The Amazing Portrait of Caroline Ferriday Returns Home to The Bellamy-Ferriday House


Last April I visited The Bellamy-Ferriday House in Bethlehem, Ct., Caroline’s lovely country home she and her family called The Hay. I turned the corner in her bedroom, a room I’d been to many times since I first started researching Caroline’s life for Lilac Girls and stopped in my tracks. On the lovely wallpapered wall was an oil portrait newly-donated to the house, painted of Caroline as a young woman. It was truly startling, as if Caroline was there in the room. The portrait is not signed but it is very nicely done and really captures Caroline’s beauty.

I revisited the portrait this past June when we were at the house shooting Stacey Fitzgerald’s documentary about the true story behind Lilac Girls. Dorothy Ambruso, one of the incredibly knowledgable house tour guides, told me visitors who take the house tour tell her they think Caroline looks like a famous actress onscreen today. Any thoughts on who they might be mentioning? Who does she look like to you?

15 thoughts on “The Amazing Portrait of Caroline Ferriday Returns Home to The Bellamy-Ferriday House”

  1. Don’t know who she looks like, but she is a pretty young lady! So incredible what she has done!

  2. She is so beautiful, and your story is wonderful. I didn’t know until the end that it was based on actual people and events. But I’d like to know how you came up with the title? Was it your publisher? I was referred to this book by a friend, but if I was looking through the shelves at B&N, I would never think it was about the War. Just curious! Thanks.

    1. Hi Alan, Yes my publisher came up with the title–my original one was The Rabbits of Ravensbruck. Not sure of their reasoning but I think they wanted a title that referred to Caroline as well as the Polish women and they liked how the lilac is a symbol of resilience. Took me some time to get used to it but I’m quite happy with it now.

  3. Martha,
    Thank you so much for writing your novel. Lilac Girls. Your story and words moved me so. At times, I found it necessary to pause for a moment, just in order to simply catch my breath. I am an avid reader with a keen interest in the WWII European Era. I have read many books on the subject, but none so insightful to the unimaginable suffering endured by the women of Poland sent to Ravensbruck.
    Thank you for introducing me to Caroline and Kasia and so many other women whose bravery is a testament to the unsinkable human spirit. “Long Live Poland!”
    Annette Mastrolia-Tynan

  4. I think she looks a lot like Ann Hathaway! PS – I just finished Lilac Girls and I am awestruck. An amazing story told in such a beautiful yet real way. Thank you for writing this amazing book, and I look forward to your future work!

  5. Martha
    Sorry it took me some time to finish reading your amazing book. I never wanted to put it down, however “stuff” kept getting in the way. Weddings, retirement, chairing a fundraiser etc.
    So proud that a Phi is able to write such an amazing re-creation of this era. It made me want to be there with every character (well Herta made me crazy as I am a healthcare professional!)
    Back to the portrait, which I want for myself! I stared at it and knew there was someone…I showed it to my husband and he immediately said Gwyneth Paltrow! I said yes and then read the other comments and agree also with Anne Hathaway and Jessica Pare who I had to google. Good luck with your book tours and writing the prequel.
    Take care

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book, Mary. Just trying to do Alpha Phi proud! 🙂 You know, I didn’t even think about Gwyneth Paltrow–you’re so right, though!


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