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Book focuses on life, not death

"Even the Angels" by Patricia Kelly Santelmann tells a different story than the typical memoirs about dysfunctional families.

According to the author, this memoir "is a book about the ability to appreciate the sweet times of life, yet meet adversity with courage and grace."

It begins with the report of a car crash that kills four members of the Kelly family of Waseca, Minn., but goes beyond describing the impact of the tragedy.

"The focus of the story is on the lives of these vibrant people. Their stories are the heart of this book," Santelmann said.

Reader reaction has been positive, she said. "One reader wrote, 'We were drawn into your family's life by the stories you told. They give anyone who is reading the book a lesson on what it means to help those in need.' Another said, 'I laughed, and I cried.'"

She is married to Lyle Santelmann, a former Red Wing resident. The Santelmann family has lived in the Red Wing area for more than 150 years and many relatives live in the surrounding communities, Santelmann said.

She holds a doctorate from the University of Minnesota and is a writer and teacher of writing. Her work has appeared in Sign, Catholic Digest, McCall's and other publications.

"Even the Angels" softcover is $19.99; hard cover is $29.99.