Reviews

CLARA’S WISH:

“Marvelously layered, Clara’s Wish is a captivating tale of family secrets and a long concealed mystery. With a deft hand, the author skillfully tells the story through compelling dialogue and realistic backgrounds. S. M. Senden is an author to watch.”

    Marilyn Meredith, author of Raging Water. Epic award winner, Lingering Spirit.

“In the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Clara’s Wish quickly engulfs us in Clara’s greatest desire and in getting her wish, unfortunately, havoc follows. Clara’s Wish is a compelling, fast-paced yet atmospheric novel of intrigue and small town murder. S. M. Senden sends you right down the pipeline to caring about the characters, the crime, cold case as it is, and has you enthralled from beginning to end, all in style.”

    Robert W. Walker, author of Children of Salem, Killer Instinct, Cutting Edge and more.

“Secrets from the past. A little romance. A touch of mystery. Clara’s Wish takes readers back to a simpler time, a time when society’s rules were much stricter . . . but murder was just as deadly. It was AWESOME! Clara’s Wish is a must read!!”

    Nichole R. Bennett, author of Ghost Mountain

LETHAL BOUNDARIES:

“Lethal Boundaries is a very good book. It starts out with a bang and keeps you reading.”

    – C. Greiskalns

READ MORE REVIEWS ON GOODREADS AND AMAZON.

I finished it Sunday night. Difficult to put down! Good job–if you write any more, let me know. Kathy B

Your book is awesome, just finished it. I really liked it, started this morning and didn’t put down til just now when I finished it. Really keeps you wanting to read more. Thanks again!!! C Major

If I pick up a book and finish it within 24 hours that only means the book is fantastic and I could not put it down. YES, I finished it and LOVED IT, LOVED IT, LOVED IT. S Kuta

If I pick up a book and finish it within 24 hours that only means the book is fantastic and I could not put it down. YES, I finished it and LOVED IT, LOVED IT, LOVED IT. S Henning

I finished this book in one day! Evocative! spooky! A. Norman Wish is a page-turner! I did not put it down till I was finished. January 31, 2013 (Amazon)
Clara’s Wish blends old-fashioned real Midwestern history with thoughtful and fascinating psychological profiles. Sweet-and-sourness-of-life dramas, truthful character assessments, soul-enlightening judgments, criminal motivators. All people portrayed in this book, from fine upstanding characters and horrible criminals, all get the lush language treatment from S M Senden. Reading her words, I became one with the character’s sensory experience. Very, very EVOCATIVE. Also, very spooky! I recommend! A Norman

I finished reading Clara’s Wish. Loved it! I couldn’t put it down, it was captivating! L. Nelson

This was SUCH an enjoyable read. It’s been several days since I’ve finished it, and I find myself thinking of the characters like old memories that won’t shake.

Typically if I read a book written by someone I know, even if they are a Facebook friend I’ve never met in person, I keep quiet about it, so if I don’t like the story there are no hard feelings. I’m pretty honest in my reviews. I have been asked to read books for friends and acquaintances in the past, and it can be awkward if the book is not a good fit for me. A good friend or person doesn’t always translate to a talented author. However, this was a pleasant surprise for me and threw me for a loop. I’ve read “best sellers” that didn’t impress me as much as this book.

In between reading chapters and having to work, cook, clean, all those things of “life,” I found myself feeling the luscious pull to sneak back into its pages between breaks. The characters are excellent, the story crisp. The story is set in 1923, and I felt like I was there on a cold winter’s day. The descriptions are creative, but most of all, the story moves right along and shifts. There are some deliciously devious moments in the book that keep you worried for the characters you love. And if I understand the author’s notes properly, this is a fiction loosely based on something factual that happened. The devious sociopathic character in the book delivers and does his job well!

S. M. Senden, I am utterly impressed with your writing talents and I am thrilled with what I read. I am hoping there are more books to come as I’m tickled with the quality of this book. Bravo…this is a success! —Donnaleigh de la Rose

Definitely recommend this book! Quality writing with suspense and romance. Characters have depth and story is interesting. One of the best books I have read in a long time. –Ashes of Roses

S. M. Senden wrote a masterpiece in her book Clara’s Wish, it kept me guessing and wanting more throughout the book. Ms. Senden’s story not only continued to hold my interest, but kept me wanting more as it made my mind wonder about human nature, the world beyond this life, and wishes. —M. Moran-Bishop

The “Roaring Twenties,” oh, how they roared! But what happens when a young lady finds herself in that roaring, overblown time of release from the Great War, a time of bootleg, ragtime and partying? For Clara, it’s both a blessing and a curse. For an overlooked, yet caring person this new life she finds herself in is so far removed from her knowledge or personality it is completely foreign to her. A grand adventure.

Beginning with a wish on a star, catching the bouquet at the wedding the family attends and meeting a young college man at that same wedding seems like a wish granted…or is it? Clara sees herself only as a wallflower, an old maid at the age of twenty-five, the girl from the farm no man wants. When Erdman asks her to dance she is overwhelmed with surprise, joy and not surprisingly, eager but reticent to accept his approaches. After all, no young man has ever shown interest in her before. Be careful what you wish for, Clara!

This book spans several decades populated by many different types of characters. It takes the reader into the era completely. The complete opposites in Clara’s life are palpable as the background plot takes place in a rural farming area settled by Swedish immigrants, where little changes through the years, which makes Clara’s life outside of home that much more exciting. When Clara suddenly disappears into the night, the community draws together in its sadness and caring for the family. The torch blazes bright and long as the families involved live through the decades with the shadow of Clara’s disappearance always there. The author has told the story in keeping with the times, well-researched. A love story, a touch of the paranormal, a mystery and a story of deceit, vanity and mobsters. An interesting look into a world where immorality and trust can sometimes go hand in hand. S. M. Senden, in this trip through some of the most active decades you held my attention as I immersed myself in the mystery and a way of life I never saw. —B. Gelean

I am usually not much of a murder mystery fan, but I found this an excellent read. Very realistic portrayal of the Swedish community and values in Midwestern America during 1920’s. Believable characters and heart wrenching tragedy. I read this book in one day – wanted to see if I had guessed the ending correctly. Would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves murder mystery with a lot of romance and bittersweet human emotions. —B. Gale

What secrets will be unearthed with the discovery of a diamond ring found in the hand of a corpse? Only one person knows the truth. Bergin Halverson knows the time has come for the truth to finally come out. He remembers that time in 1923 when Clara makes a wish which was to come true but not as Clara hoped.

Clara is a lonely young girl, in spite of having a loving family. She sees her friends and her sister meeting boys and some getting wed. Why couldn’t she do the same? Why did nobody ask her out? Was her life to be one of a maiden aunt?

In spite of being pretty she still had no man in her life. The trouble was Clara was painfully shy and found it difficult to make friends with the opposite sex. Then one day she meets Bergin’s brother Erdman. It would seem her wish had come true but from that day her life was doomed.

When Clara goes missing her father has a dream and is determined to find out if it is true. A search is mounted and true to his dream, Clara is found in a shallow grave. What was the truth though of what really happened? Only Bergin found out and now it was time after all these years to tell the sheriff.

This is a tale of loneliness, happiness, fear, sorrow and so much more. Travel back in time as Bergin finally tells his story. Feel Clara’s joy, then her pain as Erdman plays with her emotions.

A very good read and deserves five stars. —A. Stanmore

I just finished Clara’s Wish! I enjoyed it very much and will certainly be looking for a second book. An excellent story and the ending was even more compelling than I imagined with surprising twists. Great read! —Darla

“Clara’s Wish” is a haunting historical mystery revealing a cad, a virgin and a grim decades old secret. S. M. Senden takes readers down a twisted trail of suspense as a missing person case turns murderous in rural Iowa. Just the right hint of paranormal to ring true. —J. Kramer

Again, S. M. Senden has put me on the edge of my seat not being able to put the book down, wanting to keep going because I couldn’t wait until the next chapter. I was drawn in from the beginning and it kept me drawn in until the very end. The twists and turns of events are spectacular and you are truly surprised at the outcome. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good thriller. Because this one is a true winner…—Susie K.

I hate mysteries but when my friends were all gushing over “Clara’s Wish”, I knew it must be good and was not disappointed! I literally devoured this book in two days, staying up to 2 am to finish the ending. I felt sucked into the story and all the people, that the story is about. The love scenes were not pornographic. I gave this a 5 STAR because it was so all-round good, I am already going to re-read it, beginning later today. No where was I asking, “yeah but what happened ‘here’ or to ‘this person’?” What a nice satisfying ending, that tied up all the loose ends in neat manner. My version is for Kindle, and let me add that it is a very clean copy to this format, lacking all the stupid mistakes some OCR scanners to eBook make, then nobody bothers to check for. —L. D. Black

Clara’s Wish is a page-turner! I did not put it down till I was finished.

Clara’s Wish blends old-fashioned real Midwestern history with thoughtful and fascinating psychological profiles. Sweet-and-sourness-of-life dramas, truthful character assessments, soul-enlightening judgments and criminal motivators. All people portrayed in this book, from fine upstanding characters and horrible criminals, all get the lush language treatment from S M Senden. Reading her words, I became one with the character’s sensory experience. Very, very EVOCATIVE. Also, very spooky! I recommend! —A. Norman

Once I began reading Clara’s Wish I couldn’t put it down. I felt I knew each and every character, yet there were surprises I didn’t expect! My heart ached for Clara during her trials and tribulations in finding true love. A great read! —H. H.

Fantastic read!!! W. Reiger

I am not much of a mystery reader, however, to support a friend, I bought the book, well 2, due to another family member that is a mystery reader. Anyways, just have to say, I could have read this book in 1, yes 1 day!! I could not put it down, but breakfast, lunch, and dinner had to be made for the family. I found my solace at night time. Thinking, a few chapters at a time before nodding off. Heck not!! 9 first night, then 10 the next, then I kept looking at the clock, and knew, if I went past 10:30 p.m. I’d be in trouble. Finished in 4 days. Skipping one day. I have many insightful words to say, with out giving the story to you. Invigorating, mysterious, love, kindness, jealousy, rude, funny, sad, happy, murderous, unknowns, scary, truth, guilt and living in the past. Easy reading and a delight to have known the author lived in our home town of Winnetka, IL. You will enjoy!! Read on!!!!! —R. R. Mead

I love a good mystery and this one is an outstanding read. IT will keep you spell bound and wanting to keep reading! That is what I look for in a great book. When I don’t want to put it down and I just have to spend every free minute reading the story to unfold more and more, I know I have found a winner. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a riveting story of a dark past unfolding bit by bit. Then just when you think you have it, you don’t. A punch in the end will have you saying “WOW, NOW I WOULD NEVER HAVE FIGURED THAT OUT”! —Susie K.

A real page turner! Will R.

From the moment I started reading this book I knew I was in for a ride. It’s been a long time since I read a mystery that actually held my interest and this book captivated me from page one. The writer really has away of making you care about the characters and the descriptions help you to feel that you are watching a movie rather than reading a book. I had a difficult time putting this book down. I started late and before I knew it, it was 2 in the morning and I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer and I was half way through the book. I finished the other half the next day in a matter of hours. Very intriguing story!! —M. Early