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Lilac Girls 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

  • […] could tell me who did it. Little did I know I would be working with her a few months later, on a custom map for author Martha Hall Kelly’s site. It’s so funny how things work out like that! This […]ReplyCancel

    • pollyOctober 28, 2014 - 1:03 pm

      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!ReplyCancel

  • MARTHA HALL KELLY MAP | Holly HollonOctober 14, 2014 - 3:15 am

    […] her journey as she researched for her book, “The Rabbits of Ravensburg.” Check it out here and check out my interview on Ann Parker’s website […]ReplyCancel

  • Colleen Johnson NathanApril 10, 2015 - 3:28 am

    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.ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comApril 11, 2015 - 12:08 am

      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.ReplyCancel

  • Jacquie MarksApril 25, 2016 - 4:33 am

    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.ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comApril 26, 2016 - 11:52 pm

      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!ReplyCancel

  • Deborah VonglisApril 25, 2016 - 6:09 pm

    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!ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comApril 27, 2016 - 12:01 am

      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! :)))ReplyCancel

      • Deborah AllanNovember 14, 2016 - 5:44 pm

        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 AllanReplyCancel

        • Marthakelly10@gmail.comNovember 23, 2016 - 11:38 pm

          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,

  • David MontanoMay 11, 2016 - 2:15 pm

    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.

    Saludos desde Santiago de Chile.ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comMay 13, 2016 - 12:36 pm

      ¡Eres mas que bienvenido!ReplyCancel

  • Kathy DavisMay 31, 2016 - 12:11 am

    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, KathyReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comJune 3, 2016 - 6:18 pm

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

  • Lola HahnJune 8, 2016 - 12:23 am

    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.

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comJune 8, 2016 - 4:35 pm

      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!



  • sueJune 22, 2016 - 11:46 pm

    Cant wait to read your book!! I am 229 on the waitlist at library,it sounds sooo good!!ReplyCancel

  • Wanda SmithJune 26, 2016 - 4:01 am

    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 .ReplyCancel

  • Patricia Ann DeNunzioJuly 4, 2016 - 2:01 am

    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.ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comJuly 14, 2016 - 2:18 pm

      Thanks so much, Patricia…writing the prequel now! :)ReplyCancel

  • Debra BoldonJuly 11, 2016 - 4:03 pm

    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.ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comJuly 14, 2016 - 2:22 pm

      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!



  • anne herseyAugust 3, 2016 - 6:34 am

    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.ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comAugust 10, 2016 - 6:49 pm

      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!



  • Kristen MeolaAugust 6, 2016 - 1:22 pm


    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!

    Kristen MeolaReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comAugust 10, 2016 - 6:29 pm

      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!



  • NicoleAugust 9, 2016 - 1:54 am

    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!ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comAugust 10, 2016 - 6:55 pm

      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!!!ReplyCancel

  • MarciaAugust 20, 2016 - 1:56 pm

    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!ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comAugust 26, 2016 - 3:41 am

      So glad you liked Lilac Girls, Marcia. Doing my best to keep them coming! :)ReplyCancel

  • ReneeSeptember 14, 2016 - 6:21 pm

    Love the book and this website.ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comSeptember 14, 2016 - 6:25 pm

      Thanks, Renee!ReplyCancel

  • Mary BrauerOctober 12, 2016 - 2:54 pm


    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,

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comOctober 28, 2016 - 12:31 am

      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!ReplyCancel

  • miriam snowbellOctober 27, 2016 - 9:56 pm

    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.ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comOctober 28, 2016 - 12:22 am

      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!



  • Nina LombardiNovember 15, 2016 - 4:30 am

    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.

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comNovember 23, 2016 - 11:33 pm

      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!
      p.s. Working hard on book #2…can’t wait to share it. :)ReplyCancel

  • LindsayDecember 19, 2016 - 2:23 am

    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.ReplyCancel

    • Marthakelly10@gmail.comDecember 19, 2016 - 4:18 am

      So glad you enjoyed it, Lindsay! Really appreciate your very kind words. :)ReplyCancel

      • ANNE ODOGWUDecember 29, 2016 - 10:47 pm

        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 OdogwuReplyCancel

        • Marthakelly10@gmail.comDecember 30, 2016 - 4:06 am

          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!

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