The Queen of Sleepy Eye

The Queen of Sleepy Eye

4.5 9
by Patti Hill

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En route to college in the summer of 1975, sensible seventeen-year-old Amy gets stuck in smalltown Colorado when the 1958 Pontiac Bonneville Sports Coupe driven by her insufferable tiara-toting mom, Francie—former Queen of the Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, Corn Festival—surrenders to a mortally wounded transmission.

It doesn’t take long to realize that

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En route to college in the summer of 1975, sensible seventeen-year-old Amy gets stuck in smalltown Colorado when the 1958 Pontiac Bonneville Sports Coupe driven by her insufferable tiara-toting mom, Francie—former Queen of the Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, Corn Festival—surrenders to a mortally wounded transmission.

It doesn’t take long to realize that thirty-three-year-old Francie is out of money and in no hurry to let go of her daughter, so the two unpack indefinitely. Amy finds work at a funeral home, a place where her unlikely Christian faith can work itself out among the town’s young and old, geeks and jocks, hippies and clergy alike.

Trying not to judge her mom’s serial boyfriend escapades, Amy ends up in a tragic love triangle herself which gives both mother and daughter the chance to do some real growing up. But in a surprise twist, their road to healing still has many miles to go in 2008 as they travel back to Sleepy Eye in that old ’58 coupe.


The Queen of Sleepy Eye is written with exquisite depth of character . . . a fantastic story.”

—Hannah Alexander, author of the Hideaway series

“Few stories are able to balance both the crushing cost of sin and the transforming power of grace. The Queen of Sleepy Eye succeeds brilliantly. The author invites us on a journey with complex characters so real that we cry when they fail and rejoice when they reveal brilliant glimpses of God at work in their hearts. Patti Hill crafts each word with beauty and artistry, enhancing this poignant tale of regret and redemption.”

—Sharon Hinck, author of Symphony of Secrets and Renovating Becky Miller

“This book captured me from the first page! In every way, it’s a keeper—from the eloquent writing to the rich cast of characters that breathe life into this coming-of-age tale. But it’s more than just a story about growing up; it’s about life and loss, love and forgiveness, and discovering that there is more to the world than what we see. You’ll love The Queen of Sleepy Eye!”

—Susan May Warren, author of Taming Rafe

“Quirky yet powerfully emotional. Amy’s mother is outrageous, but it is also poignant how her daughter strives to understand her. This novel is a gem for all women's fiction lovers!”

—Camy Tang, author of Only Uni and Single Sashimi

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

In 1975, Amy can't wait to get to California and college. Unfortunately, her mother puts a kink in her plans, and Amy ends up running a funeral parlor and watching her mother's unflattering romantic behavior. To bide her time, Amy hangs out with the town's elderly and befriends the local hippies.

—Tamara Butler

Product Details

B&H Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.50(d)

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4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Rosedale More than 1 year ago
This book was unlike ANY I have read in the past and written by a Christian author made it ALL the more fun -- knowing it would be decent for all to read without language or situations best left alone. Patti totally transports the reader into another world and grips you from THE first page on -- you feel as if you are there and KNOW the people in her story. Its a VERY refreshing read for anyone that needs a change of pace with some humor and suspense and drama all in one! You must try it -- lets go Patti -- more novels soon!!??
J_Renee_Archer More than 1 year ago
The Queen of Sleepy Eye is as much a work of art as a piece of literature. Patti Hill transports the reader into the life of a 17-year old young woman in the mid-70s. The plan was to travel to California to attend college and leave behind the unstable lifestyle she had growing up in Illinois. Her mother had a different idea and took a detour. A broken-down Coupe and no money meant Amy was stuck in a small town for the summer working and living in a funeral home. The months spent in the cozy town of Cordial gave Amy experiences that would forever change her world. She had a summer of moral and personal challenge and growth as she experienced joy, grief, love and hate. The Queen of Sleepy Eye is the queen of descriptions. Hill has mastered the art of "show don't tell" writing. My favorites include, "In a popped-pimple sort of way" and "the girls in Good & Plenty colors." Her words turn intangible feelings into images the reader can grasp and, more importantly, identify with. I felt like I was part of the scenes created in the book. That is an amazing gift! Hill succeeds at making the main character human (imperfect) and life-like (realistic). Amy felt, said and did things that were accurate and believable for a female teenage character. Development of the characters is thorough and complete. At the end of the book the reader can say with confidence that she knows Amy. I found myself wondering about Amy long after the last page was read. I also want to commend Hill for an original story. The Queen of Sleepy Eye provides a plot unlike any novel I have read. The story has all the basic elements that make a good novel, like romance, conflict and good versus bad. Her combination of these elements results in a tale far from basic. I appreciated the twists on what could be considered standard plot developments. Two minor nitpicks: a few phrases not fitting to the time period and a case of too many similes. There were a few instances when a character, said or thought something I couldn't make fit with the time, 1975. "How dumb was that?" and "Kiss him, already." seem to be trendy lingo for today rather than 30 years ago. And the similes? Three similes in a span of nine sentences were just too much for me. While not every book is for every person, The Queen of Sleepy Eye is a good read for a broad audience. For those who remember the drama of discovering who you are, you will connect with Amy. For those who made some bad choices with life-changing consequences, you will relate to Amy's mother. For those who experienced a single-parent family, you will recognize the parent/child dynamics. Read the book and enjoy the innocence of the main character and the outstanding writing of Patti Hill.
Latayne More than 1 year ago
When I read The Queen of Sleepy Eye, I enjoyed the narration of the 17-year-old Amy and its authenticity. She remarks, "Enjoying God's grace is sloppy business" when she realizes with tears that the light from a church window didn't reveal, but rather overcame, her sins. And of course I loved Amy's wacky but endearing mother.

Another comment made by a minor character, an elderly priest, who asks when looking in a mirror, "Who is that old guy wearing my whippersnapper soul?" was equally perceptive and terrific.

All that is to say that Patti has a unique type of talent that can be compared with creating cliffhangers or unanswered (but leading) questions. She has the ability to create characters who are so real, they themselves leave the reader yearning for more --as if they were friends to whom we are bidding farewell. There's the bittersweet hope that even though they are going somewhere we cannot go, we want them to come back again.¿

Latayne C Scott¿
SusanM More than 1 year ago
Patti Hill is becoming one of my favorite Christian authors. I loved her "Garden Gate" series and had been looking forward to her next novel. "The Queen of Sleepy Eye" is a wonderful story about characters who reflect everyday struggles with life and how to apply the faith they live by. Even strong Christians wrestle with choices, and we see that even when wrong choices are made God is able to redeem them. An enjoyable read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
From beginning to end, Patti Hill's book will keep you captivated as she weaves a story of a daughter on life's road learning to deal with love, loss, and forgiveness. This book is written with compassion and humor and easy to relate to characters. Join the ride to Sleepy Eye and grow in grace along with Amy. Check out Hill's Garden Gate series for some more wonderful reads!
Reviews-By-Ann More than 1 year ago
Extremely satisfying tale of mother and daughter growing up one summer. Hill tells a full-bodied story--a daughter's faith, a mother's miniscule faith, a couple of hot guys, hippies, choices that change the rest of their lives. I found myself falling into infatuation right along with Amy. I appreciated that Hill doesn't candy coat her story. The heartbreak feels real. The healing feels real. I sighed at the end, thinking, now that was a good book.
Sharonksouza More than 1 year ago
Patti Hill has created an amazing story with amazing characters that made me both laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. Patti writes in a wonderful style that drew me in from the very first page and held me fast through every scene, every word. I hated to arrive at the end of this remarkable coming-of-age story.
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