Kathleen Vellenga reads from "Strangers in Our Midst," and Pauline Knaeble Williams reads from "Finding Hollis"
In Strangers in Our Midst, Two young women learning to survive in their own worlds are forced to confront even greater challenges when those worlds collide. Elisabeth, a passenger on the Mayflower, and Attitash, a young Wampanoag, discover differences in their core beliefs—but also a common humanity. As they learn to trust each other, their covert friendship forestalls starvation but can’t overcome the distrust that’s widespread in both cultures. In time accusations of witchcraft and betrayal threaten their friendship and the survival of both societies. Strangers in Our Midst reimagines a critical moment in our continent’s history, remaining faithful to the historical record while avoiding both stereotypes and finger-pointing. It describes a time when love, trust, and understanding struggled to overcome cruelty, hardship, and deception in all societies—and it does so with great imagination.
Kathleen Vellenga taught young children and was an active volunteer as well as a mother of three until she was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1981. Kathleen left the Legislature in 1994 to become the executive director of the Saint Paul Children’s Initiative, a new early childhood collaborative. While considerable historical research is the basis for the plot, Vellenga drew deeply upon her personal relationships for the emotional heart of the story. She lives in St. Paul with her husband, Jim Vellenga.
“[Pauline Knaeble Williams] knows how to both break and heal hearts in her debut novel, Finding Hollis...masterfully portrayed”--Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Finding Hollis, is Pauline Knaeble Williams’ debut novel. Set in 1944 in North Minneapolis, Finding Hollis is a journey in search of more than just a name. Within it the threads of three separate worlds become interwoven—first by circumstance, then by understanding. Finding Hollis transcends ethnic and racial barriers through the eyes of a young white woman who witnesses a tragic car accident only to discover as much about herself as the new world.
Pauline Knaeble Williams was born and raised along with her eleven siblings in North Minneapolis. She attended Macalester College in St. Paul, MN where she studied sociology and history. She currently resides in New Jersey and teaches preschool children. She lives with her husband and two children in a house with lots of sunshine.