Alexandra Shelley

Illuminated Manuscripts

Lorna Landvik

paperback (Ballantine)

Patty Jane's House of Curl by Lorna Landvik

hardcover (Bridge Works)

Novel by unpublished author chosen and edited by Alexandra Shelley for Bridge Works: Bestseller (over a quarter million copies); Quality Paperback Book Club selection; reprinted in paperback by Ballantine Books; UK, German, Spanish, audio and large-type editions. Lorna Landvik went on to write “Your Oasis on Flame Lake,” “The Tall Pine Polka,” “Welcome to the Great Mysterious,” “Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons,” “Oh My Stars” and “The View From Mount Joy.”


“Fun and funny, spiked with tragedy and sad times.” —USA Today

“A funny, poignant first novel about the bonds between women.” —Houston Chronicle

“’Patty Jane’s House of Curl’ has the emotional warmth of Lake Wobegon and the tender/​tough female characters who populated Fried Green Tomatoes.... A unique story.” —St. Paul Pioneer Press

“Lorna Landvik stands by her characters . . . embracing their eccentricities, delighting in their accomplishments, forgiving them their failings. She knows these people and loves them—and gives us their story with uncommon wit and charm and, best of all, a wonderful sense of mischief.” —Steven Zaillian, Oscar-winning writer,“Schindler’s List” screenplay

“Patty Jane’s House of Curl is the story of women ‘who were lucky enough to find a place where they could not only talk, but be heard.’ Like Ione’s famous coffee cakes, the frosting may be treacle-sweet, but underneath there’s something substantial.”
—The Dallas Morning News

“This book is worth reading and rereading. . . . Landvik evokes female bonding and tragedy in a humorous way.” —The Register-Herald (West Virginia)

“Amazingly vivid . . . This novel breezes merrily along, but don’t read it without a hankie. This is a winner for fans of Garrison Keillor and Danielle Steel.” —Library Journal

“The salon allows Patty Jane and Harriet to open themselves up to love from new men even as they struggle to let go of their pasts. Amid the smells of permanent waves, Norwegian pastries and the gales of laughter, the sisters discover that men may come and go but a sister’s love is forever. Reminiscent of 'Steel Magnolias,' Patty Jane's House of Curl will make you laugh, cry and open your heart to love.” – Romantic Times

"This debut novel's campy title promises good-natured gossip, women baring their souls and their gray roots to understanding hairdressers. Yet although Landvik builds her plot around two close-knit Minnesota sisters, Patty Jane and Harriet, she doesn't so much conjure a beauty shop as explain, in sentimental terms, how her kindhearted principals survive hardship. The story, which oscillates between optimism and tragedy, begins in 1953, at Patty Jane's wedding to handsome Norwegian Thor; that evening, the bride becomes pregnant, frightening her husband and eventually prompting his mysterious disappearance only days before their daughter is born. Meanwhile, Harriet falls in love with Avel, a doting millionaire. They're blissfully happy together, so when Avel goes on a business trip just before their scheduled nuptials, it's a sure bet his plane will crash. The ensuing years pass quickly as the sisters adjust to single life. Patty Jane opens the eponymous salon and raises her daughter, while Harriet, who never quite gets over Avel, develops a drinking problem. Both women will love again, but new troubles are in store. Landvik uses the latter half of the book to grandstand against alcohol and cigarettes; the characters praise AA, and one key player succumbs to lung cancer. Everyone finds consolation in the homespun wisdom that peppers every page (``grief is a lot like sobriety; you get through it one day at a time''). Family bonds-if not beauty-salon solidarity-triumph in this unpretentious tale." – Publisher’s Weekly

Selected Books Edited

by Kathryn Stockett - bestseller
by Martha Hall Kelly - bestseller
by Emily Giffin - bestseller
by Alan Isler - National Jewish Book Award winner