Sunday, October 2, 2016

Weekend Round-Up Part One

Meet Donna Salli-One of Minnesota's Newest Novelists  
“A Notion of Pelicans” is Donna Salli’s debut novel. 
The backdrop of the story unfolded with her evocative prose in the first chapter as she described the landscape along the North Shore of Lake Superior in the late 1800’s. There was a storm brewing and Lavinia Hoope Hansen waited for her husband Henry who went off on a walk. While Lavinia kept her vigil, concern for Henry’s safety mounted. An unexpected appearance by a flock of pelicans overhead at first seemed like a puzzling encounter to Lavinia. But it was at that given moment Lavinia then had her curious notion. She envisioned the plat of land around her was hallowed. It seemed to be a message delivered by the heavenly messengers, pelicans. In time Lavinia went on to become the founder of Pelican Church built along the North Shore. 

A hundred years later, the church continues to draw people into its pews with the legend that one solitary pelican still circles overhead watching its people. The story unfolds recounting the events of a day in October that is narrated from the perspectives of four different women members of Pelican Church—the pastor's wife, a young actress, a college sociology professor and a businesswoman. Each has notions of their own. Salli creates scenes giving the reader an intimate look into their complicated lives as well as into the depths of their marriages, family relationships and their past history. Many of these women’s stories have been tucked away, but as they unfold, so does their forgiveness and healing. Salli’s deft hand makes smooth transitions between each narration.

Salli is a strong writer who uses precise language, well-crafted sentences and skilled use of dialogue that moves the story along at a good pace keeping the reader engaged.

“A Notion of Pelicans” is a many layered story. There is much to think about as these compelling characters peel away each layer of emotions with their choices. The book is quite discussable and would make a great book club selection.
Donna Salli is a Finnish American who grew up in Michigan along the Shores of Lake Superior. She is a fiction writer, poet, essayist, and playwright. Salli lives in Northern Minnesota. She writes in multiple genres—poetry, fiction, drama, and the essay. Her creative work focuses on family, heritage, spirituality, changing gender roles, and other social issues. Salli recently retired after 19 years at Central Lakes College, Brainerd, MN teaching in the English department. Her poems and creative nonfiction essays have appeared in literary journals, magazines, newspapers and anthologies.

Salli's original play The Rock Farm, about a Finnish-American family living in the U.P. has been produced in Finland, Michigan and at Central Lakes College. The Rock Farm will have a staged reading at the Vermillion Community College Theatre and Grand Ely Lodge in Ely in October.

Check out for a detailed list of times and locations for all Salli's October and November scheduled events. Look for her November 7th, Brainerd Library at noon.

Visit Salli at where she blogs about her writing life. Her book can be purchased on Amazon. 

Thanks to Donna Salli's publicist and agent Krista Rolfzen Soukup of Blue Cottage Agency Blue Cottage Agency for sending me the advanced reader/review copy of “A Notion of Pelicans.” It’s an honor for me to have this opportunity to support a new novelist in the Central Lakes area. 


  1. Thanks for sharing another Minnesota writer with us. I always enjoy these reviews.

    1. Yes Donna is such a gifted eloquent writer

  2. Thanks Sue for reading and reviewing Donna's book. The support you give to authors and writers in our corner of the world is much appreciated~! And your recipes.....MMMMMMM!!