Tuesday, August 1, 2017

{Release Day Review} MRS. SAINT AND THE DEFECTIVES by Julie Lawson Timmer

Summary from Goodreads:

Markie, a fortysomething divorcée who has suffered a humiliating and very public fall from marital, financial, and professional grace, moves, along with her teenage son, Jesse, to a new town, hoping to lick her wounds in private. But Markie and Jesse are unable to escape the attention of their new neighbor Mrs. Saint, an irascible, elderly New European woman who takes it upon herself, along with her ragtag group of “defectives,” to identify and fix the flaws in those around her, whether they want her to or not.

What Markie doesn’t realize is that Mrs. Saint has big plans for the divorcée’s broken spirit. Soon, the quirky yet endearing woman recruits Markie to join her eccentric community, a world where both hidden truths and hope unite them. But when Mrs. Saint’s own secrets threaten to unravel their fragile web of healing, it’s up to Markie to mend these wounds and usher in a new era for the “defectives”—one full of second chances and happiness.

Mandy's Review:

This was a slow-starter for me. Not because of the writing or the story-telling, both of those were done very well. The reason I found this to be a slow-starter was thanks to Markie, the main character.

Markie was raised by parents who were concerned with how things looked; keeping up with ... scratch that ... surpassing what the Jones' had was a vital way of living their life. They were comfortable hobnobbing with the elite society and abhorred anything that caused the slightest wrinkle in their societal blanket. So, needless to say, Markie's divorce put a stink in their nose they couldn't get out ... yet they had to play the part of the dutiful parents while making sure Markie caught the hints they threw her way of HOW MUCH they were "helping" her. I can understand why that would make her want to break away and marry someone COMPLETELY different from what she was used to.

Kyle was flighty and non-committal at best. Markie kept his appointments straight, made sure he knew who was who and put complete trust in him to handle all of their assets. She ignored the lipstick-stained collars, ignored the strange perfume smells coming off of him when he came home late ... you get the idea. Because Markie was raised to maintain a certain societal status, that status often requires a wife to turn the occasional blind eye to her husband's wanderings. The problems really surfaced when Markie found out Kyle had diddled one of the other moms in the little club Markie was a part. From there, things went downhill fast; Markie found out Kyle had extended all their loans to maximum number of limits allowed. Markie lost her husband, house, friends, status, all of it.

After the divorce, when Markie moves into the new bungalow in a different town, she meets Mrs. Saint. Okay, maybe 'meets' is the wrong word. Markie was overtaken by Mrs. Saint.

Mrs. Saint is a tiny woman with an enormous personality. She takes one look at a person and knows what they need to become better, to solve their problems. It's a gift, really, but an unwelcome one where Markie's concerned. I loved Mrs. Saint. Yes, she probably could've worked on her overbearing nature a bit but the woman totally means well and wants the best for everyone.

So, why was Markie the main reason this novel was a slow-starter for me? Her attitude. I could not stand it. She blatantly turns a blind eye to her husbands comings and goings. Then, after the divorce, she allows her son to do whatever he wants and REFUSES to believe he's doing anything wrong ... until the police show up at her door late one night. Markie always stayed annoyed and mad at Mrs. Saint while thinking the worst of her every suggestion and action. She frustrated me so much I could only read one chapter at a time before closing the book angrily. It wasn't until about half-way through the novel that I FINALLY was able to read more than one chapter at a time.

Mrs. Saint should've been the main character of this novel. Her and her defectives is what the book should've revolved around, not Markie. Markie could've still had her divorce and issues and moved in next door - but as the antagonist, not the protagonist. If it was written from that perspective, I would've likely given this book five stars. They way it is now,  I'm giving it three stars ... all because of Markie.

*An ARC of this novel was provided by the publicist, Goldberg McDuffie Communications, in exchange for an honest review.

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