lesley kagen Lesley on Facebook
lesley kagen
lesley books book clubs news contact


The Resurrection of Tess Blessing Reader Praise for The Resurrection of Tess Blessing

"Kagen walks the line between the tragic and the comic, and introduces us to a cavalcade of interesting, whimsical characters. Concern for Tess will keep readers turning the pages, and the touches of magic and unique narrative voice will make them sorry to reach the end."

"Kagen's talent shines in this wholly original and richly imagined story where heartbreak is softened with humor and a touch of magic."

"This book is magical, funny, touching, and perfect! For all the women in your life: mothers, daughters, sisters, best friends - it's the perfect read and I am a huge fan of Lesley Kagen!"
   —Writer Crys

"WOW....by far, one of the best books I have ever read!!! I actually could NOT stop reading!!! There is SO much every woman can relate to.....from marital problems.. to terrible childhoods....to children that are troubled beyond reason.....and then,,, of course,,, the POW that we all get from life..., be it loss, or unexpected illness or just everyday disappointments.....this is a roller coaster book that will keep you intrigued and anxious to see what the results are."

"The perfect read for anyone who has (or knows someone who has) struggled with a rocky point in a marriage, challenging teenagers, or a health scare. Kagen has masterfully woven these elements into a story full of drama, surprises, and magical moments. After reading, I am even more convinced that her books should be turned into a movie -- touching, entertaining, funny."

"Never predictable, with a story that you want to both savor and devour, The Resurrection of Tess Blessing is a book that will resonate with you long after you finish reading. 5 stars and a book club MUST read!!!" ---Mrs. Mommy Booknerd "Another great story from Lesley Kagen. This touching story tackles serious issues with humor and heart. By the end of the book I felt like Tess Blessing was an old friend. This novel is my favorite kind of read, smart, surprising and thought provoking sprinkled with the right amount of laughs. Read and enjoy! "

"Fantastic. Just fantastic."


The Undertaking of Tess Reader Praise for The Undertaking of Tess

"The Finley sisters are guaranteed to steal your heart as you laugh out loud at this bittersweet novella."

"The story is told through Tessie's eyes—11yrs old—which is very tricky for an author to pull off because most authors don't get it right. Lesley Kagen did."

"The Undertaking of Tess is Kagen at her best. Drawing the reader into the lives of the characters so we feel as if we're living in their spare room (not that the Finley's have one!) is where Lesley Kagen's genius lies."

"Her stories have it all: compelling characters telling gripping stories, with dashes of humor and mystery to sweeten the deal. If you haven't read this gifted writer, you should."

"I love that there are authors out there that can completely enrapture me in a little over 100 pages and leave me feeling satisfied. Now, after reading The Undertaking of Tess, I know that Lesley Kagen is one of those authors."
   —Bending the Spine

"The Undertaking of Tess is a brilliant and haunting tale of the Finley sisters (Tess and Birdie) in their quest to maneuver through an unpredictable world. Their world is plagued by loss, guilt and in the end growth."

"Lesley Kagen is a storyteller at heart. I fell in love with these sisters."

"Thank you, Lesley, for writing yet another good read."

"One of the things that Lesley Kagen does best is write through a child's voice. When I was reading The Undertaking of Tess, through the eyes of Tess, it was like I was right there with her, in her kitchen, listening. It's very hard for an adult to write as a child. It looks FAR easier than it is, and Lesley does it perfectly, with heart and humor and courage and grief shining right on through."

"I quickly fell in love with the courageous, wilful Tessie Finley, as she plotted a way to help her emotionally frail little sister, Birdie, accept the death of the father they both adored. Tessie's 'to-do' lists were endearing, and her take on the grown-ups' world was both hysterical, and achingly accurate. I read this novella twice, simply because I didn't want to let go of these two little girls."
   —The Quiet Reader


Mare's Nest Reader Praise for Mare's Nest

"With villains, shameful horse practices, disappointments and heartbreaks, this novel takes you on a journey of love, friendship and recovery. With Kagen's brilliant voice and great dialogue, you find yourself once again engrossed in an amazing, well written story that is both emotional and exciting. Do not pass up reading this 5 STAR novel."
   —Emily Lewis

"Lesley takes us on a journey through a mother/daughter relationship, one which is so powerful...you will never want the book to end!"
   —Mary Lane

"Lesley Kagen writes with insight, warmth, and humor. Even if you don't know a thing about the competitive world of horses (as I don't) it matters very little as you find yourself deeply involved pulling for Mom and daughter in this story of a Mother's love."
   —Kerry Tanner

"This is a very family oriented book and will touch the hearts of every mother who has battled against and championed for her daughter."
   —Rebecca W.

"This book not only brings to light the challenges we have as a mother and trying to do what is best for our daughters, but the risk mothers take in trying to maintain a healthy balance for our kids."
   —Teresa Hargett

"As always Lesley captures you with her uncanny and intense understanding of people and life—this is what makes every book she writes a must read. If you share a passion and love with your child not just for horses (although for certain if you do) you must read Mare's Nest."
   —Mother/Horse Lover

"Brilliantly written once again, Kagen has taken us into a space, though never inhabited, that is compelling and involving. Like her other works, it's really a tale of family and love, the root of it all. Thank you Ms. Kagen. Keep up your good works."
   —John Lansing

"If you ever owned a horse, are thinking about buying one, or have a daughter begging you for one—or if you want be immersed in an amazing story about what a parent will sacrifice for a child, then Mare's Nest is a must read. This expose will have tongues wagging in the horse business."

"Book clubs will have a lot to talk about, and there are reader questions and an author interview at the back of the book to guide in discussions. Highly recommended."

"I haven't been able to stop reading it!!!"

"I simply did not want Mare's Nest to end. Just didn't. :-) Loved every minute of it. As one who lives on a horse farm, I found myself hooked from page 1. Thank you, Lesley."
   —Pam Cable

"A captivating and inspiring story of a mother's love and the special bonds of mother and daughter. As a mother with two daughters myself this book touched my heart."

"I was anxiously awaiting another release by Lesley Kagen as I love all her books. This one did not disappoint! A must read for Kagen fans, horse lovers, Mothers and Daughters everywhere."

"Lesley Kagen does it again! This talented author takes a different literary road with Mare's Nest and continues to leave her devoted readers with a story that touches our hearts."

"This book brought my horse-crazy childhood of bouncing from barn to barn, willing to do anything to get on a horse, vividly to life again for me. I recognized with relish the shady operators, the fragile egos, and the ruthless show moms Ms. Kagen nails with humor and flair."

"Mare's Nest is a story that those of us with or without children can be whisked off, immersed in her story of compassion and angst. Brilliantly written once again, Kagen has taken us into a space, though never inhabited, that is compelling and involving. Like her other works, it's really a tale of family and love, the root of it all. Thank you Ms. Kagen. Keep up your good works."
   —John Lansing

"I've been a fan of Lesley Kagen's since her first novel, Whistling in the Dark, and I have to say that I found Mare's Nest to be her best book yet."
   —Anna R.


Good Graces Reader Praise for Good Graces

"I just finished reading Good Graces and loved every minute! I hated to see it end. I loved the humor, compassion and suspense! I thoroughly enjoyed all the characters! Especially Sally and Troo! I'd like to read more about these two wonderful girls, and I'm hoping for yet a third sequel!"

"I loved Whistling in the Dark and Good Graces did not disappoint me. I love Sally and Troo, I was laughing out loud at some of their antics! The only problem is I want to read more... I am hoping this will not be the end of the O'Malley sisters and their wonderful neighborhood."

"Lesley Kagen is an extraordinary author. She has a gift of giving authentic voice to her child characters."
   —McGuffy Ann

"Good Graces has all the makings of a great story—the goodies and baddies and the usual happy ending. I'm so pleased to have come across someone who really writes my kind of books."

"The unforgettable characters and clever twists of plot kept me reading voraciously...not wanting to miss a thing!"

"Absolutely marvelous. Equally good, if not better, than Whistling in the Dark. I just loved it, every bit of it."

"Trust me, you will not be able to put it aside."

"This is by far one of the greatest sequels ever written. A book than cannot be missed!"


"Bravo, Bravo!!! This book is flawless and has left me wanting more. A must read!"

"Gripping novel with enough twists and turns to keep my interest."

"Readers will fall in love with Troo and Sally all over again."


Tomorrow River Reader Praise for Tomorrow River

"Tomorrow River could become a classic...it's that good!"
   —Doris G.

"I just finished reading Tomorrow River and absolutely adored it."
   —Anne S.

"If you like twists, you'll love this book. What an adventure!"
   —Rochelle S.

"Cleverly wrought masterpiece."

"Tomorrow River is a fabulous read! I was enthralled from the first page to the last."
   —LeAnn K.

"Lesley Kagen has surpassed herself! A great summer read!"
   —Mary L.

"The twins in Tomorrow River were two of the best developed character I've ever read."
   —Lyn A.

"A classic is born!"

"I am speechless (A rarity for me)."
   —Lenore B.

"Tomorrow River is a page turning novel of suspense and intrigue that comes alive in your mind. You won't be able to put it down."
   —Emily L.

"This novel has a number of unexpected twists, which makes turning each page a delight."
   —Nancy L.

"Tomorrow River is a beautifully crafted memorable novel filled iwth a cast of endearing characters."
   —Pandre S.


Land of a Hundred Wonders Reader Praise for Land Of A Hundred Wonders

"This book easily rates as my favorite of 2008. If I used ratings in my reviews, this one would get a 5/5 rating, which is saying something since the majority of the books I read top out at 4/5. Gibby McGraw is the most incredibly endearing character I've met in a long time. And she's funny—so funny."
   —Shana Schmadeke

"If you're looking for a novel to curl up with on a quiet night, look no further! Land of a Hundred Wonders is one of my all time favorites. The story is deeply compelling, with a perfect mix of mystery and Southern charm.""
   —H.S. Havlik

"To transport the reader to another place and another time is Lesley Kagen's special talent. Her characters are quirky, some are charming and some you love to hate. This is a delightful read that is not to be missed!"
   —Marsha Dale

"Lesley Kagen's most recent novel, Land of a Hundred Wonders is a nifty fast-paced read with so many twists and turns you'll not want to leave your reading perch. Once again, Lesley has done an amazing job with authentic characters and a thrilling plot!"
   —S. Schroeder

"Gibby McGraw may not be QR, but Lesley Kagen sure is. What an extraordinary novel! Kagan's writing is superb, her plot is perfectly woven. This book is a keeper and deserves a place beside A Tale of Two Cities, Little Women, and Grapes of Wrath."
   —M. Bess

"Last summer's great read was Lesley Kagen's Whistling in the Dark. If you enjoyed that book, you will love her new book Land of a Hundred Wonders. I loved the characters and their colorful language and cadence to their conversations, and I was inspired by a central theme to the story: good hearts are more important than good smarts."
   —John Bobek

"The book club just had Land of a Hundred Wonders as our last selection. We all enjoyed it and had a very lively discussion once again. Both your books appear at first to be tales of adventure, but as we discuss them we find more depth than first meets the eye. This one led to discussions of racism, and what it means to be NQR."
   —Margaret O'Connor

"This book is a terrific follow up to the delightful first book of Lesley Kagan's, Whistling in the Dark. Told in the first person voice of young Gibby, who is NQR (Not Quite Right), the book takes the reader on a tour of Cray Ridge, KY and introduces a wide range of quirky characters. There is a mystery, some action and just a whole heap of loving. A truly satisfying read."
   —Margaret O'Brian

"I read it on vacation, and LOVED it! You have a wonderful way of capturing the innocence and beauty of childhood, while weaving an intruiging storyline. Like your other book, this one is being gifted to several friends."
   —Lisa Kenny

"Your newest book is another winner, with such vivid and quirky characters in a brand new setting that's so easy to visualize because of your colorful writing skills! I loved this book as much as Whistling in the Dark and, just as with your first, I hated this one to end. I'm partial to happy endings and this was a show-stopper. You are so adept at tangling things all up and then slowly untwisting them, sometimes in a poignant way and sometimes hilariously. There were times when I could barely stand the suspense, and then your sense of humor kicked in and helped me through those tough spots."
   —Sharon the Librarian

"Thank you for your creative writing in bringing me another fantastic novel to enjoy. I have come to the conclusion that we are NQR in some way or another. That phrase will stick with me for a long time, as will the delightful persona of Gibby and her family and friends you introduced me to."
   —Lenore Buss

"I just finished reading Land of a Hundred Wonders and loved it every bit as much as I enjoyed Whistling in the Dark. I sincerely hope you're working on your third novel."
   —Peg Cranny

"What a joy to read! This book is full of both blatant and subtle humor, such as phrases like "hope springs internal" because our girl, Gibby, is NQR (Not Quite Right) and she says things that sound almost right but not quite. I'd advise you to read this one a little more slowly than you might if you are a quick reader, because you'll want to catch every one of these phrases as they are hysterical! I was engaged in the story from the first page, and didn't want to put it down when it was past time to turn off the light and go to sleep. This book is set in the seventies, and Kagen captures that era very well. As much as I adored Whistling in the Dark, I found this very different book to be equally well written and fun to read. Kagen is an author to watch, and she is near the top of my short list of favorite authors!"
   —A Reader


Whistling in the Dark Reader Praise for WHISTLING IN THE DARK

"Ms. Kagan has the ability to make the reader experience belly laughter, jitters, tingling fear, and sentimental sadness. Descriptions and dialogue are colloquial, while the plot line turns the pages for you. Gift yourself to this summer treat...you won't regret it."
   —Gayla Collins

"This book is right up there with To Kill A Mockingbird. It is destined, I'm sure, to be a classic. What a delight to be transported to that time and place with such colorful characters. It would make a fabulous movie."
   —Judy Correlus

"Happily surprised to find such a treasure. Mystery, comedy, coming of age, tender, frightening. Beyond well-written. A new classic. A definite classroom choice. Bravo to the author. Very glad I found this gem."
   —Debra Lamoreaux

"I loved, loved, loved this book so very much...the characters in the book were so real and dear to me that I wish I could go live with them and I also wish I had read slower so I could have spent more time with them. I recommend this novel to absolutely everyone!"

"For anyone who enjoyed reading Water for Elephants than you need to check this book out. Whistling in the Dark is a fun, adventurous, light-hearted story. It mainly focuses on Troo and Sally, two sisters who get into trouble and seek to solve a mystery of a serial killer in their own neighborhood. I would have to say my favorite character was Troo. She may have been the youngest one but she didn't act like it. Troo acted more like a 40 year old french woman trapped in a seven year old's body. This book will bring back memories for anyone who enjoyed they childhood times and friends of the good old days. Check Whistling in the Dark out and you won't be sorry you did."
   —Cheryl K.

"I read this book in two days. It wasn't suspenseful in a thriller novel kind of way, but it had the most engaging narrator in little Sally O'Malley, that you couldn't help but pick it up again for "just a few more chapters."
   —C. Skarvce

"HIGHLY recommend this book to everyone. You will not be sorry you read it. ENJOY!!!!"
   —Pamala A. Podanny

"Loved this book! From the uniqueness of its characters to the sense of days gone by to the emotion spilled in page after page as neighborhood kids grow up with and through each other, this is a great read."

"You know a book is wonderful when it makes you wish there were going to be other books about these sisters. You really grow to care about each of them. The book is at times heartbreaking, suspenseful, funny and full of hope."
   —GS Miller

"This book is one of the very few books that I was able to find all different types of emotion in. I laughed, I cried, I sat on the edge of my seat and I found my self constantly trying to figure out what the next step would be. While the ending was not a total surprise it was not the obvious either! I have a feeling it will be a while before I find another one like this!"
   —Donna Worthy

"I love it when a writer totally keeps a secret until the end with clues to the revelation of that secret just right there. What I mean is that the reader does not even know there is a secret. Using a child narrator as the main character is such a clever way to unfold the story without revealing that there is a true truth. This is one of those books requiring a second read to catch all the things you unknowingly missed the first time."
   —Judy K. Polhemus