Lisa Samson in her new book "Runaway Saint" published by Thomas Nelson takes us into the life of Sara Drexel.
From the back cover: When her aunt shows up homeless on her doorstep, Sara suspects anything but a miracle.
Sara's an artist with a supportive husband and a house that folks on her block admire outright. But she's restless and bored with life.
Then her legendary Aunt Bel shows up, wearing a smile after years without a word.
Twenty years ago, fresh out of college, Bel left for a summer missions trip and never returned. Now she's on Sara's doorstep, looking for a place to crash. Sara can't say no to family, even if she hasn't seen Bel since she was a nine-year-old girl. But saying yes to Bel turns Sara's whole precariously-balanced life upside down.
The enigmatic Bel gives Sara's family and their community a jolt of fresh thinking and clarity.
But Bel is hiding something. Though she won't talk about it, Sara soon learns that Bel has been through a hellish ordeal. And she has the burn marks to prove it.
A web of secrets that need to be unraveled. Sara is a thirty year old married woman running a printing company with her husband that is beginning to question the direction of her life. Then Aunt Bel reappears and the only family member who has room for her is Sara. Aunt Bel has her secrets, the rest of the family has their secrets and Sara is just a regular married woman who is forced to deal with all of this. This book is all about family and the issues and stress that secrets can cause within the family. Ms. Samson writes a story that is all very real with very real characters in emotional conflict.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Artist Sara Drexel is surprised when her long-lost missionary aunt returns from Eastern Europe. Sara's mother asks if Aunt Bel can stay with Sara and her husband and Sara can not say no, even though she hardly remembers her. As Bel becomes a part of her life and reveals some of her painful secrets from the past, Sara finds herself discovering parts of herself as well.
There are so many things to like about this book. The characters are multi-faceted and interesting. Samson does a wonderful job setting up the mysteriousness of Bel's past. There are so many clues, hints, and intrigue scattered throughout the book. If you are one of those readers that like to revel in tiny hints of what is to come, you will really enjoy that aspect of the book.
I love the supportiveness of Finn to Sara and the dynamics of their relationship. It adds a little bit of humor to the book with the way Finn always starts all kinds of different projects around the home and then flits off to the next one before completing the one already underway.
The only thing I didn't like about this book was that it took a little too long for the mystery to unfold, for me. I found myself getting a little bored throughout the middle of the book because it was progressing so slowly. I liked the build-up, I just wish it would have happened a bit more quickly.
Despite my single criticism of the book, I can imagine a lot of readers really enjoying the slow unfolding of the plot, like the petals of a flower. If you are one of those readers, this is the book for you.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLookBloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Sara Drexel and her husband, Finn, own their own agency specializing in letterpress printing, website design, and creating cards and stationary. Out of the blue, Sara's Aunt Bel is back in town after serving over 20 years as a missionary in Kazakhstan and Sara offers her a place to stay. Aunt Bel left for a summer when Sara was four and just never came back. Why did she leave, what happened to Bel all those years, and why is she hiding a lifetime of secrets? Trying to reconnect with Bel and figure her out stirs up parts of Sara that startle her.
Well, probably opening up the book with "I'm thirty years old and I still believe in ghosts. I believe in ghosts because I have one....." was probably not the opening I was looking for that would compel me to continue reading but I did so because I have always trusted Thomas Nelson to publish materials in line with Christian thinking. I will also admit that there was just a hint of inappropriate language as well which disappointed me.
The relationships are a bit odd and quirky. Sara's mother brings to mind someone out of the hippie movement of the 60's but Sara's husband, Finn, is the character I loved. He rounds Sara out so beautifully and loves her unconditionally, realizing he can't be the one who heals her wounds. The church they attend isn't traditional which is fine but there were questions surfacing after attending one of the services such as "is that your Jesus"? I think I get what the author was trying to say but I think it could be unclear to readers who may lean toward Jesus being who you make him to be and not who God says he is. Filled with secrets and things which haunt from the past, relationships, and healing, Runaway Saint by Lisa Samson was an interesting read and one that made me want to see how it all turned out. Anyway, I did enjoy the book but would be cautious who I recommended it to.
I did receive this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way obligate to leave a positive review.
My favorite books are usually chick lit types or romances but the description of Runaway Saint by Lisa Sampson intrigued me and I decided to request it to review. I am so glad I did. This book delved into relationships and forgiveness and past hurts and secrets.
Sara Drexel is an artist. She and her husband own their own printing business. Her small staff is her family. When Sara's mother asks her to let her Aunt Belinda (Bel) move in with her, Sara is perplexed and concerned. She hadn't seen her Aunt Bel since she was four and the woman moved to Eastern Europe to become a missionary. Aunt Bel has some secrets of her own and as Sara begins to unravel the mystery of her aunt, she learns some startling things about herself as well.
Sampson's characters are real and struggle. Sara loves her husband Finn even though some of the things he does drives her crazy. Finn loves Sara but admits he can't be her problem solver for her. Aunt Bel may have been a missionary but she's got some issues with how she views God in her life. Sara's divorced parents also have their own eccentricities.
This book is most definitely worth the read. I give it five starts. The cover art is beautiful as well.
***BookLook Bloggers and Thomas Nelson publishers provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I was not compensated in any way for either a negative or a positive review.
I've read several Lisa Sampson books and I know that she provides the reader with great depth of story in her novels. She uses the main characters, and their fears and flaws, to give the reader a chance to connect and experience the journey with them. Runaway Saint can be read at the surface or more greatly enjoyed by taking advantage of the nuggets inside the story. Main character Sara is unhappy or perhaps just discontent. She struggles to find her version of Jesus in the story and realizes that Jesus is different for everyone. Long-lost Aunt Bel certainly struggles. This fabulous story unravels a lot of hurt and a great deal of love as we wonder if the family can reconnect. The auxiliary characters like Sara's parents, Finn, the print shop staff and Holly also show us their human sides and give us even more ways to see our friends or our coworkers in these parts. A great story to be read when you're ready for some introspection.
Some stories are fiction and some stories are literature...I list this one to the elevated shelf of