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Martha Hall Kelly
Martha Hall Kelly is a native New Englander, now living in Atlanta, Georgia.
Martha Hall Kelly's inspiration for Lilac Girls came about when she toured the Bellamy-Ferriday House in Bethlehem, Connecticut, where Caroline Ferriday lived. It is a lovely old-federal style home with a magnificent garden. During the tour, Martha noticed a black and white photograph of a group of Polish women. “They are the Lapins–the rabbits,” the guide said. “Caroline took up their cause after they were experimented upon by the Nazis at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp.” Thus a novel was born. Here is a link to the Bellamy-Ferriday House if you are interested in touring and seeing the inspiration for the novel http://www.cthistoricgardens.org/gardens/bellamy-ferriday-house-garden/
Future Books by Martha Hall Kelly
Martha Hall Kelly is working on two prequels to Lilac Girls. The first, Gin Lane, takes place in WWI and tells the story of Caroline’s mother Eliza’s fight to help Russian refugees displaced by the revolution there. The second prequel takes place during The Civil War and tells the story of Caroline’s ancestors, the incredibly philanthropic Woolsey women, staunch abolitionists who tended to wounded soldiers on the Gettysburg battlefield.
Did you know?
The novel is historical fiction, based on the true story of 72 Polish women who were imprisoned and experimented on at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp and how Caroline Ferriday, an American philanthropist and former actress brought them to the U.S. for rehabilitation and the trip of a lifetime.
1. What role did—could—compassion play in the horrific conditions of Nazified Europe? What were the dangers to those who attempted to act compassionately? How might you have chosen if faced with such a dire dilemma: compassion vs. risk?
2. Talk about the different backgrounds of Caroline, Kasia, and Herta, and how their lives are shaped by their upbringing.
3. Both Caroline and Kasia make foolish mistakes. Does that affect your ability to elicit sympathy for the two characters?
4. "Man's inhumanity to man" is one of the main concerns of LiLac Girls. Talk about the "slippery slope" on which Herta finds herself. How did she end up in the untenable situation in which she finds herself? How culpable is she?
5. Were parts of this book too difficult to read? Is there a need to continue writing about these experiments?
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Lilac Girls by
Publication Date: 2016-04-05
New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline's world is forever changed when Hitler's army invades Poland in September 1939--and then sets its sights on France. An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power. The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents--from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland--as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.
The Alice Network by
Publication Date: 2017-06-06
Two women--a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947--are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.
The Women in the Castle by
Publication Date: 2017-03-28
Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined. Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges.
The Nightingale by
Publication Date: 2015-02-03
FRANCE, 1939 In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband as he heads for the Front. When a German captain requisitions Vianne's home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Vianne's sister, Isabelle, meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis and she falls in love. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance risking her life time and again to save others. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom.