Review Excerpts


“The moving tale of these two women as they struggle with life, love, and the care of troubled patients becomes a journey shared over decades…. Told via interwoven narration, the tale becomes a threaded fabric of voices as the characters—affected by apprehension, history, and political events—emerge from the pate to embed in the reader’s own imagination…. Imaginatively crafted, this is a remarkable book.” —Janet A. Martin, Washington Independent Review of Books

“Prentiss Campbell, a trained psychotherapist, is also a deft ventriloquist. She breathes distinct life into each of the three characters’ points of view, gracing Frieda with a formality and severity that feel true to a woman who escaped genocide and became a pioneer in her field at a time when women psychiatrists were scarce. The distinctively different rhythm and tone to the past are a testament to Prentiss Campbell’s sharp ear and intelligent research. The author skillfully crafts a book within a book, applying an entirely different style to Frieda’s journal than that of the novel that frames it. When the point of view moves from Frieda to Eliza, there are some similarities of voice and preoccupation as a result of the women’s shared profession…. But the shift to Nick’s point of view showcases Prentiss Campbell’s vocal dexterity…. Nick is a troubled teenage boy who couldn’t come from anywhere except the book’s present-day suburban America.” —Amy Lyons, Necessary Fiction

“An ode to the healing power of love and psychotherapy…. This historical novel conveys a powerful message about how the ghosts we carry within us shape our lives and understanding of each other…. Well-developed characters, a perfectly-paced and multilayered story told in clear, sparkling prose…. People who are curious about the process of psychological exploration will find this novel fascinating reading.” —Deborah Derrickson Kossmann, Tiferet Journal (starts p. 92)

“The story develops into a meditation on the ambiguities of motherhood, the helplessness of parenthood, and the frustrations caused by the clashes between professional ambitions and professional realities…. With a sharp eye for the contradictions inherent to every person, the same events and personality traits from three different perspectives…. A powerful historical novel in which women across generations share deep experiences.” —Erika Harlitz Kern, Foreword Reviews

“The chapters on Dr. Fromm-Reichmann are written as fictional diary entries…a style of reflective narration, which highlights [her] melancholic mood and her personal trauma over the…Jews in Nazi Germany…. This part of the story brings home the often-overlooked traumatic experience of Jewish Americans and refugees living through the war in ‘safe’ countries, terrified for loved ones caught in Germany and occupied Europe.” —Jane Ann McLachan, Historical Novels Review



“Campbell …explores deeply universal matters of the heart with crisp, vivid prose…. As recognizable as these situation are…Campbell’s perceptive treatments of them often catch the reader by surprise…. How easy it is to be lulled into thinking these matters of the heart are somehow unique to each of us, so universal as to seem ordinary, when in fact they are the extraordinary things we all share, and the only ones that really matter in the end.” —Julia Tagliere, Washington Independent Review of Books

Known By Heart is filled with quiet, nuanced stories of memory and yearning…These are stories of quotidien life, universal and instantly recognizable, and still electric with possibilities and surprise…. To say that something is known by heart is to imply it has been repeated, over and over… But to know something by heart also says that it is loved, that it brings a measure of joy. Even when they are describing heartbreak, these stories with their deeply abiding humanity, bring that measure of joy.” —Jenny Yacovissi,  Late Last Night Books

“Tales of love in all its flavors and seasons…Campbell’s language is precise and succinct. Settings are economically and authentically wrought…With quick, supple turns of phrase, Campbell draws characters who are sublime in complexity…These are contemplative stories…best savored slowly.” —Jody Hobbs Hesler, South 85 Journal

“…Campbell offers no dramatic relief for the reader…. The result is a great, sounding pathos that stays with the reader long after the story is finished…. Campbell was a psychotherapist for many years. It was her job to help others find the yes of the way that opens. Her skill in tracing a path through the thorny thicket is evident in her stories.” —Ginger Eager, Necessary Fiction



“This brilliant tale of loss and redemption spans four decades, from a WWII-era Japanese detention center to the DC suburbs of the 1980s…. This beautifully structured debut novel magnificently conjures two slices of time some 40 years apart. The frame of 1985 embraces the novel’s inner heart, set in 1945… The stories Campbell tells in this relatively short novel have a lyrical glow; their suggestive details reverberate. Over and over again, her images do the double task of enhancing verisimilitude and extending into complex feeling/tones of yearning and sorrow…The Bowl with Gold Seams is not captured fully by the label “historical fiction,” though it is certainly that. It conveys a shimmering sense of intimacy and an awareness of brokenness on personal, family, community, and even national levels. It moves toward a closure that is not forced or fully realized, and that tentativeness is one exquisite note among many.” —Washington Independent Review of Books

“Hazel Shaw, a Quaker living near Bedford Hills in Pennsylvania, falls in love and has a very brief marriage, as her new husband is whisked off to fight in WWII. She and her neighbors, both Quaker and not, are shocked to hear that the Bedford Springs Hotel is going to house prisoners of war, in particular Japanese diplomats…. This is the story of her experience not only in that role but also as a human being…. Music, poetry, and books fashion bonds that surpass nationality. Loss touches every character and elicits stark questions about loyalty, betrayal, victory and defeat…. It’s been a long time since I couldn’t put a book down because I was so engrossed in the reading…. This is a poignant, beautiful gem of a historical novel written by a skilled author.” —Historical Novels Review

“The larger themes involve wartime dislocation, personal integrity, and intercultural identity… The plot lines focus on forgiveness and finding the Quaker way forward… The writing is sharp edged… The story is articulated in swift bursts of narrative that move the storyline along at a snappy pace.” —The Delmarva Review

“The Bowl with Gold Seams is a fine example of that genre of historical novel based on an intriguing footnote from the past. Like many of these books, what inspired the story may be quite small but it contains within it the echoes of much larger events. Historical fact: in the summer of 1945, the Bedford Springs Hotel in southern Pennsylvania was used as a detention center for interned Japanese diplomats. The novel: Prentiss Campbell imagines the time these diplomats and their staff members spent in the hotel through the eyes of Hazel Shaw, a young woman who volunteers to join the hotel staff during this politically charged moment. Hazel isn’t a disinterested worker, however, as her new husband—who was also her childhood best friend—has recently become missing in action in the Pacific theater.” —Necessary Fiction

“Many poignant themes are beautifully explored throughout — loss and absence, loneliness and separation, kindness and cruelty. faith and hopelessness, love and loyalty, life and death, and of course, race prejudice and hatred… Get the book and read it. You will not be disappointed. You will be surprised and moved.” —Bedford Gazette

“This insightful novel offers a beautiful story of how the way we see things can change. Its themes of fatherly love, confused loyalties, justice, vulnerability, and looking inward to take what’s broken and make it beautiful make this a novel that book clubs will want to discuss….. That it shows wartime and loss with such gentleness and precision is a tribute to the author’s finely honed skills as a critically acclaimed short story writer and to her experience as a practicing psychotherapist.” —Hungry for Good Books? (5-Star Review)

“The author realistically portrays both wartime concerns and the realities of racism in small town America. Campbell, a practicing psychotherapist, subtly warns readers to be aware of politics and its repercussions during any time of cross-cultural conflict…. From the land of earthquakes and survivors of the first atomic bombs, Campbell helps us learn new lessons about the long-term costs of trauma and what can be done to recover our humanity.” —Story Circle Book Reviews

“A story about loyalty and loss, The Bowl with Gold Seams is a moving account of a formative experience in one young woman’s life…. The distance of many years offers a powerful perspective that Campbell expertly capitalizes on. The Bowl with Gold Seams does not shy away from difficult topics, instead presenting a poignant and touching story of how what once was broken can be made beautiful.” —Foreword Reviews

“Ms. Campbell is a gifted storyteller… The Bowl with Gold Seams is a bildungsroman, but it’s also deeply engaged with how we continue to form our moral selves as adults.” —Rosemary & Reading Glasses



“Campbell grounds us in reality, unearthing the drama in otherwise mundane facets of school, work, love, and family…Contents Under Pressure shows us Campbell’s ability to frame poignancy, especially when she takes the time to carefully recollect life’s steepest humps and unfold her characters across stories.” —Coal Hill Review

“I was delighted by the freshness of each story, the graceful writing that makes storytelling look easy, but is in fact the hallmark of a very gifted author. This collection is highly recommended.” —Rosemary & Reading Glasses