What a wonderful book, simply wonderful. Ann Patchett’s, “The Patron Saint of Liars,” is beautifully written, superbly crafted and structured, with a cast of unforgettable characters.
The Novel, written in first person narrative, is told by three individuals, Rose, the mother, Wilson Abbort, the father, and Cecilia, the daughter.
It takes place in Habit, Kentucky at Saint Elizabeth’s Home for unwed mothers. It is run by Catholic nuns, and the Home was originally a very fancy hotel who the owner left to the Catholic Church.
The story mostly takes place in the 1960’s and 70’s when abortions weren’t so commonplace, so young ladies who did not want to keep their babies went to Homes like the one in this book where they stayed, free of charge, during their entire pregnancy and once they had given birth at a nearby hospital they were very seldom seen again, and their babies were handed over to families that were looking to adopt a baby.
Rose was one of these girls, but she decided in the end that she wanted to keep her baby, and marries the caretaker of the Home, Wilson Abbort…also known as Son. Rose works in the kitchen, with the lovable Sister Evangeline. Over the next fifteen years she becomes an expert cook, never taken a penny from the nuns.
This is a story that explores so many human emotions, from the beginning of pregnancies to the time the mothers give birth. It’s a reminder that one’s past can never be totally neglected, and that love is complicated, and that caring is not a weakness but a strength. I highly, highly recommend.