***Coming in May 2022***
Gina S. lives a life of order and routine. Each morning, she takes the train from her suburban condo to downtown Chicago for her job as secretary to a wealthy philanthropist. She likes to have a drink now and then—particularly, vodka—and although she is kind-hearted, she holds viewpoints some might consider politically incorrect. On the weekends, she watches movies or visits her elderly neighbor, a busybody who pesters Gina to prepare for Y2K.
One rainy weekend in March, unexpected events disrupt her habits. Gina’s coworker has arranged an unwanted blind date, a mysterious envelope arrives on her doorstep, and her brother leaves a halting voicemail from Korea, where he has traveled to pick up his adopted daughter. Gina is forced to confront a secret she’s been hiding for twenty years. Does she have enough strength for the journey ahead?
STARLING is an exploration of the essential bonds of family, the illusion of memory, and our innate, human ability to create a reality we can endure. And ultimately, it’s about giving and accepting love in whatever form it comes.
“Beautifully compelling and overflowing with artistic expression, a novel that captures the challenges and triumphs of the heart. Vensel White seamlessly forms a tapestry of prose with sharp yet lush descriptions and astute observations of the human dynamic. Starling shines light on the ways we imprison and ultimately release ourselves through the strength of our yearnings. A thoughtful and rich read that showcases the power of familial bonds.” ~ Cherie Kephart, author of A Few Minor Adjustments
Bellflower is as sharp as it is nuanced, as nostalgic as it is foretold. These layered stories are filled with a yearning to uncover where the characters have been, and with an openhearted longing, accept all that is still to come. A small gem of a novel, each vignette comes as a surprise, and each is a testament to how, just like in life, everything is woven and fused and pulling toward the other. ~ Deborah Reed, author of The Days When Birds Come Back
All the scenes in Bellflower are vivid and well-wrought; I was truly impressed by how quickly Vensel White drew the reader into these lives. A unique and powerful book. I will think about these characters for a long time. ~ Jessica Francis Kane, author of Rules for Visiting
These are the defining moments of life: the cancer scare, the mid-life crisis affair, the paternity test results that seem like the end of the world. Bellflower tells these stories about the human condition and reminds us that, in the end, we’re all connected. ~ Katie O’ Rourke, author of Blood & Water
Mary Vensel White has written a novel that captures the quiet poetry and repressed anguish of family life, much in the way Anne Tyler or Richard Yates can do, but with an experimental format that proves to be true to the nature of how memory works. A remarkable feat. ~ Scott Pack, author of Weightless Fireworks
“A haunting and provocative debut.” ~ Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train
“An ominous and psychological novel that manages both artful prose and an eerie plot.” ~ Linnie Greene, Flyleaf Books
“The Qualities of Wood grabbed me right away and held me in its thrall until the final page. The writing is tensely crafted and beautifully precise.” ~ Wendy Lawless, author of Chanel Bonfire
“How little we know our loved ones until faced with their families, both living and dead. Vensel White has packed a hornets’ nest of intrigue in The Qualities of Wood.” ~ Leslie Lehr, author of What a Mother Knows