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Publisher's Summary

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.

©1992 Ann Patchett (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Thoughtful....a complex character study." (Library Journal)
"In an assured, warm, and graceful style, a moving novel that touches on the healing powers of chance sanctuaries of love and fancy in the acrid realities of living." (Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    164
  • 4 Stars
    171
  • 3 Stars
    91
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    5

Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    172
  • 4 Stars
    113
  • 3 Stars
    32
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    124
  • 4 Stars
    120
  • 3 Stars
    66
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    7
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  • Overall

Well-crafted, Painful But Worth Finishing

I dislike books where there are no likable characters - unfortunately this is one. While there are many characters that evoke sympathy from the reader, the book overall is a depiction of one unfortunate character after another passing through life with their own struggle, each isolated in a unique way. It would have been helpful to have shown the reason for this more clearly -- certainly the ending doesn't do it. But there is just no getting around the fact that it is a sad story.
That said, it is well-written and well-crafted. Patchett has taken difficult subject matter and woven a story through the viewpoint of three characters, each a unique voice. The weaving together of their lives is honest and believable. The story is rich in symbolism that remains subtle throughout.
I could have bailed out several times along the way, but I kept coming back, intrigued to know "what happened next." I'm glad I lasted to the end. The ending may be less than satisfying but then the entire story is. Nevertheless it does provide an ultimate resolution that it would be a shame to miss.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Incomplete

I liked this book but yet was disappointed. Reading other reviews one in particular stuck in my mind and I agree with it. I don't like people like Rose in real life and I didn't like this character. I couldn't understand how she could do those things to the most important people in her life. And, I couldn't understand how the people around Rose could love a person like her so much when she offered so little emotionally to them. I may have missed the point (am not sure if I got it or not) but they were all liars in one way or another so I guess they could overlook this. I was waiting for some kind of revelation to Cecelia at the end of the book and was disappointed when her father just kind of left. I felt I was left hanging by the "sign from God" explanation - I just didn't get it.

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The narrator is incredibly irritating!

What disappointed you about The Patron Saint of Liars?

These audiobooks are so hard to listen to when the narrator is bad! I don't undertand why they aren't chosen more carefully?

What didn’t you like about Julia Gibson’s performance?

Accent was so unauthentically Southern....

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A Little Lost

Ann Patchett has had finer moments. Her main character is so closed that she is hard to understand, and i didn't connect as much to this as I have to her other books. "Run" is my all time favorite of hers!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

My (second) Favorite Novel by Ann Patchett

I loved this book! Great story, great narration! I was hooked! This is my favorite Ann Patchett novel behind, "State of Wonder." I also really like "The Magician's Assistant," but this one is better. Happy listening!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Not her best

I've listened to a few other Patchett books--Bel Canto was my favorite, I also liked State of Wonder and The Magician's Assistant. I found The Patron Saint of Liars rather disappointing. Patchett still has a beautiful flow to her writing, but I found the character arcs unsatisfying and the ending was baffling and inconclusive.

Still, it could be your cup of tea, and it's worth a try if you're a Patchett fan. Solid narration.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

fabulous read!!!

What made the experience of listening to The Patron Saint of Liars the most enjoyable?

great story; wonderful performance

What did you like best about this story?

all the characters were wonderful. This woman did what we all wish we could sometimes do, but would not!

Have you listened to any of Julia Gibson???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, I have & always enjoy her performances. She has a beautiful speaking voice.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

OK

Story was ok. Slow at parts. It left me with an empty sad feeling. Not much happiness.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Pointlessness Drawn Out

What would have made The Patron Saint of Liars better?

A story line VS just rambling

Would you ever listen to anything by Ann Patchett again?

I loved the State of Wonder and Disliked Patron Saint of Liars - so maybe

Which character – as performed by Julia Gibson – was your favorite?

the child Cecilia

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

boredom and hopelessness

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Disappointed

I LOVE Ann Patchett, but this novel left me disappointed. Ann Patchett has a way of making her characters completely relatable. Even though they could not be less similar to you, you find yourself completely invested in him/her. I could not relate to the main character in this book, however. Instead, I came to despise her. I was also disappointed in the ending -- or lack there of. Too bad.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful