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The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
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The Patron Saint of Liars (1992)

by Ann Patchett

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2,290694,556 (3.75)127
St. Elizabeth's is a home for unwed mothers in the 1960s. Life there is not unpleasant, and for most, it is temporary. Not so for Rose, a beautiful, mysterious woman who comes to the home pregnant but not unwed. She plans to give up her baby because she knows she cannot be the mother it needs. But St. Elizabeth's is near a healing spring, and when Rose's time draws near, she cannot go through with her plans, not all of them. And she cannot remain forever untouched by what she has left behind . . . and who she has become in the leaving.… (more)

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» See also 127 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
I picked this for my 2015 reading challenge category "first book by a popular author". I haven't read any others of hers so I thought I'd start at the beginning. It was a good strong, not fabulous read. The story idea was good - a grand old hotel fallen on hard times and turned into a home for unwed mothers by the Catholic Church. The main character, Rose, finds herself married, pregnant and decides she doesn't want the baby so flees to this home to give up the baby. Events transpire, she changes her mind and the story follows her life at the home.

What I didn't like is that you never really understand why she left her husband, you never really understand why she treats her child the way she does; basically, you never understand Rose. Though she's the main character, there's no insight into her motivations or actions - she's just weird and secretive and annoying.

As a first book, it was certainly well written, had some interesting characters, and was very readable, but...... I'd recommend it as an average read. ( )
  Terrie2018 | Feb 21, 2020 |
Why I didn't read Ann Pachett a long time ago is a mystery, but now that I have, I'll continue through her work. What a fascinating and elegant book. Love her writing style, her characters are vivid and complex and drive the story. I felt deeply involved in their lives and truly enjoyed the whole thing. Terrific writer. ( )
  joliek | Nov 9, 2019 |
When she finds out she is pregnant, Rose abandons her husband and mother and drives cross country from California to a home for unmarried mothers in Habit, Kentucky, where she spends the next 16 years.

A bit disappointing, mainly because the other books by this author I have read set such a high bar. I never really grasped why Rose did what she did and the final chapters seemed to be building up to a big reveal which just didn't happen. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jul 5, 2019 |
I enjoyed how the writer developed her characters, and her prose. But how she ended the book left me wondering. I don't dispute that what happened was bound to be what should happen, but the book would have been more satisfying if we had heard even a little bit more from Rose again at the end of the book - the ends of the loop she was trying to close did not quite meet up for me. ( )
  Brauer11431 | Apr 16, 2019 |
I have enjoyed all of the Ann Patchett books I have read so far. This is her first novel and I can see her talent shine through. Her writing style is captivating. However, this is my least favorite of her novels I have read so far. "Run", "State of Wonder" and "Bel Canto" are novels I enjoyed much more. The premise really appeared to me being a Catholic girls schooled by nuns but novel dragged in parts and I did not get Rose at all. Plus the ending was unsatisfactory for me. ( )
  Smits | Feb 6, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
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This book is for my parents, Frank Patchett and Jeanne Wilkinson Ray, and my grandmother, Eve Wilkinson.
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Two O'clock in the morning, a Thursday morning, the first bit of water broke through the ground of George Clatterbuck's back pasture in Habit, Kentucky, and not a living soul saw it.
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In the Patron Saint of Liars, Rose is a young wife of three years who concludes she married by mistake, that she misinterpreted teenage lust as a sign from God. Newly pregnant and uanble to continue a life with a man she doesn't love, Rose decides to leave. She abandons her quiet, inoffensive husband and their life at the Southern California seaside of the 1960's. Most of the odd and troubled characters fascinate and confound us. In the end, Rose surprises us on more time, and Sissy grows up, showing herself neither a liar nor a "leaver."
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