Pollyanna Porter’s Second Novel, Redeemed, Getting Good Reviews

by Larry Kraft, Springfield Reporter, December 2022

Pollyanna Porter published her first book, Rectified, while still a teacher at Riverside Middle School. She wrote in the morning before going to school and again when she returned home. Her husband, Andy Bladyka, then Director of the Springfield Parks and Recreation Department, didn’t know about the book until it was finished.

Pollyanna’s second book, Redeemed, which was recently released, was researched and written after she had retired from three decades of teaching middle school students. As she writes in the book’s acknowledgements: “Retirement certainly is a new chapter in one’s life, or, as the case may be in mine, a new book or two.”

She says that Redeemed is “the book I always wanted to write.” A grandmother herself, she wanted to tell a story about grandparents “who weren’t boring,” who had pasts that were both “commendable and dangerous.” The book is dedicated to her grandparents.

Pollyanna describes Redeemed as “a book about a boy with a very big chip on his shoulder because his mother left him with his grandparents in Vermont.” After his grandfather’s death, he leaves the family farm for a glamorous life in the art world of New York City, where he gets involved with art stolen during the Holocaust and learns of the role his grandparents played in these crimes. The redemption mentioned in the book’s title, Pollyanna says, refers to the epiphany that causes the main character to return to Vermont.

In contrast to her first book, which Pollyanna says she “wrote from the gut” inspired by her teaching experiences, considerable research was necessary for her second effort. This research included several historical references as well as personal conversations with her cousin who was an art handler in New York City and interviews with a rabbi in Brattleboro.

Pollyanna says that her goal in writing a second book was for it “to be as good or better than the first.” Her first book, she says, received more than 50 on-line reviews, all of which were either four or five stars. So far, she seems to be well on her way to achieving her goal with her second book.

Redeemed was a 2022 Eric Hoffer Book Award da Vinci Eye finalist. Both of her books have been recommended by the U.S. Review of Books. The reviewer wrote of Redeemed: “The author hits just the right balance of fascinating historical details and romantic intrigue…. Porter’s novel is exceptionally well-written with beautiful descriptive language.”

She also earned the praise of long-time Vermont author Joseph Citro, who called the book a “compelling family saga…from the tranquil confines of a Vermont barn to the sordid secrets of WW2 Nazis, by way of New York’s art world.”

Pollyanna will be signing and selling her novels at the Artisans for the Holidays event in the Woolson Building in downtown Springfield on Friday, December 9 from noon until 7 PM and Saturday, December 10 from 9:30 AM until 5:00 PM. She will also be at the Springfield Town Library for a Local Author Event on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, from 6:00 to 7:00 PM.

Redeemed can be purchased from on-line booksellers as well as local bookstores such as Blair Books in Chester, The Book Nook in Ludlow, and Village Square Booksellers in Bellows Falls. It can also be ordered directly from the author at her website, http://www.pollyannaporter.com .

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