Sunday, February 19, 2023



Lemons in the Garden of Love

By Ames Sheldon

ISBN: 9781647420482

A 2021 print release from

She Writes Press


Many prologues to novels are inept means of trying to solve structural problems in the story. Here, that is not the case. Author Ames Sheldon has created a sharply tuned, intensely moving and highly relevant novel. Set in the recent past and on the east coast, Sheldon writes with a keen eye for her setting. And while the novel follows a late Twentieth Century married graduate student named Cassie Lyman and her thesis research, Sheldon has used her settings in careful and evocative ways.

In some ways, Cassie’s journey through the American suffrage movement efforts of the late nineteenth and Twentieth Century, is a model for Cassie’s personal evolution. She’s a bright, hard-working PhD candidate in Women’s History at the university of Minnesota when she comes across a trove of records at Smith College. They chronicle the efforts of her relative, one Kate Easton, to support  a local women’s rights organization and move ruling politicians in Massachusetts to pass laws allowing women more autonomy over their own bodies through reasonable methods of birth control

Cassie’s research and her interactions with family members while attending her younger sister’s wedding, help her to resolve personal problems and open positive future possibilities. The characters in the novel are well-defined, the dialogue is always believable as is the blending of influence on Cassie from the letters and actions of her ancestor with her current situation.

Moving, emotional, well and carefully structured, this historical novel could easily find a place in the libraries of thoughtful women and men, and it should.


Monday, February 13, 2023



This week, Twin Cities audiences were treated to the farewell concert of the brilliant, very talented Emerson String Quartet. The group is on its final tour. Sunday afternoon, February 12, 2023, in the tonally excellent sanctuary of St. Anthony Park United Church of Christ, the quartet offered, to an enthusiastic and appreciative audience, Haydn’s Quartet No 29, Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 12, and Dvorak’s Quartet No. 14.

Violins soared in the Haydn and Dvorak, and the cello boomed dramatic and heart-stilling sequences in the piece by Shostakovich. The string quartet demonstrated forcefully and with subtle nuance it’s range of talent and musical appreciation.

The concert was one of series in the well-established Julie Himmelstrup “Music In The Park” series, now in its thirtieth decade. “Music In The Park” has become a part of the well-established classical music presentation efforts of the Schubert Club, now celebrating 140 years.

Tuesday, February 07, 2023



The Lost Dragon Murder   

By Michael Allan Mallory


A 2022 release from

Book Locker


A fascinating, enjoyable detective story. Author Mallory has captured the essence of good, persistent detective work that is often required to solve crimes. In this case, the crime is the murder of a professor of Asian Studies at a local college. Newly promoted detective Janet Lau catches the case and is soon joined by her uncle and mentor, Detective Henry Lau.

Soon enough readers will be enticed into the world of Kung fu, Midwestern police work and the shadowy world of antiquities, their location, possession and often questionable sales.

With careful balance between revelations that move the story forward and new clues that logically crop up throughout the narrative, the detective duo presents thoughtful and balanced use of all the tools available to the modern city detective. The atmosphere ranges from interviews with a satisfying range of characters to sudden spurts of physical danger and violence, to the sometimes-stultifying boredom of the stakeout.

Backgrounds of the two Lau detectives is nicely woven into the fabric of the narrative as they wade ever more deeply into a pool of odd and dangerous characters who act as welcome distortions. This novel is a good story with interesting characters, fine pace and great potential for further examination.