Frieda's Song

Frieda's Song

Finalist for Next Generation Indie Book Award for Historical Fiction

Ellen Prentiss Campbell’s new novel Frieda’s Song is inspired by the life and work of renowned psychiatrist Frieda Fromm-Reichmann. Fleeing Nazi Germany in 1935, Frieda came to the Chestnut Lodge Sanatorium in Rockville, Maryland. She established the Lodge’s reputation for innovative treatment of mental illness, dying in her custom-built cottage on the grounds under mysterious circumstances in 1957. Decades later, psychotherapist Eliza Kline and her teenage son Nick live in Frieda’s Cottage, next door to the closed and abandoned hospital. Eliza, fascinated by Frieda, feels her lingering influence. Frieda’s Song is a tale of the way history and chance, and the work and people we love, shape our lives—and how the past is always present, haunting us.

May 25, 2021, Apprentice House Press
Paperback, 294 pages, $18.99
Hardcover $27.99
Ebook $6.99

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Praise for Frieda’s Song

“Campbell intriguingly explores the lives of two women as they work among the mentally ill and struggle to find acceptance and love in their own lives. In different decades they inhabit the same cottage. The connection between the two characters is moving and unusual, and the book is a small miracle.”

—Jack El-Hai, author of The Lobotomist and The Nazi and the Psychiatrist

“When Eliza Kline and her teenage son move into the historic cottage of the renowned Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, she thinks she’ll find both refuge and inspiration. The house was designed by Frieda herself, she died in it, and her portrait hangs on the wall. Soon Eliza discovers there are other surprising ways in which Frieda still occupies her territory.

Campbell deftly weaves a fabric of history and chance from the lives of two very different women both dedicated, heart and mind, to the life-affirming profession of healing.”

—Valerie Martin, author of I Give It to You and Mary Reilly

“Seventy years apart in time, two women’s lives form the basis of this provocative novel of parallel narratives…. Binding these two forceful women through the ages is their resolve to save and hold fast those who give us reasons to live. Like the best therapy, Frieda’s Song pushes headlong into unraveling the mysteries of the human heart.”

—Steven Schwartz, author of Madagascar: New and Selected Stories and A Good Doctor’s Son

“Campbell makes the history of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann and psychotherapy relevant politically as well as surprisingly romantic. Frieda says, ‘Human nature tends to health like plants to sunlight.’ All of her characters—both in the past and in the present—yearn for their own kind of sunlight. A wonderful, compelling read.”

—Diana Wagman, author of Life #6: A Novel and The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets

“Threading contemporary and historical, fact and fiction, Frieda’s Song is the page-turning story of renowned psychiatrist Freida Fromm–Reichmann, and the fictional alter-ego who inhabits the cottage at Chestnut Lodge, where she once lived. Psychiatry, loss, fractured families are a part of the narrative, but it’s decidedly a story about place; Ellen Prentiss Campbell writes compellingly of the fate of a historic property in Rockville, Maryland in the wake of encroaching development.”

—Susan Coll, author of The Stager and Rockville Pike

Frieda’s Song brings to vivid life the remarkable Frieda Fromm-Reichmann—German psychotherapist, teacher, and ex-wife of Erich Fromm—and her experiences of exile, love, and loss in mid-century America. Counterposing Frieda’s life with that of a present-day therapist, this beguiling novel offers a tale at once historical and contemporary, which the reader won’t expect—and won’t want to finish.”

—Martha Cooley, author of The Archivist and Thirty-Three Swoons

“This beautiful novel glows with wisdom and warmth as Campbell shows us how our common humanity links the mentally ill and the healthy, the dead and the living, and the loved and the lost. Readers will be caught between wanting to eagerly turn the pages to find out what happens to Frieda, Eliza and Nick, or slowly savoring the experience of this rich story.”

—Carrie Callaghan, author of A Light of Her Own and Salt the Snow

“In this rich psychological thriller the author’s subtle choices make for a compelling read. A book that cannot be put down!”

—Gary Stein, author of Touring the Shadow Factory

Known By Heart

Known By Heart

Love is necessary but not easy in these stories of love’s joys and challenges, regrets and uncertainties. Complicated people fall in and out of love, care for each other, delight each other, disappoint each other, yearn for each other. Ellen Prentiss Campbell tells of all sorts of love: young love, lost love, love found perhaps too late, family love, love between friends. Her writing has been praised for its realism and grace. These untraditional love stories illustrate that love is essential, but not for the faint of heart.

May 1, 2020, Apprentice House Press
Paperback, 170 pages, $14.99
Hardcover, $24.99
Ebook $6.99

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Praise for Known By Heart

“The stories in Ellen Prentiss Campbell’s Known By Heart burst with lyricism and a depth of human understanding. This is a moving and beautifully written collection that tells us so much about the complex nature of love.”

—Elizabeth Poliner, author of As Close to Us As Breathing

“Larry Brown once said, ‘The best literature is always about matters of the human heart,’ and
that’s precisely where Ellen Prentiss Campbell dares go in her new collection Known By Heart. These are mature tales that have earned their knowledge and resonance. Precise as open-heart surgery, laying bare the more rarely seen inner chambers of love’s entropy and endurance, its old flames and addictions, even the ridiculous vanity of self-love. Ms. Prentiss Campbell’s work pulses with pain and pleasure. Intricate, vulnerable, and above all, compassionate.”

—Marc Nieson, author of Schoolhouse: Lessons on Love & Landscape

“What stories we tell, whose stories are told, are crucial matters, and Ellen Prentiss Campbell takes great care in her choices and in their telling. Known By Heart, a beautifully detailed study of human intimacy—with all its loves and sorrows—unfolds in the voice of a gifted writer, who remembers to include the small unknown betrayals, the too-often-neglected human kindnesses, revealing the space between us, which she reminds us aches like a ‘phantom limb.’ These stories will hurt in their loss and offer solace in helping us remember we aren’t ‘quite done yet.’”

—Todd Davis, author of Winterkill

“Keen psychological insight and a poetic flair for language bring these stories to vivid life. Campbell’s characters struggle to escape their dilemmas, whether the confines of stifling families or their own minds. To the reader’s delight, some characters pop up in multiple stories, weaving a world of recognizable human longings that are credible, poignant, and beautifully described.”

—Donna Baier Stein, author of Scenes from the Heartland

“Ellen Prentiss Campbell prefaces her intense collection of short stories Known By Heart with a line from The Riddle Song: ‘What is the story that has no end?’ The answer is love, a complicated and ever-shifting answer… Campbell knows that old longings and lost loves continue long after the physical lovers disappear…and lovers most keep what they most lose—with paradoxical intensity.”

—Lois Marie Harrod, author of Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis

The Bowl with Gold Seams

The Bowl with Gold Seams

Winner of Indie Excellence Award for Historical Fiction

Ellen Prentiss Campbell’s debut novel was inspired by an unusual chapter in the history of the Bedford Springs Hotel in Pennsylvania. During the summer of 1945, the State Department selected the resort to serve as the detainment center for the Japanese ambassador to Berlin, his staff, and their families.

The novel tells Hazel Shaw’s story of unexpected personal transformation — both as a young woman working at the hotel among the Japanese, and the further story of the reverberating lifelong consequences of that experience. The final events of the war challenge Hazel’s beliefs about enemies and friends, victory and defeat, love and loyalty. In the ensuing years she remains haunted by memories. Long after the end of the war, an unexpected encounter causes Hazel to return to the hotel and she must confront her past, come to terms with her present life, and determine her future.

May 1, 2016, Apprentice House Press
Paperback, 215 pages, $16.99
Ebook $6.99

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Praise for The Bowl with Gold Seams

“With a sharp eye for detail and accuracy, Ellen Prentiss Campbell recreates a little-known true moment between the Allied victories in World War II—VE Day and VJ Day—when a small resort hotel in the gentle hills of Pennsylvania housed detained Japanese diplomats, and their families and staff, who had been working in Germany. The complexities of wartime loss and bitterness on the home front—and of human compassion—come to fore when one young woman’s life is intensely entwined in this single summer’s experience, and when the memories cascade with poignant force decades later. This unusual story surprised and moved me, especially in its tender portrayals of father and daughter, and of difficult loyalties in friendship and love—loyalties that would, as Prentiss Campbell writes, come to make what we assume about ourselves and ‘our small world…disappear like morning mist burning off the river.’”

—Eugenia Kim, author of The Calligrapher’s Daughter

“In Ellen Prentiss Campbell’s psychologically astute, highly original novel, cracks in a bowl are repaired with gold, and the resulting network of shimmering lines makes it lovelier than ever. The bowl figures in a fascinating, historically based story: as Japan loses the second World War, captured Japanese diplomats are confined in a Pennsylvania hotel that is staffed by local young people. Years later, the head of a school in trouble, meets up by chance with the child she befriended in the last months of the war, and experiences again the beauty of what is broken.”

—Alice Mattison, author of When We Argued All Night<

“This is sharp, vivid, and gut-wrenching story-telling of the most powerful kind.”

—C.M. Mayo, author of The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire

Contents Under Pressure

Contents Under Pressure

Nominated for the 2015 National Book Award in Fiction

In this collection of eleven short stories, Ellen Prentiss Campbell explores loss and yearning, hope and fear, and the tension between imagination, memory, and reality. She takes her characters — young, middle-aged, and elderly — to moments where the border between past and present crumbles.

Campbell uncovers dramas and mysteries beneath the surface of daily life whether in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, the suburbs of Washington, D.C. or the heart of Manhattan. A practicing psychotherapist, she brings the art of listening for the unspoken, and expressing the unspeakable, to these pages.

February 2016, Broadkill River Press
Paperback, 180 pages, $16.95
Ebook $7.99

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Praise for Contents Under Pressure

“Contents Under Pressure is a beautiful story collection by a writer whose wisdom and compassion illuminate every page. Ellen Prentiss Campbell understands how her vividly drawn characters can love and hurt each other simultaneously, and she probes into the recesses of their hearts. Altogether a pleasure to read.”

—Author Lynne Sharon Schwartz

“The strange and the unexpected play powerful roles in Ellen Prentiss Campbell’s haunting stories of transformation. The characters’ dilemmas—a foundering marriage, a child’s death, a father’s madness—are not so much resolved at the story’s end as they are given surprising new forms. In one, an amazing tour de force, a young woman drawn to the underwater world is transformed into a mermaid. Campbell’s precise, elegant prose renders her gift for the uncanny both believable and a wonderful read.”

—Kate Blackwell, author of You Won’t Remember This

“Ellen Prentiss Campbell’s Contents Under Pressure is an aptly named book, indeed. These stories crackle with tension, delivered in language with the concision and precision of poetry. Never predictable, always insightful, and often breathtakingly acute. Campbell is a writer to watch.”

—Rose Solari, author of A Secret Woman