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Publisher's Summary

St. Elizabeth's is a lovely old place in a small town in Kentucky that used to be the beautiful Hotel Louisa. In the 1960s, it is a home for unwed mothers run by nuns. Life at St. Elizabeth's is not unpleasant, but it is temporary. All the pregnant women who come there will go home within the year. Except for Rose, a beautiful, mysterious woman, who is neither unwed nor alone. 

She is simply pregnant and doesn't want her husband or her mother to know. She plans to give her baby up because she knows she cannot be the mother the baby 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. She cannot remain forever untouched by what she left behind and who she has become since the leaving.

A beautiful debut novel about life and love and faith.

©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 listeners say about The Patron Saint of Liars

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
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Story
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  • 3 Stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

29 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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....

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

OK

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

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Secrets and Lies

Since I'm just discovering Ann Patchett and her earlier novels (and have recently gotten hooked on Dani Shapiro's "Inheritance" memoir and subsequent "Family Secrets" podcast), this kind of story is ripe for 'Cecilla' to discover her family secret and have some peace in the unraveling of her story. A convenient plot twist to have another character dye her hair to give her a new look – hoping to cheer her up after her mother disappears and before her - [*SPOILER ALERT COMING" } - her "bio" dad unexpectedly shows up and they can't recognize that they might possibly be related - leaves me unsatisfied.

However, those were the secrets kept back in the 60s/70s and 80s and this is a fictional story - not a real one. All of Ann Patchett's novels are wildly different - although this story could have been created from someone she knew or had heard about. Nonetheless, (no pun intended), the story tries to examine that a child can grow up with love from strangers and establish a healthy sense of self – even if they don't get it from their biological parents. But, a lack of parental love can really screw someone up and the damage it does when it could be preventable leaves me feeling the lead character was selfish and hard to relate to.

1 person found this helpful