I read this book a few weeks’ ago, but once again procrastinated the review. I finally knuckled down whilst on vacation. There is something inspiring about writing with sun-dappled water sparkling in the background. I’m back home now, and hoping my vacation vibes will stick around for another couple posts.
About Mrs. Saint and the Defectives…
Markie discovers her husband cheating on her with one of the moms at their son’s school. Her cheating husband has not only philandered, but also squandered all their money. Feeling broke, and believing herself incapable of facing their community, Markie and her son, Jesse, move to a new neighborhood, far from old friends and family. Upon arriving at their new rental house, they meet their neighbor, Mrs. Saint, who immediately inserts herself into their lives. Mrs. Saint is nosy and bossy, and constantly foisting her charity onto others. She staffs a household of people who aren’t terribly good at their jobs, and behind their backs calls them her “defectives”. It becomes quickly evident that this cast of blundering characters need Mrs. Saint in order to survive. Markie resentfully wonders if Mrs. Saint believes that she and her son, Jesse, are in need of similar services. Despite her best efforts to limit her interactions with Mrs. Saint, Markie finds herself drawn into the neighboring household, wondering about the secretive past that brought each of them together.
This review is a tricky one. I definitely liked the book – enough to loan it to my MIL to read over vacation. There is much to like about the novel. The characters in Mrs. Saint’s household are winsome. Mrs. Saint, though meddlesome, is pretty funny. There is an element of mystery involving her past which held my interest. The son, Jesse, is a bit troubled. Yet, partially hidden under a layer of teenage scorn, he is sweet and kind.
There were a couple tiny things holding me back from total enjoyment. For example, a couple of times lengthy passages were devoted to Markie’s reflections on her situation. I found this tiresome- she is already in the situation, the reader just read about it, an emotional recap is unnecessary.
I also felt that once the mystery around Mrs. Saint’s household was revealed, it wasn’t actually that mysterious. Some elements were predictable, all of it rather anti-climactic, and though Mrs. Saint’s motivations are plausible they seemed unlikely.
Have you ever read the synopsis of a book, to see if you’re interested, and became really excited assuming you’d love it before reading even a single page? I think I did that with this book. I anticipated a great work of fiction, and instead discovered a great beach read.