Two Years Ago Today Lilac Girls Debuted

I love this picture. Taken two years ago today, it captures the joy and nervous excitement of the Lilac Girls pub day. It shows my sister Polly surprising me (in mid photo op) where it all began–at the Lilac Girls launch party at The Corner Bookstore in NYC. That night was surreal and just the beginning of an incredible two years. Thank you to all the amazing readers and book groups and bookstores for championing Lilac Girls. I’m grateful for you every day.

20 thoughts on “Two Years Ago Today Lilac Girls Debuted”

  1. I found Lilac Girls absolutely riveting. My Sister introduced me to this book. I have always loved reading books about World War 11 as my Father served for 5 years as an Army Air Force fighter pilot. I kept thinking over and over while reading the book that this was the author’s first novel and I just could not believe it. It was very disturbing at times due to the graphic reports but that just made me know that it was such a brilliant piece of work because I felt like I could picture the details. When it was getting to be too much emotionally, she would cut to less serious albeit serious stuff, for lack of a better word. It enlightened me about the Holocaust and the War. I now want to go to Poland and Germany and when I am in France this May I will look up some places from the book. I want to learn all I can about the Rabbits and I admire them for they are true heroes. People who persevere and endure through the most challenging of times. When I read that Ms Hall was writing a prequel, I was like, oh no, I want a sequel. I strongly believe that Herta was not punished justly. Especially after her arrogant comment about Hitler not being alive to witness whatever she commented on. Ridiculous. I was proud of Herta when she said she was not going to go through with the job and would be gone the next day. I was shocked to read in a subsequent chapter that she indeed decided to stay. That a woman could perform such atrocities on other women, children, and even pregnant women. No words can describe how a person could reconcile in their mind to behave this way. To feel so entitled for whatever reason that they think they are superior to equally important humans. It is so sad to think of patients’ with infections and how debilitating they can be. And to learn that they purposefully introduced all these foreign bodies in healthy women’s God given bodies after also adding a crippling surgery, is horrific. And for the male Dr.s own personal agenda to prove he was right. We should sympathize and empathize with people getting infections, let alone introduce them into healthy tissue. And maiming healthy women. Unforgivable. I am a nurse and we take an oath to be healers among other moral virtues. Physicians are held to an even higher standard to do no harm. Herta is a monster showing no remorse and she should have been hung or at the least put back in prison for life. On another lighter note, I really wanted Caroline to take back Paul. Especially when she knew he was single again. I wanted to know if she went back to France to see his daughter perform. I guess she had a higher calling and good for her to rise to what she believed in and to stay true to herself. I really fell in love with Caroline’s Mother. What a sweetheart. Such a contrast of compassion and love in comparison to the Nazi’s.

    1. Hi Pamela,
      I agree with all of your thoughts about Herta–she was not an isolated case, I’m afraid. So many of the doctors took advantage of their powerful positions. I can imagine being a nurse it’s hard to read about her!They were so brainwashed by Hitler and drunk on their own ambition they just put their morals aside. So many of their fellow Nazis were let out early. Caroline did not end up marrying Paul, who was based on a real relationship she had–she stayed single for the rest of her life. She was a very headstrong woman and had a wonderful life following her own path and doing good for others (pretty much the opposite of Herta!)

  2. I offered Lilac Girls as a summer read for my Freshman Honors English Language arts students. Mostly female students selected the book choice. Since then, other young ladies have heard (word-of-mouth) from them and me how captivating the storyline is! Thsnk you for this novel!
    Lauren Hurst, Ed. D
    Sylvania, OH

  3. i love your book. Do you ever speak in Connecticut. I would love to hear you in person. my husband and I are going to Poland in the fall, partly because of how moved i was by your writing. Msny thanks Ann Orr

    1. Wow, Ann–I’m so grateful I helped inspire your trip to Poland. And yes, I speak often at The Bellamy-Ferriday House in Bethlehem, CT. Next event there is in July and you can find out ticket info at my events page on my website. I hope you have a lovely trip to Poland!

  4. I haven’t read a book this wonderful in a long time. I learned so much, while completely rivoted by every single word. I listened on Audible, as I often do on my long commute to work. The voices telling the story were perfect. I couldn’t wait to get in my car each day.

  5. Mrs. Kelly, I just finished reading Lilac Girls. Thank you for writing this incredible book. I love WW II literature, particularly work based upon unknown heroines such as Caroline Ferriday. Your research to bring her and the other characters in this book to life is a work of art. I look forward to reading your next book.

    1. Thank you, Kristin. Can’t wait to share the prequel this coming spring. It’s called Lost Roses and focuses on Caroline’s mother Eliza.

  6. thank you so very much for researching and writing the Lilac Girls novel. I couldn’t put it down. I’m a bit at a loss for words…I was so enthralled with the story, the writing and the depth of expression of the experiences of the brave young women. They are forgotten no more!

    1. Thank you for your kind note, Rita. I’m so happy you enjoyed it. I just finished the prequel to Lilac Girls and can’t wait to share it this spring!

  7. Dear Martha….. I just read the last page of Lilac Girls… these girls… Caroline and her Mother… and you… will remain with me. I am grateful your son was with you on part of your journey… a very difficult one. I thank you for bringing even more awareness to me… to my soul. Hope to meet you one day. God bless.

    1. So glad, Linda. The prequel to Lilac Girls comes out next spring. Can’t wait to share it!

  8. Dearest Martha:

    I’m 3/4 of the way through your poignant and powerful novel Lilac Girls. Thank you for the layers of research and the gorgeous writing… Among the ugliness, you manage to slip in precious slivers of joy… so important in story telling and life.

    As a Jewish woman in my 50’s, the Holocaust is an ever-present part of my heritage. I felt a bit ashamed, not knowing about the Rabbits. Thank you for bringing them into the LIGHT.

    Our Gourmet Book Club (Los Angeles), will have a fascinating discussion in May, I just know it!

    Again, many thanks.

    1. That sounds like a delicious book club, Laura! If you think of it I’d love a photo of you all…I collect them on the bookclub page of my website. So glad you enjoyed the book!

  9. Presenting Lilac Girls next Thursday to an AAUW Book Club. There are seven of us and we all enjoyed the book.

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