I’ve not read anything by Ann Patchett before but I’m going to remedy that soon. She’s a lovely storyteller and The Patron Saint of Liars was her debut novel.
The story begins with Rose from California. She’s married and newly pregnant and decides to leave her husband in the night and drive to St. Elizabeth’s in Kentucky. It’s a home for unwed mothers, run by nuns, and by definition a place you stay until the birth of your baby, who is subsequently surrendered to adoption, and then you leave.
But Rose doesn’t leave and she doesn’t give up her child. By the name of the book, you can presume that Rose is full of lies and pieces together stories to make herself more comfortable. Eventually her past catches up with her and the people she’s become close to want answers.
The book is split into three points of view: Rose, Son (the groundskeeper at St. Elizabeths’), and Cecilia (her daughter). Patchett did well to create three voices that are clear and distinct, therefore drawing a collection of emotions fueled by the inner thoughts of each person. I’m curious to know how her other books stacks against this one, so I’m off to research her other works and see which one I should read next.
An interesting fact – it was made into a TV movie in 1998.