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"Lise McClendon expertly probes the mystery of human desires" -- Michael Connelly, bestselling author
About the Author
Lise McClendon has published ten novels, including Blackbird Fly and Jump Cut (written as Rory Tate.) Her writing has been praised as "a lyrical, often humorous style." Bestselling author Michael Connelly called her writing "a richly detailed story that quite simply gets to your heart." Her love of family dynamics and the mysterious ties that bind us together continue to inform her fiction.
This is not Lucas Davenport's Minnesota, but it is populated by the author's finely developed and diverse characters that interact on different tangents. And governing it all is a philosophy dictated by an accordion. It's a great read with only one negative--the non-serif font is really hard on the eyes.
I love this author and this book. The family struggles, sad times and funny times were so real to life anyone could enjoy this book. This is the fourth book I read by this author and she never disappoints me. Looking forward to many more.
ALL YOUR PRETTY DREAM is the August 2012 release by author Lise McClendon. Focusing on small town Red Vine, Minnesota and the citizens who reside there, All Your Pretty Dreams centers on the Knobel family's struggle with love, betrayal, aging and growing up. The world and people around Red Vine are moving forward, but the citizens of the sleepy town seem to be stuck in a time warp where old habits and Saturday afternoon teas lead to Sunday Polka mass and affairs with the neighbor.
Jonny Knobel has returned to his childhood town at the request of his father. A long standing tradition of playing in the `Notable Knobels' Polka band has brought Jonny back to Red Vine and life as he once knew it will forever be changed. A recent separation from his self-centred wife, the discovery of his father's affair and a graduate student researching the mating habits of bees will find Jonny contemplating where it all went wrong. Needing to keep busy, Jonny puts his draftsman's brain on over drive and has designs on renovating an old grain silo.
Isabel Yancey is a graduate student studying entomology. With her crew of college age students, they embark on a field study of bees and pollination in the town of Red Vine, Minnesota. But feeling more like a chaperone and camp leader, then scientist and researcher, Isabel will find herself attracted to the motel owner's son-one Jonny Knobel-only she is of the belief that he is still married. Perhaps a change in attitude and appearance will make Jonny remember her name next time they meet. But someone from her past will ensure that Jonny's eyes look elsewhere.
Lise's storyline reads like any small town USA where the citizens remain caught in a world of their own. Parents grow old but their adult children still hold grudges and animosity, passing traditions down that they themselves find dull and dated at times. But judgmental parents and aging traditions are not exclusive to the back woods of Red Vine and neither are the rumors everyone remembers from high school back home.
When Isabel's grandfather dies, it is Jonny who volunteers to take her back to Chicago. But her wealth and family put Jonny on edge and if the rumors he heard were true Isabel was not the woman for him. Returning to Red Vine, Jonny packs up and heads back home where work and a lawyer's appointment sit waiting.
Jonny's sister was missing. She hadn't been seen for several days, and without thinking, Jonny and his family begin to suspect she ran off with one of Isabel's students. Realizing the implication of the accusations, Isabel is taken aback, but her concern for the missing young woman is more than Jonny expected, so he headed to Chicago to check on some leads. A week later Wendy would return without explanation and the cycle of life would continue.
Jonny's grain silo design had won. A prestigious honor in the architectural world, but he had no idea who or how it was entered into the competition. With his divorce final, he headed to Chicago but the prize that awaited him was something he had been waiting for his entire life.
ALL YOUR PRETTY DREAMS is a sweet story that begins slowly- plodding through the daily lives of the Knobel family in Red Vine Minnesota. Lise McClendon builds up a metaphor of sorts comparing the rhythm of the accordion to the lessons found in life. At times, the story seemed to falter as it got caught up in the monotony of the town, and like the music metaphor, the author would find her rhythm and the tempo would increase. All Your Pretty Dreams is a love story that took almost an entire book to come to realization and in the end two people would find that their heart's beat to the same rhythm -as one.
Off to a slow start with a town full of characters introduced all at once and with more of the setting than I need in the beginning, "All Your Pretty Dreams" finally pulled me in. Because the characters are quirky and fun, each of the major ones fully drawn, I quickly began to care about them. Also helpful was a setting that became more interesting as I read and the fact the major male character plays an accordion--not something you read about every day. This is a story about searching for what will make the two main characters happy, both with each other and for themselves individually.
I recommend keeping a character list when you begin reading this novel. I think the book will be worth your time if you do that because it has many different and fine qualities--the writing, the characters, once you get to know them better, and yes, even the setting. Overall, a satisfying read.