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My Work

The Scent of God: A Memoir

"A riveting memoir of devout faith and forbidden love." -- Star Tribune Best of 2006 Minnesota Authors


"Impossible to put down. The extraordinary beauty of [Bissell's] writing made me wish this book would never end." Ann Patchett, Bel Canto


"A deeply moving tale of a woman torn between her love for God and her love for one of his emissaries." -- Publishers Weekly


"Bissell seems to find inner joy even during life's most difficult trials . . . she writes about spiritual matters with a marvelous clarity of vision." -- The Washington Post


“Superlative . . . like holding a prism to the light. All the elements of faith, vocational discernment, sexuality, family, growth and change - both personal and institutional - are lovingly and critically presented in their ambiguity and power.” --Ridge Reviews and Reflections


“Refreshing, invigorating, and inspirational. Recommended for all libraries.” -Library Journal "[A] powerful piece of writing, a profound and honest meditation on love." -- The Tablet (England)

Return to the Monastery

Twenty-six years after she left the monastery for life in the world, Beryl returns, hoping to walk one last time through its hallowed corridors and spaces.

A View of the Lake

These tales of the singular joys and challenges of moving from a city to a rural area will resonate with anyone who dreams of downsizing, picking up and moving to a life alongside a lake and its denizens. Each chapter captures the nature of the North Shore and the ways in which everything and everyone is shaped by the Big Lake.


"A delightful book, sure to engage . . . [t]he author of the beautiful memoir The Scent of God reels the reader in again with her elegant prose. This book could be a primer for anyone considering a move to the North Shore. It's not painless making the transition from urban to rural life and frequently married couples find that one or the other makes the transition more easily. Beryl's willingness to share how the house on the lake became home for both of them makes this an intensely personal book. -- Rhonda Silence, Cook County News Herald


" A great immersion into life up the Shore, both humorous and sweet." -- Laurie Hertzel, Minneapolis Star Tribune "


From keeping your blueberry patch a secret to finding peace in a view of Lake Superior, Beryl Singleton shares her experiences in essays . . . about landscape, family, friends and the lure of the body of water that draws Minnesotans. -- Maryann Grossman, St. Paul Pioneer Press


“For those eager to enjoy a vivid journey to this majestic inland sea, A View of the Lake is a splendid introduction” – Emilie Buchwald,publisher emeritus, Milkweed editions


“At once evocative, calming and deeply spiritual, Bissell’s writing is something to be treasured.” – Alison McGhee, Pulitzer Prize nominee and No. 1 New York Times bestselling author


“Beryl’s personal story of life before the Lake, and the solace the Lake provides, are woven throughout, but the people of Lake Superior are her real subject.” – Catherine Watson, author Roads Less Traveled and Home on the Road


“Reading her short stories is like collecting stones along the Big Lake’s rugged shoreline. So many are so beautiful you can’t help but pick them up and refuse to let them go.”– Chuck Frederick, author Leatherheads of the North and Editorial Page Editor, Duluth News Tribune

The New Writer's Handbook, Volume 2

The all-new 2008 edition (Vol. 2) of this annual anthology of best advice for writers edited by Philip Martin and published by Scarletta Press.

Surviving Ophelia

Mothers Share Their Wisdom in Navigating the Tumultuous Teenage Years in this anthology edited by Cheryl Dellasaga and published by Perseus NY in 2001.