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First Visit to a Book Club to Talk Lilac Girls Was Beyond Wonderful.

IMG_6195After over ten years researching and writing Lilac Girls, in a solitary state, it’s been so much fun to get out and meet readers. But my first book club visit yesterday took connecting with readers to a fabulous new level. Our host Debby Fleischer (far right) made it all happen. She contacted me when the book first debuted and invited me to her Atlanta home for the book club.


The first sign it was going to be a memorable day was the delicious nalynsky club member Laura Liszczak Cleary brought, which she prepared from a recipe often made by her Polish family. I’d had delicious Polish food when I was researching in Lublin and Warsaw but these light, little fruit-filled mini pancakes were just heavenly.


Host Debby and chef extraordinaire Laura prepare the delicious Polish nalysnky


The book conversation was incredible and several of the members shared fascinating family WWII stories. Everyone had read the book, so we didn’t have to be mindful of spoilers and the time flew by. I was there to impart Lilac Girls wisdom but ended up learning so much from the group members.

Before I left, Laura pressed a velvet pouch into my hands. “I had to give you this,” she said, “for writing this book.”


In the pouch was a family heirloom, a tiny cedar pillow a family member had hand-stitched, the cedar insert crafted long ago from flowered sheeting. The card: “With deepest gratitude for sharing our story.” I’ll always cherish it. What a lovely (but teary!) way to end an incredibly memorable first Lilac Girls book group visit.



  • Laura Cleary says:

    I am still glowing from your visit with our book club last week! It was an extraordinary experience to share your book and our stories amongst a group of intelligent, strong and passionate women. Lilac Girls helps us to remember and not forget our family histories. Your book has prompted continued dialogue between three generations of our family, and for that I am eternally grateful. Thank you for sharing your journey and reminding us that one person can truly make a difference in the world!
    Long live Poland! Laura Cleary, née Liszczak

    • says:

      Dear Laura,

      I’m so happy you enjoyed the book discussion–I’ve been telling everyone about how wonderful it was. And isn’t that fantastic that the book has started a dialogue in your family?

      I cherish my little cedar pillow and have it in a special spot in my office. It is a symbol to me of a fiercely strong Poland that will always fight to be free and will remind me that speaking up and doing the right thing as Caroline did is what we should always strive for.

      All the best,


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