Travels from: Connecticut
Martha Hall Kelly is a native New Englander, and author of Lilac Girls, which was an instant New York Times bestseller the week it was published in April 2016. This beautiful debut novel is 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 US for rehabilitation and the trip of a lifetime. Martha researched the story for over ten years; Publishers Weekly lauded it as "a page-turner, demonstrating the tests and triumphs civilians faced during war, complemented by Kelly's vivid description of history and excellent characters."
Martha worked as an advertising copywriter for many years, and raised three wonderful children while researching and writing Lilac Girls. She's hard at work on two prequels to Lilac Girls. The first, The Last Roses, 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 anti-abolitionists who tended to wounded soldiers on the Gettysburg battlefield.
Martha holds a degree in Journalism from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University and a Master's degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School. She lives in Connecticut and Martha's Vineyard.
Lilac Girls has been published in 20 languages, and the Bellamy-Ferriday house, former residence of the novel's Caroline Farriday, is breaking records as Lilac Girls readers flock to the destination by the busload!
Talks and Topics
How Lilac Girls Was Born and Brought a Long Buried Story to Light
The Secrets of Ravensbruck: Hitler's Only All-Female Concentration Camp
Hidden Stories of Amazing Women Who Changed History
The True WWII Story Behind Lilac Girls and the Ravensbruck Rabbits
Caroline Farriday and her Exquisite Garden
How Martha Wrote Lilac Girls and Three Steps to How You Can Unleash Your Bestselling Novel
Lessons for Today from Lilac Girls and WWII
The Last Roses - The Prequel: How Lilac Girls Began
Lilac Girls Discussion Questions
Check Martha's Availability
In the News:
"New Canaan Library Presents Martha Hall Kelly, Author of Lilac Girls" - New Canaanite (Apr 2018)
"A Conversation with Martha Hall Kelly" - CT Style, (Apr 2018)
"Lilac Girls Tells a Holocaust Story All But Forgotten Today" - Tuanton Daily Gazette (Feb 2018)
"How a Book on WWII Rabbits of Ravensbruck Leapt into Bestseller Lists" - The Times of Israel (May 2017)
"Lilac Girls is Gone With the Wind for WWII" - MV Times (July 2016)