atlanta, a wonderful place to have lived until I left for college in 1970. Look forward to your next novel.

    1. Hi Debra,

      Thank you for reaching out and for your kind words…it was a labor of love and it’s so gratifying to hear that you enjoyed it!

      xx

      Martha

  10. Dear Ms. Kelly,

    Just finished Lilac girls and it was mesmerizing. I am an avid reader and somewhat of an expert on the Holocaust and WWII BUT your book was a completely different story from any other research I have done. I knew about horrible experiments done on many prisoner guinea pigs but never a word was said about the Lapins-as Caroline says, much better for these women in French. I have recommended it to all my friends and will continue to do so.
    I am excited to hear you are writing a prequel and will be early on the list. I suppose like myself, it is VERY hard to let go of ALL these women when the book ends.
    One question. Is the back story on Herta about the abuse by her uncle TRUE? If so, it goes a long way to show how she was so able to compartmentalize her feelings-can you tell I was a psychologist prior to retirement.
    Thank you so much for this book. The Ferriday house is now on my bucket list.

    1. Dear Anne,

      I’m so happy you enjoyed Lilac Girls and yes, it’s clear from your question you’re interested in the psychological aspects of the book…me too!. I had to fill in a lot of Herta’s life, in order to make her more human, since there was very little information about her available. I studied her trial testimony and learned a lot from that, but little about her non-work life.

      So glad you plan on visiting the Bellamy-Ferriday House someday. It is so worth the trip!

      xx

      Martha

  11. Martha,

    Your book was absolutely extraordinary. I don’t think I have ever read a book that quickly and I was so sad to finish it. I never wanted it to end. I keep thinking about it and each of those characters has stayed with me. I can’t tell you how much your book taught me about that devastating period in history. Your book has to be one of the very best I have ever read. You have a true gift. I am so hoping there will be another book from you soon. Please don’t make us wait too long!

    Thanks,
    Kristen Meola

    1. Dear Kristen,

      Thank you for your lovely comment. I’m just thrilled that Lilac Girls resonated so strongly with you and so appreciate your kind words! Yes, I’m working away on book #2 now…can’t wait to share it with the world!

      xx

      Martha

  12. I have to admit that when I ordered this audiobook, I was not expecting what was laid out in the contents of your novel. I am an avid reader of historical fiction, esp wwii stories involving women. Your work presents such a raw, insightful realism it brought me to tears numerous times. I especially appreciate how you developed the villainous characters, an attention the Nazis rarely get, often being portrayed as Mr.Andrews a la The Matrix types who seem to just exist with no regard to their own personal character (or lack thereof). It brought a depth to your work that I can honestly say I haven’t experienced before. I think you did these women an honor by telling their story in an unadulterated way. I cannot wait for your upcoming prequel and have definitely added visiting Caroline’s house to my list of activities next summer. 5 stars to you!

    1. Thanks so much, Nicole for reaching out with your lovely comment. I’m glad you liked that I tried to make Herta a real person. I agree that Nazis are so often stereotyped Matrix men. Such a good comparison! So glad you are planning on going up to Caroline’s house. It is so worth the trip!!!

  13. I just got done reading Lilac Girls and I am still thinking about it. It was a great book and I can’t wait to read your next one. It was one of those kinds of books that you are sad when you are done reading it you just want to keep on reading!! I am really saddened by what went on at that time and how people could have let all of it happen. Keep the good books coming!

  14. Martha,

    What a fabulous book. To actually explore the life of these women in such depth was so fascinating. Cringing at what they faced but seeing their courage and persistence was inspiring.

    You did such a good job writing this book that I’m amazed anyone could have captured the thoughts and responses these women had in a way that was so genuine. In other words, it was real, believable and thorough.

    You had me turning the pages late into the night. Never wrote to an author before but I had to write to you. Thank you for writing a book I will always remember.

    In appreciation,
    Mary

    1. Sorry to keep you up at night, Mary, but it sounds like you enjoyed it! 🙂 Thank you for your sweet note–honored to be the first author to whom you wrote!

  15. I loved listening to your book on CD. The use of three different narrators was very effective. I will miss being accompanied by your story as I drive to and from work and will look forward with great anticipation to another publication from you, if one will be forthcoming.
    I will say that I was disappointed not to hear Herta’s voice one last time after she is discovered. I would be curious to see what her internal reaction was- given how cold and disinterested she was with Kasia in that final scene. Especially, as you were so effective in giving a human voice to a person whose actions were so absolutely non-humane throughout the book.
    Thank you for sharing your talents and your passion with your readers.

    1. Hi Miriam,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed listening to Lilac Girls on tape.

      I totally understand your point about Herta, but I felt it was important to not know what happened to her, so we readers could discover what happens to Herta along with Kasia. (Can’t say too much or else it’s a spolier.) That meant I had to end her chapters earlier than the other two characters.

      Working hard on book #2, so you’ll have the prequel to accompany your drive soon!

      xx

      Martha

  16. Martha
    I am so sad I missed you in Denver yesterday!!! Always a day late :).
    I am about a quarter of the way through the book and I cant put it down. This time period in our history is my favorite. I love learning about different aspects of the war and how there were amazing people who did extraordinary things and some who lost everything for others, just doing what was right. You wrote something that truly touches the soul and showed a piece of European history during war time that some of us never understood (I didn’t realize there was a Ravensbrook and that they did such terrible things to innocent people).
    I absolutely love the book and cant wait until your next one.
    Thank you for writing a book that literally put me there in NY, Poland, Germany and France.
    Nina

    1. I loved your note, Nina. I was hoping the book would transport readers to the settings AND touch people, so that makes me feel like I did my job. Really appreciate your kind thoughts!
      xx
      Martha
      p.s. Working hard on book #2…can’t wait to share it. 🙂

  17. Wow, wow, wow!!!!! Just finished “Lilac Girls”. Absolutely amazing book!!! I learned so much and was completely sucked in to each characters story. Such a tragic situation. Written so well! I couldn’t put the book down.

      1. Hi Martha I’ve just finished your book last night and found it very difficult to put it down. I bought it with a book voucher received for my 70th birthday so have grown up hearing and reading about this period. I can remember my Father reading to Mum about the appalling conditions of the interminable roll calls and as we don’t have snow in most parts of NZ that sounded bad enough
        ! I think your drawing of Dr Herta was one of the best explanations I’ve ever read as to how the young were totally corrupted in the Hitler Youth, etc. My Danish grandparents emigrated to NZ in the early 1870s as they did not want to live in Germany. Now I have a Polish grandson and his Mother is Kasia. I’ve been to Warsaw 4 times since my son moved there in 2008. We went to Auschwitz and I was numb the whole time we were being shown around. The strength of Kasia and Caroline was just so impressive. I’m amazed that West Germany kept on saying Poland was not a country so they did not compensate victims. It was so impressive what Caroline achieved for the victims. Anne Odogwu

        1. Thank you for your lovely note Anne. What a fascinating family history you have! I can see why the book resonated with you since you’ve spent time in Poland and has a Kasia in the family.
          So glad you enjoyed the book!
          xx
          Martha

  18. I listened to this book and it is very well produced. The readers are really wonderful and I too could not put it down! Wonderful read and just gripes you. I did research online when I was about three quarters of the way finished and really appreciated the photos of these women. I can’t imagine how they were willing to have a medical procedure again from doctors from another country; they must have been so scared.

    Thank you for bringing their stories alive.

    Karen Moorhead

    1. Im so glad you enjoyed the audio book, Karen. I agree the readers are wonderful. They really make the story come alive. I agree that the women must have been terrified. The fact that many survived such horrific treatment and went on to overcome their terrible pasts is just astounding.

  19. Dear Martha,
    I recommended Lilac Girls to my book club after I read it in the Fall. Now, I am listeneing to it to refresh my memory since I am leading the discussion in two weeks. I loved reading it but REALLY LOVE listening to it with the three characters having different readers. It really has brought the characters to life for me. My in-laws, now deceased, lived in Poland during this time and many of their stories are reflected in parts of your story. Thank you so much for your beautiful narrative of this very difficult time in our history.
    Monica Latkiewicz

  20. Martha,
    Just finished reading Lilac Girls. Brought back memories. I was born in 36 and grew up during WWII. I saw many newsreels of the war, radio newscasters, their comments every evening. I think I was about 8yts. old when I realized what was going on. It scared me. I saw the newsreels of the Anerican soldiers going into the camps and these people. I have never forgotten it. I came across your book at the library. I read and laid it down. Went back to it read some more. I got that feeling again when I was hearing and seeing it. I finally finished it today. So many people say this did not happened. How they came to that ? Looking forward to your books.
    Donna Caudill Indiana.

    1. Dear Donna, I’m so glad Lilac Girls resonated with you. It was indeed a terrifying period! I have no idea how people can deny it happened, but I know it’s important to remember the terrible lessons of Ravensbruck.
      All the best,
      Martha

  21. I was three years old when the war ended. I grew up in West Berlin, and would go by train to visit my grandparents a few times a year. The train went past Fuerstenberg. But, nobody ever mentioned Ravensbrueck then or ever. Afer reading your book, On my next trip to Germany, I will take the train again and stop at the camp to psy my respect to the women who died and suffered at ths place. Thank you for writing the book,opening the eyes of younger generations to the evils of mankind. Never Again, we promise!

    1. What a lovely note, Antje and that is wonderful you will stop at Ravensbruck on your next trip to Germany to remember the women. Many, many thanks.

  22. Wow! This book is hands down my favorite book I have ever read!!! It is beautifully written and elaborates on numerous details that I did not even know about. It was so nice to have the maps at the back of the book to give myself a little glimpse of where the setting was taking place. I am truly looking forward to your next book! Thanks, Emma

  23. I loved LILAC GIRLS. I’m looking forward to our Book Discussion Group on Nov. 2, where we will be discussing it.

    May I ask a question? I appreciate that you “made up” the character of “Paul” as a ‘love interest’ for Caroline. (He was truly interesting as a
    character.) In real life, since there was no “Paul”, why did Caroline go to Paris. Was that part of her job?

    1. Hi Joyce, Paul was based on a real relationship Caroline had but I had to fill in a lot of details about him since there is no photo. Caroline went to Paris often since she kept an apartment there and had many French friends. Hope that answers your question!?

  24. Dear Martha,

    I am halfway through Lilac Girls and absolutely love it. I read a lot, and have read a lot about the Holocaust – but this story is new to me. Part of me can’t put the book down (I brought it to work, and read in my car during my lunch hour) and part of me wants to take it slow so it is not over too quickly. I cannot stop thinking about the characters.

    Is Kasia’s character real, or is she a compilation of other Rabbits?

    My twin lives in Connecticut, and I hope that we can make one of your book signings this spring! Thank you for writing such a wonderful book and I am so looking forward to the prequels!

    Carol

    1. So glad you’re enjoying it, Carol. In the paperback there is an author’s note at the back which explains a lot…but yes, Kasia is a compilation of many different “rabbits,” but mainly a woman named Nina Iwanska who was a wonderful person.Excited for you and your sister to come see the house…we are having a big event there the weekend after Mother’s Day, but any day the lilacs are in bloom is beautiful!

  25. Martha, your book was amazing, so well written, and I as well read it within a short time!
    I agree with so many of the previous comments so I wont repeat. I was in told awe that Kasia made the trip to see Herta in her doctor’s office and confronted her, it made me wonder if this could have happened and this was a kind of closure for her. It definitely had an impact seeing that Herta’s licence was revoked. Kasia was so brave and it was a very compelling scene.
    Also I want to say that though I have read fairly extensively on the Holocaust and I live in Israel for the past 40 years, I wasn’t so aware about the torture done to non-Jews. I grew up in Chicago, my parents were first generation Americans born to refugees from Lithuania and a few years ago I visited there and saw places where Jews were killed so cruelly.
    My husband teaches Alfred Adler’s Individual Psychology, who worked in Vienna and then the United States. Adler’s approach is based on several concepts, one of which is “Gemeinschaftefuhl” which is social interest, and involves concern for the (global) community and its welfare. This is a “feeling” which involves cognition and attitude as well as emotion.
    I see Caroline as fulfilling this in a tremendous way!
    Thanks so much, I am interested in reading more of what you write.

  26. Martha (was my sweet Grandma’s name):

    I happened upon this book at a St. Pete Beach hotel last weekend. I read everything holocaust and WWII’ish. I commute to Cambridge from RI daily and couldn’t put the book down and at times almost missing my stop. This was wonderfully written and gave us insight to each character each different but yet similar. I had heard about the “Rabbits” but not to this extent and so glad that I was bumped into this book! And I can’t part with this book . . . it will shelved and re-read another time. This time slower to take it all in!

    I have a need to see the Bellamy-Ferriday House and might make the trek from RI on May 19th!

    Thank you for the research and bringing the characters and their unfortunate/fortunate experiences to life.

    Karen d.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Karen. If you have not visited Caroline’s house yet, it’s so worth the trip! If you didn’t make it in May we are having another big event at the house in July.

  27. Martha,
    My wife and I both read Lilac Girls from cover to cover (figuratively as it was an iBook) and we were both deeply touched and moved by your writing. We had both been reading a lot of fiction and non-fiction about this period and we are both the children of Jewish immigrants to this country so your story really resonated with us. Last spring (1917) we were able to visit the Bellamy Ferriday House which was an amazing experience, adding depth and perspective to your story. There were no lilacs left but we did buy a rose bush that is flourishing in our garden and was the first of our roses to bloom this year. I am a seventy one year old who has had many considerations concerning travel to Germany which I have overcome and my wife and I are planning to go to Berlin as part of a Europe trip and we will be visiting Ravensbruck. You have had an amazing impact on our lives and your book was a gift for which we deeply thank you.
    Andrea and Gilbert Cohen

    1. Dear Andrea and Gilbert, Thank you for your lovely note. I’m so glad you had a chance to visit Caroline’s house and that one of her roses is growing in your garden. I completely understand your considerations concerning travel to Germany and so admire your decision to finally visit. I’d love to see a photo from Ravensbruck if you think of it…it is an incredible place to visit. Very sad as all the camps are, but strangely uplifting that many women made it through to liberation.

  28. Dear Martha,

    I checked out Lilac Girls from my local library but will now own a copy for myself. It will have the honor of sitting next to my copy of Wuthering Heights. This story is powerful and precious and you write beautifully. My only disappointment after reading Lilac Girls is that Paul was not real. I can’t wait to read more from you!

    All the best,
    Judy

  29. Hi, My husband read your book for his book club several months ago and recommended it to me for my book club. We were fortunate to meet you and have you graciously sign our book at the Ferriday home in Conn. when you were there this past spring. I have chosen your book for my upcoming book club on Nov. 2nd so if your ears are ringing, it is us discussing your thoughtful book! This past summer my husband and I travelled to Germany for vacation and while there visited Dachau Concentration Camp. There was a small mention there of Ravensbruck but more on the experiments also done on men at Dachau. Visiting a camp is difficult and sobering but essential in our understanding of this horrible period so it will never be repeated. Thank you bringing a piece of history forward so we will not forget these brave, strong women. Their story needed to be heard and shared…you have done this in a readable, personal way.

    1. Hi Adrienne, Wow you’ve been busy since we last met! Sobering but essential is a great way to put visiting a concentration camp. Thank you for the kind words about the book and I hope you have a great bookclub meeting. If it’s not too much trouble could you send me a picture of your group?
      Thank you!

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