Thursday, March 17, 2016

Summer Read: Beloved Over All by Plano's Irene Sandell

With Summer fast approaching, I thought I'd share a great new read out by a local author. Irene Sandell’s award winning novels combine her love of Texas history with her passion for writing. The Plano author books that tell the heartfelt stories of her people woven into true places and events. She has just released her fourth novel, Beloved Over All.  For me, Sandell is more than just an author, she is one of my Mother's dearest childhood friends and my namesake! Readers know her as Irene Sandell but her friends and family know her as Cindy Sandell.

All of her books have a common theme - and that is a love for Texas. I asked Sandell where her fascination with Texas history came from. "Texas has such a rich and varied history. From the Native American cultures, to Spanish and French explorers, to the waves of immigrants from the United States and Europe, there is hardly an event in our American experience that has not been played out in Texas in some way. And of course, the history of Texas is my field of study, so I am drawn to those stories."

Her latest novel, Beloved Over All, is set in the tumultuous years following the American Civil War when frontier settlers were thrown up against the Native American tribes of the Western Plains of Texas. "My inspiration for this book came from the collection of personal stories handed down through families that I have been told over the years, as well as stories I had found through research, all tales of the courage and daring of those early pioneers. All my characters and events in the book are based on true accounts. What I think might be unexpected by the reader is the humanity of my characters and how they still resonate today. Beloved Over All is a saga of the daring and passion of the soldiers, hunters, cowboys and settlers who tamed the Texas plains, and the central character of the novel is a young mother, Stella Carter, whose unwavering love for her child sustains her through great hardship. Her passion and her reactions to events is a timeless story of great courage, and readers today can identify with these same emotions."

Irene has been recognized as a finalist for the WILLA Literary Award for two of her novels, River Of The Arms of God (2009) and The House On Swiss Avenue (2013). In 2014, she was named Southwest Author of the Year by the Duncanville Library Association, and she has received several other regional awards. Sandell will be speaking in the Aldredge House Speaker Series at the Swiss Avenue Historic Home Tour on Saturday, May 7, 2:00 p.m., and she will also be signing books during the weekend festival. Her books are available on or