Team Lilac Visits Where Lilac Girls Began: The Bellamy-Ferriday House

As if I needed additional proof that I am the luckiest author ever, the Random House team behind Lilac Girls (and my agent Alexandra Machinist) took a road trip from New York City up to Bethlehem, CT. to visit The Bellamy-Ferriday House and Gardens.

It was so much fun to show them around the beautiful, old house and historic gardens they’ve had such a big part in showcasing and I was thrilled both sun and lilacs came out to welcome them. So much of the next book, Lost Roses, takes place here, so they were doubly happy to see where the story began.

18 thoughts on “Team Lilac Visits Where Lilac Girls Began: The Bellamy-Ferriday House”

  1. I devoured “Lilac Girls” in two days. I read it for a small community book club and wasn’t expecting to love it since I have read innumerable holocaust stories and novels set during world war II . But the “rabbits” in Ravensbrouck and the continued oppression of the Polish people well after the war ended was enlightening. I recommend this story for its historical significance and for the soul searching depth into personal relationships.

  2. I just finished listening to “The Lilac Girls” today and I thank you for telling this story. I did not know going in it was based on fact. The events of WWII are horrifying and this is just one of the books I have read about the war and man’s inhumanity to man. It breaks my heart that the word and accusations of Nazi is being used and so casually thrown around today. We in the United States have no true idea of the horrors that came with that regime, otherwise we would use that word carefully. Your book shed light on yet another horror of that time in human history and I pray humanity will one day rise above such cruelty. I look forward to your next book. Hooray for the Rabbits and their survival.

  3. I loved the book. I have listened to it two times. I am leading a book club discussion on it. Could you explain the title, Lilac Girls?

    1. Caroline explains to Kasia, when they are weeding in the garden, that lilacs only bloom after a harsh winter, just like the girls–they are blooming after their own harsh times.
      Have a good book discussion…if you think of it send me a picture of your book club…I love to post them on my website, on the book club page!



  4. This is an amazing book! I am an avid reader of WWII historical fiction, about the different people and events. There are many good books out there, but I found the lives of Caroline, Kaisa, and Herta a most enthralling story I couldn’t put down. Had no idea about the Rabbits. Thanks for researching and telling us the story about them and Caroline. I was disappointed to see it is your only novel. Are you working on another one, by any chance?

    1. So glad you enjoyed it, Maureen. Yes, I’m working on the prequel, due out next spring.

  5. I just finished Lilac Girls. What an incredible story! I was over half way through before I learned it was a true story. I had never heard of The Rabbits before. Thank you for sharing thier story. I was inspired to do more research about Ravensbrük. It was also amazing to find out this is your debut novel. You are an excellent writer and I look forward to your future books.

  6. Hello Ms. Kelly,
    Just finished your wonderful book Lilac Girls and was thrilled to find you are writing a prequel!! I look forward to a new story about Caroline’s family, and for a personal reason – my maiden name is Woolsey! My father’s family is from upper state NY, and I wonder if there is a connection somehow. I will try to find out!
    Thank you for your 10 years of research that created Lilac Girls. Truly remarkable!!
    Kyle O’Brien

    1. Thank you, Kyle! And how lucky you would be to be related to the Woolsey women–they were incredible!

  7. I officially finished Lilac Girls yesterday and have referred back to it several times already! I will tell my cousins about it immediately as we are Ferridays ancestors! I will be in a frenzy awaiting your prequel! You write so beautifully… as though Caroline were guiding your hand. Thank you for sharing the gift of your talent.

    1. Thank you, Kena! How wonderful that you are Ferriday ancestors…on Caroline’s father’s or mother’s side? You must be so proud to be related to her.

  8. I am having difficulty expressing in words the impact your book has had on me. I finished reading it a few hours ago and am still digesting all I have learned. My heart aches when the events of WW I are denied. Your book and exquisite talent for telling this story is so very important for future generations to know about. I too, was disappointed to find this is your first book and look forward to your next book, and many more after that. You are off to a great start. Once again, thank you on so many levels.

    Dorie Grimes

  9. I just began reading Lilac Girls. I was intrigued about the brief article you plucked from the May 1999 issue of Victoria magazine. Stopping dead in my tracks, I dug through my old issues of Victoria, and lo and behold, there it was. I too had read about Caroline Ferriday in 1999 but somehow, although the pictures were enticing, I missed the bigger picture. I suppose, living in California, the old homes and estates on the east coast seem light years away. Thank you for writing such an absorbing book regarding WWII and bringing to light more information on the atrocities that occurred during that horrific period. I love history. Looking forward to your next book!

    1. How funny, Judy–we both read the same article! If you’re ever in Connecticut you’d love Caroline’s house!

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