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This week I realised I am only 7 books away from my target, and I suddenly felt quite good about myself!  A few weeks ago it seemed such a long way to target, so clearly it’s all in the perception…

Book 45 – Saints Preserve Us, by L. K. Ellwood.   I picked this one to read for a few reasons: I am still seeking out the easy reading books until I have my non-wedding-addled brain back; the cover looked interestingly yellow; it sounded like it was all going to be a bit tongue in cheek.  It didn’t meet all my expectations but I’ll come back to that in a minute.

Before I get into the book itself, I’d like to remind you that I said if I read a free, self-published book and didn’t enjoy it I’d just put it aside and not mention it.  With this one I teetered on the edge of not mentioning it for a few reasons, but overall I think it was a perfectly reasonable bit of light reading.

I won’t spoil but I will say that the story was fairly engaging and moved at a good pace; the mystery had enough twists to keep my interest and to deflect suspicion for a while and the background idea was sufficiently unusual to get my attention.

There were a few things that let the book down for me, and having read the reviews on Goodreads I think they are fairly common issues.

The first is characterisation.  The main character seemed to morph from staid, priggish elderly woman to young widow and I felt confused about who exactly she was. For a successful, self-confident woman to be living in her sister’s basement also seemed a little incongruous. Another character, first pegged as a gossipy unpleasant woman suddenly became a good friend and saviour of the main character.  Not everyone was so mixed up but it was a little unsatisfying.

The second was the proofing.  I won’t go on about this as I have blethered before about being frustrated by poor proofing in books (I don’t worry about blogs, luckily for me!)  but it was a distraction in places.

The third was the religiosity.  As part of the story it was absolutely essential to understand the processes and rules around sainthood, and the rituals and practises of religion in daily life.  However, there were times when it stepped from that into something more like a treatise on morality and it made me uncomfortable.  One particular scene outside a concert seemed so out of place that it took me completely out of the book and into a general musings on the nature of societies.

I am a Sociology graduate, I can’t help myself sometimes!!

So I came to this review with reservations.  I don’t want to be unduly critical of a book that did have some interesting and entertaining moments, and which delved into family life in a way I appreciated, so I will simply say that in my opinion it’s in need of some editing and a proofread. The story itself was quirky and unexpected and the possibilities it raised were tantalising enough to keep me reading to the end.

And if a book got me to do that at the moment, I think it should be seen as a success!

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

 

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