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Local novelists release new works with local settings

Novels with Butler County settings abound in the latest round of books by area authors.

J.J. Knights, a retired FBI special agent, surveillance pilot and recruiter living in Adams Township, has written a series of historical novels.The “Benjamin's Field” trilogy is set in southern Butler County and includes “Book One: Rescue,” “Book Two: Ascent” and “Book Three: Emancipation,” all released in April.“Benjamin's Field” follows a rural farm family over 60 years, dealing with war, peace, heartbreak, intolerance, religious prejudice and racism.While still in manuscript form, “Book One: Rescue,” which begins with America's entry into World War I, was advanced to the Best Sellers Chart of the peer review website three novels are available online in paperback format for around $10 each. The series also is available in digital format.Knights also has served as a Civil Air Patrol pilot, squadron commander and public information officer.

Pam Wendelken, a native of the Petrolia-Kaylor area of Butler and Armstrong counties, recently had her first book published under the name P.J. Wendelken.“Mont” is based on the life of her great-uncle Mont Bishop who lived in the area during the pre-World War I era. The Bishop-Madden VFW post in Bradys Bend bears his name.Mont is a young man growing up in rural Pennsylvania in a world before the World Wars. As he makes the transition from boyhood to manhood, he discovers a love for baseball. He then discovers the life-changing impact of the love of a good woman. Ultimately, he endures the world-shattering reality of war as a soldier.The 306-page soft cover book is available online for $17.98. The book also is available in digital format.

Knoch High School graduate Mark Sasse has released his fourth novel, “A Love Story for a Nation.”The novel is set in a fictitious country which has endured decades of brutal authoritarian rule. The story follows the exploits of an ex-writer, Gerald J. Sanpatri, who was once a part of the intelligentsia who overthrew French colonial rule.After Sanpatri is marginalized by the new regime, he lives a meager existence until an unexpected love interest encourages him to once again take up his pen and write a new story.The 1985 Knoch alum released his first novel with the same main character in “Beauty Rising” in 2012.Besides being a novelist, Sasse is an award-winning playwright, having twice won the Best Script award at the Penang Short & Sweet Theatre Festival. His plays have also been performed in Sydney, Australia, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.Sasse resides in Malaysia and teaches drama and history at an international school.“Love Story for a Nation” is available in soft cover format online for $11.58. The novel also is available in digital format.

“Wolf Creek Legacy I and II” is an oral history of the Grove City area.The stories were collected by Lillian Reynolds Reeher.The 430-page soft cover book will be available after Oct. 1 at the society, 111 College Ave. Copies also can be ordered online at The pre-publication price is $20 until Sept. 30. After that, the cost is $25.

“Benjamin's Field, Book One: Rescue”
“Love Story for a Nation”

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