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Reading About the Region! Meet: Trent D. Pendley

By: Jessica Campbell Last Updated: August 9, 2017

Dunes_novel_bookreading-2 This week’s local Region author is Trent D. Pendley. If you have not met him before, you can introduce yourself soon!

When Pendley was digging through and collecting his extended family history, he decided to throw fictionalized stories into the mix which became his novel, “Toys in the Closet.”

A gripping tale of ancestry and departed love, the book is a historical fictional story set within the sands of the Indiana Dunes on the southern shores of Lake Michigan. According to its summary, it is the tale of Nathan Franklin, a Jewish writer whose family participated in a vicious confrontation over the Hoosier coast between local environmentalists and industrialists. Franklin is visiting his beach-home on Christmas Day in the late 90’s. While exploring a local museum full of artwork and relics, he stumbles upon a history of treasures and a very protecting lover of them.

“Toys in the Closet” was a seven-year research and writing project, intended to save the Dunes when the conflicts lay inside a family about their homeland. From the author on Amazon: “This is a very cosmopolitan story, an American story, a Jewish story, a Chicago story, a Hoosier story, an Art connoisseurs story, with coming of age, civil rights and other contemporary social issues portrayed.”

With its 2015 publication date, “Toys in the Closet” was published prior to the 2016 Indiana Bicentennial and two years prior to the centennial of the great dune pageant of 1917, when thousands of Americans camped at the Dunes to save the Hoosier coast as a National Lakeshore.

Pendley is a veteran fine jeweler, writer, historian and advocate for social justice who, according to his published biography, enjoys gardening and reading and is a collector of fine arts. He has been on the board of directors for the Crown Point Chamber of Commerce and the Indiana Jewish Historical Society, of which he is now a Life Past President. He resides in the artist hamlet of Furnessville in the Indiana Dunes, where his mother’s family had settled in 1858.

Pendley will be at Red Cup Café, 115 Broadway in Chesterton, on Saturday, August 12 at 2 p.m. for a reading and book signing.

Paperback copies of the book, “Toys in the Closet” will be available for purchase! You can also purchase the book on Amazon, Apple iTunes store, Google Play and at Barnes and Noble. It was published in 2015 by Page Publishing in New York.

Toys-in-the-Closet From Amazon reviews:
Anonymous: “A brilliant magical historical fiction written with sensitivity and filled with detail. I highly recommend this as a must read. I cannot say enough about the excitement I experienced while reading this book. I am indebted to Trent D. Pendley for including a section with a character based on my beloved mother. He captured her true essence.

I loved this sentence: "Nathan's late father had taught him everything he knew about trees, and most importantly, he taught Nathan that trees, like humans, had souls and these two species were interdependent."

Amazon Customer: “I enjoyed the book very much. Having lived in the area for 25 years, I was familiar with much of what Trent wrote about Beverly Shores, nearby Furnessville and the beautiful Indiana Dunes are very special, very beautiful and truly unique.”

Feng Daniel Wen: “Certainly, Indiana missed this sleeper of a homegrown story for her bicentennial as "Toys in the Closet" is the quintessential Hoosier pride story. A book of passions for causes (dunes), faith, discrimination, prejudice, the future as engaging younger for people, for beautiful things, for family, for another human being, for a political agenda.

I love his writing and how he gives the reader the whole intricacy of the subject. I mean the trees, the dunes, things around you as one entering areas or rooms. I love that—it feels like you are there!

Another reader wrote: “Extremely descriptive, it paints a picture of everything that is going on, almost like Faulkner...not sure if he was going for that but it’s a compliment."

It's no wonder so many local libraries are adding "Toys in the Closet" to their Indiana Room collections.”