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Martha Hall Kelly

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!

 
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Extremely moving and memorable . . . This impressive debut should appeal strongly to historical fiction readers and to book clubs that adored Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See.
— Library Journal (Starred Review)

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
  • For Book Clubs
  • Lilac Girls Discussion Questions


Check Martha's Availability

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Previous & Upcoming Events:

  • April 18, 2018: Cold Spring Harbor Luncheon - Cold Spring Harbor, NY
  • May 3, 2018: Litchfield Women's Forum - Litchfield, CT
  • May 8, 2018: Authors at New Canaan Library - New Canaan, CT
  • May 10, 2018: Glen Ridge Country Club - Glen Ridge, NJ
  • May 19th, 2018: Caroline's House - Bethlehem, CT
  • June 1, 2018: One Book One Bloomfield - Bloomfield, CT
  • Aug 16, 2018: The Bookstore at the Mount - Lenox, MA

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