All Your Pretty Dreams by Lise McClendon- a review

All Your Pretty Dreams by Lise McClendon-a review


ALL YOUR PRETTY DREAMS 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.

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Copy supplied by author

Reviewed by Sandy


Lise McClendon writes fiction from her home in Montana. She is the author of seven novels, short stories, and articles. In 1997 she wrote and directed the short film, The Hoodoo Artist, featured at the Telluride Indiefest. She has served on the national boards of directors for Mystery Writers of America and International Association of Crime Writers/North America. She is on the faculty of the Jackson Hole Writers Conference and co-presents the workshop for writers, Truly Richly Deeply: Structure and Depth in the Novel.

Lise also writes under the pseudonym Rory Tate. The first Rory Tate thriller is JUMP CUT.

“After thirty years writing fiction has become as necessary as breathing. Finding the essential story in the novel, chipping away the rock until the solid core is revealed, is an adventure and a joy.”



12 thoughts on “All Your Pretty Dreams by Lise McClendon- a review

  1. Sandy, I enjoyed your review!! I enjoy reading books about small towns and their citizens. Does a vampire live in Red Vine? just kidding I will have to check it out!

    • *checks through the storyline for Jules*…hmmmm, I don’t see any mention of a vampire…but one never knows these

      the novel is a sweet story of family life in a sleepy town where very little changes from generation to generation..but even as everything does change….everything stays the same….make sense?

  2. When you think of Polka I think of Lawrence Welk. Sounds interesting. Old world values. Label sticking with for life regardless if true or false. TBR

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