Title: Nightingale: A Memoir of Murder, Madness, and the Messenger of Spring
Author: Suzanne Congdon LeRoy
Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: KITAI Press
Date of Publication: June 5, 2014
Retail Price: $14.95 US (paperback), $9.99 US (e-book)
Nightingale is an eloquent and inspiring tribute to the life and legacy of Elisabeth Mannering Congdon, the extraordinary woman who was so much more than the last day of her life. Entrusted with the burdens and joys of memory Elisabeth’s eldest granddaughter, Suzanne Congdon LeRoy, combines lived experience with meticulous historical research as she courageously reveals a family legacy filled with inconceivable loss, love, and perseverance. Elisabeth Congdon emerges not as heiress or victim but as the messenger of spring and the key to her granddaughter’s survival. Elisabeth’s early efforts to nurture a foundation of hope, optimism, and the power of possibility lead Suzanne to advanced education, a remarkable nursing career and the discovery of the ineffable relationship between healing oneself, service to others, and the connection to the spirit and beauty of the earth that makes her whole again. Nightingale is a book of rare power, beauty and hope.
100% of book proceeds, after taxes, are used to support health and human rights initiatives that benefit women and girls in the areas of education, reproductive health, and violence prevention.
Advance Praise and Testimonials
“This powerful memoir tells the story of a young girl whose beloved grandmother provided security in the midst of an otherwise unpredictable and sometimes violent family. Many children in such circumstances would lose hope, but the author transformed her anxiety into passion for making the world a safer place for children and vulnerable adults. The book also provides a rich source of information for those interested in the history of notable Minnesota families. The writing is compelling and worth taking to heart.”
-Harold D. Grotevant, Ph.D., Rudd Family Foundation Chair and Professor of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Amherst
“Dr. Suzanne Congdon LeRoy’s keynote presentation to the packed house at the spring meeting of the Duluth Rotary Club 25 and the Kiwanis Club of Friendly Duluth, was mesmerizing and inspirational. One member noted ‘You could hear a pin drop.’ Her ‘four life lessons’ were particularly well received and the lines to greet her and purchase her book were longer than I can remember for a previous Rotary Club 25 presentation. One audience member summed it up well, ‘This was the best talk that I have ever heard at a Rotary Club in my 35 years as a member.’ ”
–Dr. Stephen Hadley, Fourth Quarter Program Chair, Duluth Rotary Club 25
“Suzanne Congdon LeRoy’s presentation was one of the best-attended author events we have hosted. Ms. LeRoy held the
audience in rapt attention and answered questions with grace and dignity. Following the event, many of those attending
recalled the community service of Elisabeth Congdon and the significance of the Congdon family in the Arrowhead region.
Ms. LeRoy’s memoir and presentation are an important addition to the history and legacy of this widely recognizable family…”
– Mark J. King, Adult Services Librarian, Cloquet Public Library
“Wonderful storyteller…everyone thoroughly enjoyed the presentation. It was an honor having Suzanne visit our library.”
– Carol Gunderson, President – Friends of the Virginia Public Library
“Tremendous speaker exuding warmth, honesty, and courage. Suzanne’s message of hope shines brightly in even the darkest
– Kathy Ehlen, Page Turners Book Club
“Suzanne Congdon LeRoy joined the KAXE Book Club in Grand Rapids, MN. As a reader,
I was impressed by Suzanne’s writing and loved that I could find out about the many accomplishments and contributions of her extraordinary grandmother, Elisabeth Congdon.
Her story has been missing from Minnesota history books and long overdue.”
– Heidi Holtan, Program Director KAXE/KBXE, Northern Community Radio
Suzanne Congdon LeRoy has been a nurse practitioner for over 30 years with specialty certifications in Women’s Health, Family Practice, and advanced practice HIV/AIDS. She earned a Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D. in Nursing at the University of Minnesota, and she completed post-graduate and executive education at the University of St. Thomas and Harvard Kennedy School. Suzanne’s adventures and professional experiences throughout the world have influenced her passion for trauma-informed care. She is a member of the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis andYouthLink Foundation Builders. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, canoeing, the great outdoors, and a lifelong interest in travel, global cultures, art history and architecture.
Suzanne Congdon LeRoy has been featured in multiple media outlets. As a transformative storyteller, Suzanne speaks with honesty and courage about family tragedy and loss within a framework of hope, optimism, and the power of possibility. Click here for a full list of interviews and media mentions.