Guide to St. Michael’s Cove Places and Characters

St. Michael’s Cove—the “Cove,” a small village 19 miles from Los Angeles;

Rose Hill Farm; “The Farm”;

Craftsman Cottage—type of cottage where Bernie lives;

The Breakfast Place—coffee and breakfast restaurant in the village;

Christ the King Catholic Church and School— (“the King”)–where the three younger O’Connell children school;  

St. Mary’s High School—all girls Catholic high school that Anna attends;

 Johansen’s—the Eastern Sierra Bakery in the fictional town of Pine Woods;

Pierre’s—French bakery in the Cove;

Pizza Works—Pizza place in the Cove; 

Yogurt Shoppe—shop where Anna and Audrey work part time;

Pine Woods—a town at the foothills of the Sierras, about an hour from Mammoth;

Las Flores—St. Michael’s Cove flower shop;

Portlaoise in County Laois—village and County in Ireland where Bernie was born;

Benedictine Monastery—Limerick—an hour’s drive from Bernie’s hometown of Portlaoise, where Bernie’s family visited a few weeks before her parents were killed in an auto accident;

The Old Library Nooks—shops in the remodeled Carnegie Library;

El Camino Real, the King’s Highway–Pacific Coast Highway;

Hope Chapel— aka Hope Place, Fort Hope—”a place where hope and grace abounds;” church where many characters attend; Rev. Bernadette Swenson, Pastor 

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens—where Maureen and Nils were married; Poconos honeymoon; Perrysburg, Ohio house where the Swensons lived on the Maumee River;

St. Michael’s Messenger, the local St. Michael’s paper;

Graham Gardens—the gardens that were the subject of Anna’s historical report a couple years earlier;

Center of Peace and Fellowship—Eastern religion–place of worship in St. Michael’s Cove;

Charm Acres Place—Street where the O’Connells live;

Mammoth—in the Eastern Sierras; Canyon Lodge—where the O’Connell family skis;

Food Gourmet—Upscale market in St. Michael’s Cove;

Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, Department 151.  Judge Chaffey, court where Abbey appears;


Bernadette (“Bernie”) Farrell Swenson—pastor of Hope Lutheran Chapel for last four years (Succeeded Pastor Richard Albrecht); Bernie will be 50 this year; she learned how to cross stitch and knit at her mother’s knee in Ireland; Molly is her golden retriever; 

“Gabe” the guy who shows up suddenly from time to time; he appeals to folks’ better side; encourages them to do good things; helps them; saves Crystal’s life.      

Maureen Donnelly Swenson—Bernie’s aunt, a nurse, who took care of Bernie and her sister in Brooklyn when their parents were killed in an auto accident in Ireland.

Nils Swenson, Lutheran pastor, married Maureen Donnelly; adopted Bernadette and Patricia;    

Patricia Donnelly Swenson—Bernie’s sister, an atheist;                  

Alma Meyer—lay reader/elder at the Ash Wednesday service; brings roses to Mother’s Day service;                  

Sr. Kathleen—principal at Christ the King elementary school; Sr. Marguerite—Liam’s teacher for whom he has to write the report; Sr. Mariela—has parking lot duty in chapter 4;

O’Connell Family: Elizabeth (Liz) Radjewski O’Connell-45; Senior attorney in City Attorney’s office; married to Brian since 2001 (20 years), met in law school; Liz was 25 when she and Brian married just after they took the bar exam; four children: Anna (16) 10th grade, Liam (14) 8th grade, Kevin (12) 6th grade, Sean (6), first grade; Dog: KellerAnna Schmidt, Liz’s grandmother from Poland/Russia; Eva, Liz’s older cousin; Brian is an attorney in private practice doing primarily insurance defense work. Kevin is diagnosed with Addison’s disease;            

Liz’s mother: Emily Radjewski; Emily Radjewski’s parents, Anna and Albert Schmidt, were from Mdzewo, a Polish town that was annexed into Russia and was part of the Russian Empire, from 1815-1918; 

SIS –Sisters in Suffering aka Sisters in Stitches—ecumenical small group– Meets monthly in each other’s homes; Motto: “If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26)—formed in 2015 when prayer quilt was returned to the Cove; Members: 

  • Liz—45, Attorney; attends Hope Lutheran Chapel;
  • Charlotte—42 years of age, a teacher, tall, long chestnut brown hair; her middle name, Ksenia, means hospitable in Polish; Methodist; married to Jebediah (Jeb); newly pregnant;
  • Jackie–Jewish, a fabric artist and an expert crocheter, who belongs to the local orthodox Jewish congregation;
  • Rebecca, aka Crystal, (former member); was a member of the local Center of Peace and Fellowship.; works at local dress shop; Co-worker, Andrea, was promoted ahead of her; married to Dexter for 11 years who left her; cat, Max, (who she believes is her reincarnated uncle) died; brother, Clint comes to stay with her.
  • Alison Gray (Ali)—African-American attorney, colleague of Liz’s; she is also a knitter; attends Christ the King Catholic church where Liz’s boys attended school;
  • Denise Wang, M.D. attends the Presbyterian church; Asian member of SIS going through a divorce—a son and a daughter;
  • Caroline; attends the Episcopalian church; tennis player, 70’s; strong; three grown children;

Judge Monica Morales, Judge in Los Angeles Superior Court, Writs and Receivers, Dept. 82;

Rosemary Robinson, (granddaughter of Paul and Mary Rose Robinson), current proprietor of Rose Hill Farm. Paul and Mary Robinson owned most of the hill around the turn of the last century.  Mary started growing roses on the ten-acre plateau at the top of the hill, which evolved into a family business, Rose Hill Farm

Terry Santiago, Liz’s supervisor—the division chief;

Sandy Rodriguez, Liz’s administrativa assistant;                   

Karl and Virginia (“Ginny”) Thompson, members of Hope Chapel; Ginny is an elder who runs a seeker’s group on Tuesday evenings that Crystal and the Grigoryans attend. The Thompson’s son Darrin, aka Derek Thomas is incarcerated in Lancaster State Prison—Steve is the ex con from Prison Fellowship helping him.

Harout “Harry” Grigoryan, son of a Avetis (Avi) Grigoryan, local resident; Avi had a near death experience that changed his life and influenced Harry;

Gerda and Erik Maier and their daughter, Katarina–friends of the O’Connells;      

Pastor Knudsen, pastor, Mammoth Lutheran Church;

Dorothy Patel “Dot” or “Dotty—English woman; Bernie’s administrative assistant; Hope Chapel “gatekeeper,” fiercely loyal to Bernie. Lost tips of three fingers in a factory accident in Lancashire, England;               

Giovanni Galiano, works in the LAPD contracts division;                  

Bill Raymond, City Attorney;              

Mrs. Davies’ a parishioner at Hope Chapel village-famous for her lemon-blueberry scones; recipe is a family secret;

Brian’s golfing buddies, Tony (Antonio Ricci, M.D.,Internist) , Pat, Alan, and David;                      

Audrey and Andrew Martin—16, twins living with their 52 year-old former actress mother (Abbey Martin, aka Abbey Martinez) who is an alcoholic.  Abbey fired Cathy, their nanny of 14 years last year. The twins become close to the O’Connell family and to Bernie following several harrowing events.  Their father died from a well-publicized drug overdose. Their grandmother, 83, is in poor health, on dialysis, has emphysema;

Mrs. Janowski, Audrey’s English teacher, who has taken a motherly interest in Audrey;   

Emma Ricker -81–currently housebound member of Hope Chapel; former high school math teacher turned real estate broker; owned a real estate firm;  

William Muller-handyman from Germany;               

Barbara and Henry Banks—elderly residents of Bournemouth, England visiting their son in the Cove; they won the Pray for America quilt. When they died, their son brought the quilt back to St. Michael’s Cove in 2015;   

Annika/Bjorn Johansson—owners of Johansson’s Bakery in the Eastern Sierra;                 

Dr. Rogers—UCLA psychiatrist, member of Hope, treats Crystal;                                         

Mrs. McDonald-principal at St. Mary’s;

Sr. Maura—Anna’s math teacher;                             

Mr. Morris—Kevin’s homeschool teacher;                

Dr. Baker-Kevin’s endocrinologist;                 

Stan Philips—Hope Chapel joke-telling parishioner;             

Louis Levin, Abbey’s DUI lawyer;

Officer Rodriguez–Officer who did due diligence on the Connells before releasing the twins to them;                 

Pastor Emeritus Marty Wolf–long retired Hope Chapel pastor; colleague of Pastor Albrecht’s.