Spring Came Early This Year Thanks to this Lovely New Lost Roses Map

Once I finished writing Lost Roses, the prequel to Lilac Girls, the first thing I did was ask the wonderful illustrator Holly Hollon to create another incredible map. Just as she did for Lilac Girls, she made the book come alive, this time from Russian former aristocrat Sofya Streshnayva’s point of view, Caroline Ferriday’s Mother Eliza’s best friend. It focuses on Sofya’s world after she is forced to leave Russia, when she seeks refuge in Paris. The map gives a few clues about the plot of book #2 and highlights some of the book’s scenes around Paris, including the infamous Rue de Chabanais brothel, my all-time favorite French candy store and Eliza Ferriday’s Paris apartment. I hope you enjoy this little taste of spring in January.

The Lost Roses Book Tour: Coming to a City Near You.

My publicist Melanie DeNardo and the rest of Team Roses at Random House have worked so hard on this incredible book tour for my Lilac Girls prequel, Lost Roses. I can’t wait to get on the road this spring and come see everyone. Hopefully a city near you is on the list, but if not I love Skyping with book groups!

A Gorgeous Christmas for the Romanov Children

When I was researching the prequel to Lilac Girls, Lost Roses, I came across this photo of the Tsar’s children many times, but then I stumbled upon this wonderful website and found it colored in such a natural way it came to life. Colorization is a slow and demanding process (in doing the Civil War research I’m working on now, I’ve found colorizing was insanely popular) and it is done so well here. (Black and white version below.)


I’ve included a few more colorized Romanov pics, below (especially love the one one of Tatiana with the Tsarina’s favorite lilacs.)  You can find them and more here:

How Hitler Brought a Whole New Weird to Christmas.

One of the scenes from Lilac Girls that readers often ask me about is the one, which takes place at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, where the camp staff, including the commandant, dress up as angels and shepherds and celebrate their own Nazi version of a Christmas party. “Is that based on fact?” they ask. Yes. In researching the book, it was fascinating to see how, during WWII, Hitler and Himmler actively suppressed all spiritual doctrines and created their own twisted religion.


Under Himmler’s watch, swastikas became part of Germany’s Christmas pageants, getting equal if not higher billing than the traditional crosses.


Hitler’s new religion was mandatory for members of the SS and many ardent Hitler supporters practiced the new religion and incorporated the swastika into their Christmas trees and holiday cards.

images-1Nazi Christmas card


Nazi Christmas tree, above, ornaments below.


Soon Goebbels and Himmler were spreading their new, sanitized version of Christianity, one that removed God and Jesus from the narrative.


 Magazines targeted at German women, like Frauen-Warte  below, espoused Hitler’s religion, based on ancient runes, where the winter solstice was the focus, not God or Jesus. Suggesting the German people were supreme, editorials encouraged Germans to worship themselves, not God.

images-7 Once the war ended and Hitler was no longer in power,  Christians in West Germany returned to their pre-war religious practices. But it’s disturbing to see how quickly one man could come so close to virtually erasing all traditional religions in Germany. This happened over seventy years ago, but this holiday season it’s a good reminder that we have to be vigilant to protect all of our precious rights.


Chilling illustration, by a prisoner, of camp administration celebrating Christmas at the camp









Like to Give a Signed Copy of Lilac Girls for the Holidays, Inscribed to Someone Special? Just call Hickory Stick Books.


When I moved to Litchfield County a year ago I was thrilled to be just a short drive away from the wonderful Hickory Stick Bookshop. So this holiday if you’d like a signed Lilac Girls copy, with a personal inscription to someone special, just give Hickory Stick a call or email and next weekend, December 15th I will sign it and add your personal message. They can gift wrap it and ship to you or directly to the recipient. (I have 30 of the Lilac Girls holiday postcards, below, and can add one with a message, as well.) They have amazing children’s books, too. (Tallulah’s Ice Skates, below, ages 4-7, is such a great book and makes a lovely gift.) Super easy way to make someone happy this holiday!

Hickory Stick phone:  860-868-0525    Or email:

holiday postcard