Martha Hall Kelly » Author

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Musical Inspiration


Here are a few of the songs that inspired scenes in Lilac Girls, and in the case of Emmanuel, the tone of the whole book.

O Come O Come Emmanuel

Mary Elizabeth Kelly


Almost Lover

 A Fine Frenzy


The Fear You Won’t Fall

Here We Go

We Are Okay

 Joshua Radin

My original musical inspiration for the book way back when I started writing it. My daughters and I met Joshua in Paris and though already a fan, I became hooked for life.

Little Child in a Manger

Seaphic Fire & Patrick Dupre Quigley

Nothing captures the 1940s mood like Seraphic Fire. Love their Christmas album.

All My Loving

I’ve Got Nothing to do Today

 The Well Pennies

Great, fun songs for evoking the happier scenes.

By My Side

Kara Dunlevy and Mary Elizabeth Kelly

New Slang

The Shins



This never gets old. Always inspiring. For me, really captures what Lublin, Poland went through in WWII.

I Want the World to Stop

Belle and Sebastian

Jump Up Behind Me

James Taylor

Just because it’s amazing and evokes happiness like no other song.

Skeleton Key

Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos

Great for conjuring the feeling of a difficult relationship.

Comptine d’un autre ete

Yann Tierson

Winter Song

 Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson

  • KathleenFebruary 26, 2016 - 5:30 pm

    Just finished my ARC copy of Lilac Girls, and several friends have lined up to borrow it. I found the story not only riveting, but profoundly moving; and in fact, I read the final chapter in tears. How unique to include this musical accompaniment that inspired your writing! Glad I visited your website…it’s another facet to round out the experience of Lilac Girls. And p.s., thanks for including additional sources of material about Ravensbruck. As a reference librarian, I’m compelled to read and learn more…ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comFebruary 26, 2016 - 8:04 pm

      Dear Kathleen,
      It means the world to me to hear that you enjoyed Lilac Girls…my goal when writing it was to showcase these women whose story had been forgotten and help people understand how moving it was, so I’m thrilled that you connected with it in a deep way!
      Thank you for reaching out.
      All the best,
      p.s. I have a list of books re. the subjects in Lilac Girls, which I will eventually put on my website. If you’d like a copy I can email it to you.ReplyCancel

  • Sherrey MeyerApril 1, 2016 - 12:02 am

    Martha, thank you for writing this lovely yet haunting piece of women’s history during WWII. Without courageous and hardworking writers like yourself, so many stories would be lost to the world of reading forever.

    I noted in my ARC a mention of a listing of references and after searching your site didn’t find them. I’m assuming that in all the busyness of launch date and marketing it’s something that hasn’t happened. Any chance you could share your listing with me via email or notify me when it goes up on the site? I’m very interested in knowing more about these women and their courage.

    Thanks for an incredibly powerful read. I’m off to review it now!ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comApril 1, 2016 - 1:16 am

      Thank you for all the wonderful support, Sherrey. I just sent you an email with an answer too long to be contained here. Hope you enjoy reading more about the story!ReplyCancel

  • Kris VAugust 2, 2016 - 3:51 pm

    What a wonderful read Martha! Actually, I listened on audiobook, which really lent itself to more tears, laughter, and emotion. I have always enjoyed books about this time in history and never heard about the Rabbits previously. I would LOVE to see this book come to life in the theatres for so many others to see. Thanks again for your many years of research that went into this wonderful work! I too am interested in learning much more and would appreciate that list of books or other resources you mentioned. Also looking forward to the prequel as I crave to know more! Take care & best wishes on your book tour as you continue to shine a light on these lovely ladies that endured such a journey.ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comAugust 10, 2016 - 6:44 pm

      Thanks so much, Kris. I am working on a list of books to put on the website, but for now I included a short list at the end of the hardcover.There are SO many good Ravensbruck books…if you search on Amazon or Google about ten come up, all worth reading! I especially liked Ravensbruck: Everyday Life in a Women’s Concentration Camp 1939-45. It describes what life was really like at the camp. You may also enjoy reading The Dawn of Hope: A Memoir of Ravensbrück by Genevieve De Gaulle Anthonioz, which details General De Gaulle’s niece’s imprisonment there.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy SteffesAugust 10, 2016 - 5:29 pm

    I don’t know why I am so drawn to Holocaust stories, probably because they display such human resilience and I am trying to understand how one race could perform such atrocities to another. One of my first jobs in the late 1970s was as a cashier in a predominately Jewish community store and I witnessed war camp numbers tattooed on the arm of an elderly woman who regularly shopped there. There seems to be a large number of books published lately about WW2 and my theory for this is that most of this generation is gone and the relatives of survivors are telling the tales of these survivors. This book was not what I expected and I appreciate your view on Herta Oberheuser because it has given me a new perspective on how these individuals viewed their actions. Her crimes are no less horrendous to me but for the first time, I can see how they viewed their situation. This book gave me a lot to think about and as an American, I am proud of the diligence of Caroline Ferriday in getting help for these heroic women. Thank you for bringing this tragic story to the attention of the world.ReplyCancel

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