Sundell, Joanne 1946–

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Sundell, Joanne 1946–


Born 1946; married; children: three. Education: Earned R.N. and B.S.N. Hobbies and other interests: Skiing, biking, hiking.


Home and office—Tabernash, CO. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer. Worked as a nurse.


Romance Writers of America, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.


Land of Enchantment Romance Authors/Romance Writers of America prize for series historical, 2004.



Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2006.

A … My Name's Amelia, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2007.

Author of blog, Joanne Sundell—Historical Romance Writer.


Joanne Sundell explores an unusual culture clash in her first novel, titled Matchmaker, Matchmaker. The story begins with a Russian Jewish father and his nine-year-old daughter relocating to Philadelphia in 1867, hoping for a better life in America. The father, Yitzhak, goes so far as to sell the family's precious silver menorah in order to allow his daughter, Zoe-Esther, to realize her dream of attending medical school and becoming a doctor. After graduating, Zoe-Esther diagnoses her father with tuberculosis, and decides to take him to the Colorado territory for the sake of his health. She finds the West a hostile place for her in many ways: as a woman, a Jew, and as a female doctor. Furthermore, she finds herself falling in love with Jake Whiskey, an American saloon owner who likes to drink and gamble. In addition to having a rough-edged personality, Jake is also a Gentile, and Zoe-Esther knows that her father would be distraught if she were to be romantically associated with him. Zoe-Esther must weigh her own feelings against those of her father, who hopes his daughter will some day return to the East and marry a Jewish doctor she already knows there. Reviewing Matchmaker, Matchmaker for Booklist, Patty Engel- mann called it ‘fresh in its characters and cultural concerns yet classic in its obstacles to romance.’ The subject matter was also praised by Harriet Klausner in her Midwest Book Review Web site evaluation; she further stated that Sundell ‘brings vividly alive Reconstruction Era Colorado."

In her next book, A … My Name's Amelia, Sundell pairs an illiterate rancher with a deaf teacher and the autistic child she cares for. Amelia, the deaf woman, works as an illustrator at a newspaper, but when she sees handsome Aaron Zachary placing an advertisement for a mail-order bride, she plans to become his wife. Not until they are headed back to his ranch does he realize that both Amelia and the child are deaf. The story deals with the clashes and issues Amelia and Aaron face, and the emotions of the main couple are ‘heartrending,’ according to Faith V. Smith on the Romantic Times Online.

Sundell told CA: ‘I started out writing as a hobby. Eight years ago, I turned my hobby into a more serious hobby when I got breast cancer. It was healing, indeed, to focus on something besides my health! My love of old-fashioned, historical romance is the biggest influence on my writing efforts. The quintessential romance, Jane Eyre still stands as ‘the one’ to emulate.

"The most surprising thing I've learned is that after one manuscript is complete and out the door, there's actually another story beginning to brew. I'm ever surprised that I have other stories inside, waiting to be told."



Booklist, January 1, 2006, Patty Engelmann, review of Matchmaker, Matchmaker, p. 71.

Library Journal, February 15, 2007, review of A … My Name's Amelia.

Publishers Weekly, January 29, 2007, review of A … My Name's Amelia, p. 44.


Joanne Sundell Home Page, (September 28, 2007).

Midwest Book Review, (October 31, 2007), Harriet Klausner, review of Matchmaker, Matchmaker.

Romantic Times, (September 28, 2007), Faith V. Smith, review of A … My Name's Amelia.