reviews: The Wrong Side of Eternity: A Present-Day Passion
"This is sucha great read; my heart is wrung out. I love your prose, your pacing, and your ability to move from one person's story to the next; I love your literary references, I like how you set it up like a play. You know your subject, the places and the time, yet there's no self-satisfied ego there, no neatly anticipated sweet resolutions. There's irony, but it's relevant. We are empowered to connect." --- M. Dewey-Tudor, artist
"Masterfully written and well-conceived, The Wrong Side of Eternity is an important, thought-provoking novel with staying power. Mendenhall skillfully layers powerful dramatic details into this emotionally-stirring tale. Both the setting and complex characters are vividly drawn and believable, making for an engrossing read. Mendenhall definitely knows how to write." - NY Literary Magazine
Kirkus Reviews (summary): “This novel, set alternately in Uganda and California, offers a paradigm of struggle between faith and the secular world…A demanding but rewarding religious story.”
"Deep, dark, enlightening." -- J. Hills, RN
book review: Michael and the Ice Princess: A Mystical Romance
initial review by A. E. Rawlinson, London: "This extremely well-written novel fulfills the promise of its sub-title ‘A Mystical Romance’, for here we have a subtle blending of the two that is extremely beguiling and imaginative... We are at once entertained, mystified, enthralled, and spiritually nourished by her marvelous characters. Drawing on rich and eclectic sources, Mary Mendenhall has produced a memorable tapestry of great power and beauty... [a] very satisfying work."
COMMENTS: from Elizabeth Sherrill, co-author of The Hiding Place: “More readers for this enchanting tale! It really is a journey inward, taking the reader into his own depths.
from Catholic devotional writer Henri Nouwen in 1995: "I love the idea of a 'mystical romance.'"
from Celtic harpist Kim Robertson: "I was sorry it was so short; I could have used 300 more pages."
"Mary is an extremely talented musician, both in her vocal abilities as well as in her talents on the oboe and mandolin. She played with several San Diego orchestras and other musical groups. I often made special trips to hear her perform in concert. Her style is very mellow, very spiritual, very inspired. She plays folk, classical, religious music, and show tunes. She is very accomplished and easy to listen to. Mary would bring a blessing to any church, nursing home, or recovery-type home who may wish to engage a spiritual, inspiring-to-listen-to musician." --Gail Voorhes, Educator
"Curative Characters is an innovative approach to health education. It captures the viewer's attention in a funny and playful manner. The presenter is able to unlock viewers' memory power by using a technique called 'association': combining new information with the familiar. In the guise of a 'curative character', she uses multiple metaphors and analogies... I believe any agency looking to improve the amount of information their clients retain should take full advantage of Curative Characters by arranging to add this to their program schedule. People love to laugh and this practically has the audience rolling on the floor at times. I love it!" -- Sheila J. Collins, MSW, social worker
What I think of Reviews...
I pick up a 'trade paperback' and find 3 pages of positive reviews before the cover page, all from reputable critics and literary authorities. Then I read the book, a "New York Times Bestseller" -- and slog through cliche and repetitive phrases until I reach a fairly predictable conclusion. I try to pick up some positive techniques in nuance, style... I do not write Formula Novel; this is why my best reviewers are normal, everyday people. Romantic Idealist that I am, I still believe that word of mouth and personal recommendation should be a good reason to read a book. So I WELCOME your feedback and readers' comments: please use the Contact form and I might include YOU as a critic in the 'front pages' of a future novel!
On the Back Burner: The NEXT book is a Nouwen-esque memoire based on The Dream of St. Clare... a look at the interplay between spirituality and sexuality, sprinkled with Hebrew word study, personal musings, and thoughts about Divine dependence. I hope to engage a well-known Franciscan writer to pen the prologue.