Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Review: The Runaway Saint

Runaway Saint

About the Book:
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.

My Comments:
It becomes very obvious very early into this book that things aren't what they seem to be.  Bel is coming home, finally--and while no one admits to being unhappy about it, no one seems to want her either.  She's a returning missionary, but doesn't seem like one.  Bel's sister, Sara's mother, is an aging hippie who lives in a tent and spends her days on an organic farm and helping the homeless.  Her dad lives by himself in a home best described as sterile.   While he wants to give Bel a financial boost, he does not want Bel with him.  Sara remembers Bel as a wonderful aunt who left and never came back.  As the story unfolds all the usual reasons for extreme family dysfunction come to mind, and yes, there was a reason Bel left and stayed gone.  

It is said that loving someone means being open and vulnerable to them.  It also means being honest.  This is a story of a family, who, with the best intentions, were not honest.  That lack of honesty, meant to protect those they loved, ended up hurting them in ways they never realized.  Bel's return starts the search for answers and while those answers start to heal this family, it is clear that there is still plenty of room for growth.

The book is Christian fiction and part of the story deals with our image of Jesus.  Two images that are used are the flat hard Byzantine Jesus whose eyes always follow you and the Jesus who drove the moneychangers from the temple.  What is your image of Jesus?

I'm having trouble with this review but what I'm trying to tell you is that Lisa Samson has another winner on her hands as far as I'm concerned and I highly recommend it.

Thanks to the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade:  A.


  1. I read this one but had a difficult time with it but can't put my finger on why

  2. Wow! After that review, I definitely want to start reading Lisa Samson's books!


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