Praise & Reviews
″Belle O'Shane has many gifts, some of them dangerous. She is passionately religious, passionately musical, passionately sexual. Chopin in the Attic is a journal of her eighteenth year, and it is a dazzling spiral of all three of her passions. A thrilling book.″
– John Casey, author of National Book Award winner Spartina
″Elisabeth Bell Carroll’s fascinating story of temporal lobe epilepsy reveals the depth and complexity of this brain disorder. Chopin in the Attic offers not only a stirring self-portrait but also an insider’s view of a disorder on the cutting edge of our understanding of the brain and mind.″
– Eve LaPlante, author of Seized: Temporal Lobe Epilepsy as a Medical, Historical, and Artistic Phenomenon
Chopin in the Attic is a literary achievement of considerable substance. The prose is elegant, the scenes are vivid, the thematic concerns are complex and of the utmost seriousness. It’s unlike anything I’ve read, though in its freshness of voice and singularity of vision it reminds me of Christina Stead’s The Man Who Loved Children.″
– David Huddle, author of The Story of a Million Years and La Tour
Dreams of the Wolf Girl
″Elisabeth Bell Carroll understands passion in various guises: mystical, sexual, moral and – impressively – intellectual. Afflicted with complex-partial seizures, her heroine Belle records layers of intensely lived relationships, earthly and sublime, through the lens of her states of hyper-rational delirium. With the rigour and clarity of a Teresa or an Ignatius, Belle charts the journey of a soul driven by its deepest longings.″
- Russell Westkirk, M.D., F.R.C.P. (C)
″Embedded in Chopin in the Attic is a hauntingly beautiful tale. Descriptions of Belle's subjective experiences are unique and occasionally approach brilliant, and family conversations which juxtapose banal comments and serious disclosures made me feel that I was there. A further joy was that I had the rare chance of reading how the effects of temporal lobe epilepsy feel to a young, beautiful and reverent woman.″
– Henry Marcucella, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Boston University Program in Neuroscience

″As the inner and outer dimensions of her reality coalesce, Belle O’Shane struggles to maintain contact with conventional perspective, feeling alone and lost in the world that is so familiar to most of us. Through Belle’s thoughts and emotions the reader enters another world, one where the spiritual merges with the corporeal. A glimpse of such a world is rare indeed.″
– Maura McGovern Moore, author of The Simple Guide to Lasting Love
″Erotic passages in Chopin in the Attic remind me of the writing of Anaïs Nin. Intimate scenes are vividly described from a woman's perspective (always better), and seemingly trivial actions become erotically charged unexpectedly. At the same time, Belle's innocence is preserved – difficult to do. Her story stayed with me long after I finished the book. More accurately, the character, Belle, stayed with me.″
– Michael Grant Wood, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus in English and American Literature and Language
″Elisabeth Bell Carroll proves that more has come out of South Boston than rogue musicians, fugitives, archbishops and politicians. Chopin in the Attic is a stunning accomplishment.″
– Joseph W. Mahoney, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus in English and
Language Studies