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Joan Knows: Local author of ‘Magician’s Doll’ racks up rave reviews

Once upon a time there was a middle school student who loved to read stories, enchanting stories that connected with the imagination experiences of her age. Perhaps such a bright and inquiring young lady could be a storyteller herself someday?

That was then. The school was St. Peter’s in Geneva and the student was M.L. Roble. Now, she is, indeed, a storyteller – a published writer and serious storyteller.

I encountered Ms. Roble after a conversation with her father, Dr. David Roble, whom I met at Pineview. Later, at his office her mother and sister had proudly set up a display of her book called “The Magician’s Doll.”

The next step for me was to buy a copy for our fifth-grade granddaughter who also loves stories and one for my Kindle since I, too, love a good story.

Both Mazy and I gave the book high praise so I networked with her family to reach this talented writer, and earlier this week we had a chat.

M.L. shared that she started to concentrate on writing as she progressed to high school at Rosary and at college.

For a time after graduation, she worked full time for a financial organization, but when its office moved out of Chicago, the time seemed right to take stories that had been in her head and put them on paper.

At that time, she joined a sketch comedy group, continued journaling, which she does in cursive, and cranked out her word processor to do her first short story called “Encounter Way: A Novella of Supernatural and Suspense.”

“The Magician’s Doll” is fashioned to be the first of a series.

After savoring the five-star reviews, M.L. is working on the next story, extending the characters, such as 12-year-old Natalie, who one reviewer described by saying she “has special powers yet wants to be like everyone else.”

A critic from the San Francisco Book Review offered these superlatives: “tops the ranks of tween fantasy;” “well developed plot;” “perfect build up of action and suspense;” and “satisfying conclusion.”

M.L. says on her website,, that the book is available on  There’s a paperback. I have encouraged her to talk to David Hunt at Townhouse Books in St. Charles about local availability.

Check her out on Facebook, too.

Isn’t this a great hometown story? Wishing you a happily ever after, M.L.!

• Joan Arteberry is a longtime resident of St. Charles. Her columns are featured in the Kane County Chronicle’s Neighbors section every other Friday. Write to her at

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