THE STASH by Sandra Sperling.
People have fantasies about finding buried treasure, but for Sarah Altman it becomes a reality when she convinces herself that it isn’t really a crime to appropriate a large stash of money hidden by a meth dealer after he has a car accident. Every dollar will likely add to the time he spends in prison, so she chooses to be a good Samaritan and relieve him of the burden. Already contemplating a divorce, Sarah realizes that the money will allow her the freedom to do so with financial security—so long as no one learns she has it.
Deputy Nate Carlson has been giving protection to the dealer in exchange for a share of the profit from the meth. He’s severely injured, but before he dies, he manages to tell Nate where the cash is buried.
Sergeant Frank Devich, Nate’s widowed brother-in-law, questions Sarah, triggering a mutual attraction. Frank doesn’t recognize her as the young woman he’d left with a broken heart years ago, and he’s determined to have her. Sarah, however, resists involvement.
Nate soon discovers that only Frank and Sarah had easy access to the Minnesota gravel pit where the stash had been hidden. Desperate for money, he will do anything to get it.
5-Stars: Would you do it differently, under the same circumstances?
This is a story that brings fantasy to life for Sarah Altman. The drama is suspenseful, and the dilemma Sarah faces, creates a fine line between intention and criminality.
Author Sandra Sperling uses a blend of mastery and imagination to create a plot so realistic, it will keep you turning the page. Sergeant Frank Devich and Deputy Nate Carlson find themselves embroiled in a murder investigation, centered around an old Minnesota gravel pit. Old fossils, murder, crystal meth, drug money, a profile of an eye witness, a dear john letter, and more than one secret in rural America. Throw in a little romance and humor making ‘The Stash’ a fantastic small-town drama that will linger in your mind.
Chapter one sets the stage with a question.
… “How did your grandma get the money to buy this place?”
… “She got a settlement of some kind, is what I’ve always thought.”
… “Accident, divorce, inheritance?”
… “I don’t know,” he said. “She promised to tell me the whole story.”
I invite you to put yourself in Sarah Altman’s shoes. She is practical and approaches things methodically. I found myself asking, would I have done it differently, under the same circumstances?
Chapter 3 finds Sarah exploring the old gravel pit for fossils. Abruptly a landslide burst forth. Rocks crashed and shattered as they hurled past her. She lunged to the side of the gulch, scrabbling up the steep bank. A boulder tumbled close, striking an embedded rock with an explosive crack. Pebbles clattered as they bounced downward, and finally there was only the dry whisper of sand as it oozed its way to the floor of the gravel pit.
…A bit unnerved, but safe on the gritty bank, she examined the fossil she’d found. It was an ammonite in pristine condition over an inch in diameter. The limestone rock in which it was partially encased had broken away only recently, leaving the pearlescent coating intact.
…Sarah tucked it into the pocket of her shirt, buttoning the flap.
…Indecision fueled by fear paralyzed her. Should she stay here and be buried or go down and risk being crushed? Either choice could be her last.
…Leaving seemed safer, and she had about thirty feet left to descend when she heard a vehicle. Bob must have forgotten something when he’d left, because he was driving too fast. A heavy thud and the high screech of twisting metal were followed by a prolonged scream of agony.
What Sarah decides to do next, will change the course of events, in her life.
After you read ‘THE Stash,’ I invite you to read ‘Elisabet’s Will’ (another 5-Star family drama entwined with mystery and suspense). I look forward to Sandra Sperling’s next book.
Editorial Reviews (Book Marketing Global Network).
Review by Susan S. -VINE VOICE: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Sperling’s Sterling Characterizations! Reviewed in the United States on November 27, 2022. Verified Purchase. Don’t we all fantasize about stumbling upon a huge stash of cash? After Sarah Altman does exactly that, she hatches a complicated plan—both for concealing the money and what she’ll eventually do with it. She’s an unhappily married woman who is able to reinvent herself after her windfall. To tell you this does little to impart the tour de force of ‘The Stash.’ It’s both serious and comical; both character and plot-driven.
Sarah and Frank (an ex-boyfriend slowly reinserting himself into her life) are both realistically portrayed, though, at times, super-human. Sarah’s a near superhero: she’s tough-minded and more than capable when it comes to self-defense. “Her shoes accurately reflected her personality: practical, uncompromising and virtually impervious to outside influences.” Frank’s super-human in a different way: his passionate and vulnerable nature allow him to tune into a previously unknown psychic side—at least when it comes to Sarah. What’s curious is that he hasn’t a clue that a former girlfriend—Lynn from his past—is Sarah. I kept wondering if he would ever realize this. My curiosity about this as well as other issues grew along with the tension.
I lost count of the comical scenes and situations. Sperling, adept at descriptions, writes this of a woman who Frank’s mother has set him up with: “She stood in front of him, the bright tangerine roses on the bodice of her dress rising and falling rapidly. She rubbed the nicotine patch on her arm and popped a piece of gum in her mouth, chewing viciously. She reminded him of a timber wolf devouring a deer carcass.” What a strong and funny mental picture this creates!
Similar to Elisabet’s Will, the first novel I’ve read by Sterling, we follow a rich cast of characters, as they go about their daily lives. Both novels beautifully depict Sisu—the strength of the human will. However, it’s amped up in Sarah. As I flipped the pages of The Stash, I kept wondering what would happen to reveal a crack in Sarah’s armor. Not to give a spoiler alert: life proves to be a leveler. I really came to care for the characters here and can well-imagine a sequel. Great storytelling! As in the case of the earlier novel, justice is served and the ending is tremendously satisfying!
Review by Lisa: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Fantastic book!! This author always hits it outta the park! Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2023. Verified Purchase. Just buy it. Fantastic book.
Review by MK Alexander: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. A Criminal Romantic Comedy of a Sort. Reviewed in the United States on October 10, 2022. Verified Purchase. Meet Sarah Altman, a middle-aged, Minnesotan trapped in a loveless marriage with a husband who has all but given up on life… (and worse, much worse). She is an unlikely heroine perhaps: emotionally closed-off, not by nature but as a matter of survival. But her life suddenly changes when she stumbles upon a few million dollars in cash— drug money.
She is of course no slouch, rather Sarah is smart, wily, cautious, and patient, and she has a plan. The way forward is fraught with danger, obstacles, and a suspicious policeman hell-bent on stealing the money for himself.
Author Sandra Sperling does a wonderful job building her characters, their idiosyncrasies, and their moral ambiguity, (including her own). In some cases, their downright evil nature prevails; there are some great villains to hate in this story. In no time at all the reader is rooting for her, despite her flaws, as she strives for independence and eventually true love.
The prose is breezy, competent, and very funny, but not snarky. We get a great taste of life in Minnesota, its brutal winter, its people, and general environs— a kind of stark realism. The Stash is an engaging read, a slow burn leading to a fantastic climax and… a happy ending.
Review by Lee Cluff: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. The Stash. Reviewed in the United States on February 25, 2023. Verified Purchase. Really enjoyed this book. Living in northern Minnesota around the mining industry. I could relate to the ups and downs of the industry.
Review by Mary Schmidt: 5.0 out of 5 stars. What a story. Reviewed in the United States on September 28, 2022. Verified Purchase. What a story. This book is part romance, part comedy, drama galore, and tossed into all of that is drug deals, stashes of money, and murder. Then more is added to give the story and turns.
Review by Evelyn Raida: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. I didn’t see that coming! Reviewed in the United States on December 7, 2022. One reason I don’t watch much television is because shows seem so predictable. One reason I love to read books by Sandra Sperling is because her stories are anything but predictable. And she always leaves you hanging on up to the last page or two which is a tough position to be in when you’re trying to figure out the who and why of the book.
Take Sarah Altman as an example. Sandra leads you to believe that Sarah is a good old country girl. But after just a few pages you realize Sarah is so much more complex, like a really good glass of wine. She is smooth, slightly intoxicating and leaves you wanting to know her better.
Is she a vixen, a coquette, who flaunts herself to manipulate men? Or is she the victim of a bad marriage to a bad man? Are her attempts to hide drug money acts of pure insanity or is she simply a scheming woman who enjoys the thrill and drama of defying moral boundaries?
It took me three readings before I was able to put this book down. The first time I raced through it because the plot took twists and turns that were not predictable and I couldn’t stand not knowing where things were heading.
The second reading was to see what I missed because I truly didn’t anticipate the story to end the way it did.
The third reading? Pure pleasure! This is truly Sandra’s best novel to date. Every time I read her earlier publications I said, “This is my favorite book!” And it was my favorite until her newest story was published. Intrigue within a homespun setting polished off with humor and a touch of lust will keep you reading this newest work by Sandra.
I admit to being left in a moral quandary. What would I have done if I were Sarah? I truly don’t know. All I know is that I didn’t see it coming.
Review by R Reader: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Great Cheers for the Stash! Reviewed in the United States on November 26, 2022. I bought the book from the author. and what a great purchase! Sandra Sperlings latest book The Stash, is her best writing yet. Real characters with complex lives.
true life struggles, a marriage that just doesn’t work and the reprehensible reasons why. questions of faith in a all most retired cop that has seen much. Just how does his aggressive partner and brother-in-law play in to it all. Intricate Sarah, beautiful Sarah. Sarah has a secret!
A fiery ending not to be missed! and then of course The Stash! does money corrupt all?
We can only expect great things from Sandra Sperling! She just gets better and better.
Paperback: 359 Pages
Publisher: Independently Published (August 25, 2022)
Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Humor
Fiction (Contemporary Family Saga)
Fiction (Contemporary Family Suspense)
Fiction: (Family Life)
Elisabet’s Will by Sandra Sperling.
The few relatives who are still friendly to Lisbet spend the summer at her northern Minnesota home. Determined to discover the reason why the rest of the family has shunned her since she was a child, she confronts Evelyn, her estranged uncle’s wife. This action exposes her and her loved ones to danger and thrusts Greta, her beloved 5-year-old granddaughter, into deadly peril.
Review by MK Alexander: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Slow burn to a fantastic finale!
Somewhere near Hibbing, Minnesota, what remains of a large and proud family sees its final demise. We are thrust into the rural life of these descendants of Finns, three generations at least, and we come to know their daily, sometimes rather humdrum lives. There is much more beneath the surface though: good people on one side of the family, and on the other, lurks the banality of evil.
The story centers around the book’s namesake Elisabet, and her courageous granddaughter Greta. At five years old, she is wise beyond age. Around them swirl the rest of the family in close proximity, namely at nearby farms and houses out in the middle of nowhere.
The story begins as a desolate Minnesota winter gives way a tenuous spring, and a brief but significant summer as we are treated to the minute details of the many characters’ lives. Author Sandra Sperling’s simple prose make this a pleasure to read; small details accrue, clues to the larger mystery gain momentum and lead to a devastating climax. Recommended.
5 Stars: Family drama entwined with mystery and suspense.
This extraordinary family drama plays out in rural Northern Minnesota. In this case, there is nothing more destructive, than a ‘Will’ left behind by a prosperous family member. Family secrets leave Lisbet to only imagine why most of the family shuns her. Author Sandra Sperling masterfully pulls back the curtain allowing us into the daily lives and attitudes, of this seemingly normal American family.
I especially enjoyed the rural setting with large acreages, houses, farms, barns, secret places, hidden spaces, and three mysteries to unravel. This story centers around Lisbet (namesake for her grandmother Elisabet). Ignored by most of the family, Lisbet has an amazing relationship with her five-year-old granddaughter Greta. As a loving, protective grandmother, the local new is most disturbing. Let me bring you into the first of three mysteries to unravel.
…That evening Lisbet stared into the refrigerator, trying to figure out what to put together for a light supper when Roger hailed her from the living room, where he was watching the six-o’clock news.
…The newscaster said, “Kenzie is four years old, with short, ginger-colored hair and blue eyes. She is wearing blue jeans and a pink windbreaker.”
…Roger shook his head. “She vanished from the greenhouse about three this afternoon. She’s what? The fourth or fifth kid who’s been snatched.”
… “Mom and I were there right before it happened. Good Lord! I do wish they’d catch that bastard.” She shivered, feeling ill at the thought of what the girl’s parents must be going through. The phone rang, and she answered it in the kitchen, certain it was her mother, upset by the abduction.
…It was, and they discussed the crime at some length. Doris said, in conclusion, “I don’t remember any local kids being kidnapped until recently. And no cougars or timberwolves were roaming around here when I was growing up. This whole area is going to hell.” “So, it seems.” Lisbet hung up, saddened that the region was no longer the safe wilderness paradise it had once been.
It is Lisbet’s quest to uncover family secrets, that leads her, Greta, and other family members into dangerous territory. This family saga will keep you turning the page, reflecting on your family tree, and childhood experiences will lead you to an unpredictable conclusion.
Author Sandra Sperling brings her life experiences and creativity from Nevada, Minnesota, to Kentucky where she enjoys taking nature walks, refinishing old furniture, and reading. Sandra writes contemporary family fiction giving us ‘Elisabet’s Will’, contemporary women’s fiction with ‘The Beginner’s Guide to Spouse Removal, a thriller suspense novel with ‘Snowmelt: Dealing With Betrayal’ and humor (satire) with ‘A Few Trivial Felonies’. I look forward to reading more novels from Sandra Sperling in the future.
Editorial Review (Book Marketing Global Network).
Review by Susan S.- VINE VOICE: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. A Great Read!!! Reviewed in the United States on August 21, 2022. Verified Purchase. I’m not quite ready to cast aside the world Sperling created in ‘Elisabet’s Will,’ as her characters almost immediately popped off the page and became actual people. Some of them, I’ve felt like I’ve known or would like to know, a couple others – not so much. This is a carefully crafted work, both in terms of characters and plot. After first reading the list of characters, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep them straight, but Sperling does a masterful job at helping the reader along, and soon I was able to allay my fear. With stunning realism, we enter the daily routines of two sides of a fractured family in rural Minnesota. We smell their much believed coffee, see their refurbished couches, barns, and enter their steamy saunas. More than one mystery ensues.
My favorite characters are Lisbet, a young grandmother, and Greta – her five year-old grand- daughter. They make quite a team. Conversation between the two is full of warmth and wit. Greta prefers her grandma’s company more than anyone else’s. While Lisbet encourages Greta’s love of fairies—and hence her imagination—she also cautions the child about cougars loose in the area, as well as a kidnapper.
Throughout the book, we wonder, along with Lisbet, why she continues to be shunned by part of her family. Why is Dennis so despicable? What had happened to cause such a rift in the family? Does the title—Elisabet’s Will—refer to Lisbet’s grandmother’s will, or rather, the strength of will (sisu) shown by so many of these mostly good and decent people?
This is a novel of family relationships – of deep love and wide divisions. Humor offsets extreme difficulties. The ending is extremely satisfying, as justice is served. Also, the future for Lisbet is a hopeful one. I’m looking forward to reading other novels by this talented author!
Review by MK Alexander: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Slow burn to a fantastic finale. Reviewed in the United States on January 4, 2022. Verified Purchase. Somewhere near Hibbing, Minnesota, what remains of a large and proud family sees its final demise. We are thrust into the rural life of these descendants of Finns, three generations at least, and we come to know their daily, sometimes rather humdrum lives. There is much more beneath the surface though: good people on one side of the family, and on the other, lurks the banality of evil.
The story centers around the book’s namesake Elisabet, and her courageous granddaughter Greta. At five years old, she is wise beyond age. Around them swirl the rest of the family in close proximity, namely at nearby farms and houses out in the middle of nowhere.
The story begins as a desolate Minnesota winter gives way a tenuous spring, and a brief but significant summer as we are treated to the minute details of the many characters’ lives. Author Sandra Sperling’s simple prose make this a pleasure to read; small details accrue, clues to the larger mystery gain momentum and lead to a devastating climax.
Review by Mark Schultz: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. An amazing story! Reviewed in the United States on March 25, 2022. Verified Purchase. Oh, mylanta! This is an amazing story about several generations of one family in Minnesota. The story started slow for me. But I am so glad I kept reading. The author weaves a startling and clear tapestry about the depths of depravity some people in a family can sink to while other members of the same family remain normal. There are a lot of people in this family and many of them play an important part and all wonder what happened to the will of the matriarch, Elisabet.
This story has wonderful texture! The author has woven so many details about their daily lives and activities into the story that I feel like I know them all very closely. The intimacy is extraordinary and wonderfully portrayed.
I love this story about family life and you will too. “Elisabet’s Will” gets 5 stars from me!
Review by R Reader: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Great read! Reviewed in the United States on March 5, 2022. Verified Purchase. Sandra Sperling’s 3rd book really knocked it out of the park. Elisbabet’s Will is a hold your breath family sage . Some of the characters will remind you of your own family and glad some of them don’t . It will leave you wondering if you have an old witch in your family tree. or even worse . Sperling’s book is a wonderful adventure . Great read!
Review by Mary Kay: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Fun to read of Minnesota since I’m originally from there. Reviewed in the United States on March 5, 2022. I was gifted via a friend Ms. Sperling’s new novel. She has done it again. Sandra Sperling’s “Elisabet’s Will” is such an interesting read and since I’m originally from Minnesota and know the areas she writes about it’s extra fun.
As with her other novels there are so many little bits of knowledge from ideas about food to healing teas to crystals. The lovely relationship is such a special one between Grandma Lisbet and Greta. It touches your heart. I like Sperling’s novels because she writes of intelligent, strong women who no matter what they have lived through or are presently going though they triumph because of their strength.
There’s several lives involved in this novel, and they all intertwine coming to a surprise ending. This is another reason why I like Ms. Sperling’s novels. They are full of twists and turns but all tie together in the end.
Paperback: 395 Pages
Publisher: Independently Published (January 28, 2022)
Fiction (Contemporary Family Saga)
Fiction (Contemporary Family Suspense)
Fiction: (Family Life)
A Few Trivial Felonies: How many will these ladies commit? by Sandra Sperling.
Rachel suffers burnout from her job as a counselor. When Nick, her husband, is forced to take early retirement due to health issues, she’s delighted to quit her job and move from Minnesota to coastal Oregon. Even with Nick’s reduced pension, they have enough to live on without her returning to work.
Rachel becomes friends with Ruth, her next-door-neighbor, whose much older husband is also retired. They both yearn for ocean views, which they would have if only a few trees on the wooded acreage to the west of them were cut down. So, with an old lumberman’s saw, an ax and a chainsaw, they do just that, carefully concealing the evidence of the logging venture, their first crime.
It would likely have been their last, but Nick’s health takes a turn for the worse, and he passes away, which will bring an end to the pension income. Although Rachel has an excellent resume, there are no job openings in the area, so she’ll have to sell out and move. Neither she nor Ruth want that, but they need some extra cash. Organized crime, with its kidnapping, murder and drug dealing, falls beneath their somewhat twisted ethical standards.
They choose, instead, to become free-lance criminals and commit only a few trivial felonies.
Review by Susan S.-VINE VOICE: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. A Poignant Fictionalized World Full of Surprises! Reviewed in the United States on August 26, 2023. Verified Purchase. Every time I finish one of Sandra Sperling’s novels, I proclaim that I’ve just read my favorite one. Seriously, if you haven’t read one of her books, now is the time. She’s one of the wittiest storytellers out there. The humor in these pages, especially as the plot unfolds, becomes laugh-out-loud funny. There’s a certain gallows humor that I’ve always appreciated in Sandra’s writing. Her characterizations are brilliant, and her storylines—despite the crazy capers of some of the characters (particularly the female ones)—are incredibly credible and relatable.
Rachel and Ruth, neighbors in a small town off the coast of Oregon, bond over their roots in Minnesota. While the men in their lives are certainly nice enough, neither are the pictures of robust health; both women are unfulfilled and long for something more. Rachel has retired at the age of forty-one from a career as a child-welfare counselor. Her burnout soon gives way to boredom, following her move. Then there’s Ben, an attractive English teacher, who rents a cottage from Rachel and her husband. He’s married, but his wife is in a coma.
The plot thickens, but not in a predictable way. It isn’t long before Ruth and Rachel’s worlds are turned upside down—and boredom is barely remembered. Ruth become Rachel’s life coach—of sorts—and teaches her how to make ends meet after Rachel suffers a significant loss.
Like many of Sperling’s other female characters, Ruth and Rachel are smart and resourceful. They become even more so when they turn to each other for help. While the female characters sometimes come close to being super-heroes, there’s one who’s far from it. Vivian, a neighbor of Ruth and Rachel, lives in a trailer with her teenage son. She dyes her hair ‘rhubarb red’ and goes on a man-hunt like no other. Also, she envies the two other women because they have men in their lives. Ruth and Rachel try their best to keep her at more than arm’s length, though ultimately they see—despite their differences—that they share a common bond: they’re all just trying to survive. As Rachel proclaims to Ruth at one point: “A woman’s got to do, what a woman’s got to do.”
Sandra Sperling is as wise as she is witty. Her fictionalized world is both poignant and full of surprises. High praise for all her books, and especially this prize winning one!
Review by MK Alexander: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Delightful, Delicious, and Devilish. Reviewed in the United States on November 21, 2020. Verified Purchase. Meet Minnesota Nice: Rachel and Ruth… they could be sisters, but best friends will do when they meet each other in a quiet little tourist town called Crusty Beach. Nestled somewhere along the Oregon coast, these two protagonists live a sort of early retirement. Husbands? Well, in a way— they are not much more than plot devices— something I found quite refreshing.
Also meet Vivian who lives in the trailer across the street. Not nice and not from Minnesota. She’s a struggling single-mom, blatantly criminal, and single-minded: survival at any cost. A dark reflection for Rachel and Ruth.
Life goes on and is seemingly mundane: shopping, cooking, cleaning and redecorating— all wonderfully described by author Sandra Sperling with wit, wisdom and humor; a lot of humor that’s subtle and satisfying— and not snarky in the least.
And then the law must be bent, slightly. Needless to say things escalate when their only goal becomes survival. Soon enough felonies abound and the reader is doubtless rooting their every move. Often hilarious, I enjoyed this book immensely. Breezy prose, good dialog, and excellent characters. I strongly recommend it!
Review by Oleander Whisper: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Felonious Preponderances and Shameless Kleptomaniacs. Reviewed in the United States on February 5, 2021. Verified Purchase. Inedible wieners, mobile homes, verminous-looking couches, and questionable garage sales fill these pages with all sorts of unexpected scenes. Vivian’s short list of eligible men keeps dwindling by the day, and several of her actions prove what suffocating desperation can drive some people to eventually do. Driftwood carvings of the Virgin Mary turn out to be funnier than they sound, and pruning trees with firearms can be broadly described as “property enhancement techniques” by these strong Minnesota women.
I did encounter just a few scattered typographical errors, but this book flows smoothly with a constant air of levity. The overlapping storylines cleverly highlight the humor that often exists in the mundane monotony of life. The expenses of unforeseen dental work, frustrations over stolen lettuce, and predicted values of refinished furniture pieces seem somewhat tame compared to covert corpse dumps and “the inflatable man” of the manor! I recommend this comical read to mature audiences who enjoy plots destined to find a way to test what’s morally acceptable.
Review by Mary Schmidt: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Trivial Felonies. Reviewed in the United States on August 10, 2020. Verified Purchase. Trivial felonies aside, this book was funny as all get out with the right amount of real life levity thrown in for good measure. The twist at the end took me by surprise. Five stars.
Review by J.G. MacLeod – Author of The Future Bride: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Witty, fast-paced, and entertaining! Reviewed in the United States on July 21, 2021. I think comedy is truly underrated. It’s a difficult genre to write, but when it is successful, it provides a needed escape from day-to-day stresses. I appreciate Sandra Sperling’s ability to make me laugh throughout this story.
I found the characters relatable. The premise was also realistic. Many of us live check-to-check, or don’t have savings to lean on when things suddenly take a turn for the worse. This sets up the foundation for the comedy: the fact that I empathized with the characters and have been in tight situations myself. Not that I have done anything like the people in the book, but it helps that I understand their survival instincts.
The story reminded me of the highly-successful Netflix series, Good Girls, but this book had completely different motivations and crimes. I mention this to point out that dark humor, strong female characters, and the bonds of ‘sisterhood’, lend themselves to themes that make for a compelling novel. Sperling has crafted just that.
I found the pace quick, and the dialogue witty. I highly recommend this entertaining read. You won’t be disappointed!
Paperback: 292 Pages
Publisher: Sandra M. Sperling (April 23, 2020)
Humor and Satire
Snowmelt: Dealing With Betrayal by Sandra Sperling.
Ann Bergquist returns to Selden, Minnesota at the time of spring snowmelt to meet with her former best friend who is dying and wishes to clear her conscience. Although uneasy about the visit, Ann must nonetheless come to terms with their troubled past before feeling secure enough to try for the child she and her husband desire. She has to learn the truth about Shelly, whose malicious actions severed the friendship between Ann and Gina. Things are not as they appear, however, and the suspense inexorably spirals up to an explosive climax.
Review by Mary Schmidt: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Betrayal knows no boundaries. Reviewed in the United States on October 23, 2023. Verified Purchase. Betrayal knows no boundaries, indeed. Betrayal costs the betrayed a large portion of their life and happiness. This novel by Sperling exemplifies how a single instance of betrayal can, and does, become a snowstorm of sorts. It’s not enough to be betrayed. One is affected life long. Betrayal can cause a woman to do her best not to have children out of fear, even though she loves her husband. Betrayal causes emotional, mental, and physical issues in the one betrayed. To read what betrayal did to Ann, in this novel, you will have to read the book as the levels of betrayal affect others in various ways life long. Tragic and 5 shiny gold stars.
Review by Mary Kay: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Snowmelt kept me up into the night wanting to know how it was going to end. Reviewed in the United States on August 18, 2018. I received Ms. Sperling’s “Snowmelt” as a gift and couldn’t put it down. The author has a way of making you want to know what’s going to happen to Ann, the main character of the novel. You begin by being introduced to Ann as a little girl and travel with her through adulthood, and you care about her. I’ve always felt a truly good author makes you truly care about the main person in the novel, and Ms. Sperling accomplished that so well. When Ann goes through the betrayal and difficulties, you genuinely feel her pain and wants what’s best for her. I recommend this book and eagerly await the next novel Ms. Sperling gives us.
Review by Evelyn Raida: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. I didn’t see it coming! Reviewed in the United States on April 22, 2019. One of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. The characters and plot were so compelling that I truly didn’t want to quit reading.
Paperback: 278 Pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 1, 2018)
The Beginner’s Guide To Spouse Removal by Sandra Sperling.
When Merry Mitchell discovers that her husband is hiding assets in preparation to dumping her for a younger woman, she is filled with hurt and rage. Having toiled her way up from poverty, she will do nearly anything to avoid being poor again. She considers an immediate divorce, but quickly realizes that with her sons now of age, she won’t get the house or enough of a settlement to allow her to continue her pleasant life style. After several efforts to save the marriage, she gives up, deciding that her husband must die. Merry’s ideas for spouse removal are limited by the sophisticated methods of detection used by law officials. She wracks her mind to find a method that is both undetectable and supposedly accidental. And, to assuage her troublesome conscience, the attempt must give him a sporting chance of survival. How should she do it…
Review by Mary Schmidt: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Murder. Could you? Reviewed in the United States on July 7, 2023.Verified Purchase. Murder. Murder your cheating husband who stashed away huge chunks of assets to deceive you and thus receiving hardly any support money wise? I laughed hard in many places. Sperling has a funny, sad, romantic, murder in thought, but really? I would not murder my husband, but he’d be paying me the big bucks!
Review by Lee Cluff: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Beginners guide to spouse removal. Reviewed in the United States on May 16, 2023. Verified Purchase Fun read. I live in Virginia MN. and could relate to some areas in the book. I read in couple of days. I will read more of her books.
Review by Larry Landgraf: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Spouse Removal: A Woman’s Guide to Murder! (LOL) Reviewed in the United States on August 19, 2020. Verified Purchase. The Beginner’s Guide to Spouse Removal by Sandra Sperling is a well-written and well-edited novel about two young gals, Merry and Nell, who are best friends who grow in a life where everything is a struggle. Merry’s dad deserted the family when she was young and her mother had a hard time making ends meet.
As Merry grows older, she vows to never be poor again. She and Nell work hard to start their hairstyling business, going to school while just barely scraping by to make ends meet. They are successful and eventually marry and have kids. Their husbands are also best friends.
Nell’s husband dumps her and leaves her penniless when he stashes assets and Nell gets little in the divorce. Then, Merry suspects her husband is going to do the same. But she has a plan… not a very well-thought-out plan, but a plan nevertheless. She is going to keep an eye on their assets, kill her husband to make it look like an accident to collect double-indemnity on their insurance policy, and live happily ever after.
Well, this sounds like a good plan but Merry finds that it is much more difficult to carry out than she thought. I’m not going to spoil the ending for you. You’ll have to read this humorous story yourself to find out what happens. This is a great read and you won’t want to miss it. I highly recommend The Beginner’s Guide to Spouse Removal.
Review by Paul Falk, Author/Reviewer: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. A story of one person’s struggle for survival. Reviewed in the United States on June 20, 2019. Verified Purchase. Off to a running start, from page one, the author created a storyline that tugged at my every heart string. The main character, Merry Kessler, was defined with crystal clear clarity. The narrative succeeded in bombarding me with nonstop twists and turns. With every passing scene, I soon discovered there’d be no turning my head away – my kind of read! With no reservation, I recommend this well-written book.
Growing up in a small Minnesota town, I came to bear witness to the tumultuous life and times of Merry. Held prisoner through a life of poverty was all she had known growing up as a child. Humiliated by her peers, she’d been sent off to school in nothing more than rags.
Having attained adolescence, she was obsessed with the realization that enduring a life in the poorhouse would no longer be part of her future. It was time for change.
She’d do whatever it would take to leave her wretched existence behind. It would be her primary goal well into adulthood. Pity the person who would get in her way.
Review by Ralph Peterson: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Funny, charming and a bit scary… I loved it! Reviewed in the United States on February 22, 2018. Verified Purchase. To say I truly enjoyed this book would be an understatement. It was fun and charming and a bit scary… My favorite line, and one that I think sums up the authors ability to tell a great story is this: “Although the local snakes and alligators offered unique possibilities for the elimination of my husband, I did not want to be responsible for my mother-in-laws collapse.” How could you not want to keep reading? If you are looking for a fun, quick, lighthearted read, this is it.
Review by Mary Kay: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Beginner’s Guide keeps you guessing right up to the end. Reviewed in the United States on November 1, 2017. Verified Purchase. One of the important parts of writing a book or novel is to be able to create a lead character with whom the reader cares about and develops feelings for. Ms. Sperling is able to do just that in her book. You care about Merry and her life and what she goes through. The author has a wonderful way of keeping you involved in Merry’s life experiencing all of the emotions and also keeps you guessing what’s going to happen right to the very end.
Review by Judy Mastin: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Loved her sense of humor throughout. Reviewed in the United States on November 7, 2017. Verified Purchase. Sandra’s imagination went above and beyond in this book. it holds your interest from the first page. i read it in seven hours. loved her sense of humor throughout. the ending was not what i expected. hope she writes another one soon. she’s on my list of favorite authors.
Paperback: 238 Pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 20, 2017)
Fiction (Women’s Divorce)
Fiction (Contemporary Women)
About The Author: Sandra Sperling was born in Nevada and began her creative life in Minnesota, where, as a child, she wrote a play and a short story.
Eventually, she attempted a horror novel, but it didn’t horrify. Her mother, while reading the manuscript, began to laugh helplessly and leaned against a door for support, sliding to the floor like a piece of cooked spaghetti.
Deciding she was a failure as a writer, Sandy switched to painting dry-brush watercolors. The pull to write, however, was too strong to resist, so while still in Minnesota, she again began to write, publishing some short stories and advancing to novels.
She currently lives in Kentucky with her husband, she enjoys taking nature walks, refinishing old furniture and reading.
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Twitter: Sandy Sperling3
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