Title: Runaway Saint
Author: Lisa Samson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Women’s Christian Fiction
Available: February 18, 2014
My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars.
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. Thank you Thomas Nelson. All opinions provided are my own.
Like many of Samson’s books, Runaway Saint takes place in Baltimore, MD where Sara and Finn run a print shop/design studio. It is a husband/wife venture, small, stylish and trendy. Sara is an artist of sorts, a designer, a creator. But on her 30th birthday, her hippie mom drops a bomb on Sara. Aunt Bel is back in town, the long lost missionary who disappeared from the US and their lives some 25 years previous. Sara is the only one who has space for her.
Something is not quite right with Aunt Bel, and really the whole family dynamic. As Sara continues forward in the pursuit of growing the business and deciding where she stands on having a family, she struggles with her relationship with her sainted aunt.
I’m a long time lover of Lisa Samson’s books. Since first stumbling across her Embrace Me on a “new releases” stand at the local library, I have made my way through most of the body of her work. (Including the Hollywood Nobody Series which is one of my favorite teen series.) She writes with clear, concise description, weaving the details into the story in ways that draw readers right in. Typically her stories are a little edgy, filled with Christian themes, and characters struggling through their faith. Her devotion to the greater Baltimore area and the way she links books together through characters and settings is charming for her regular readers. For some reason, this offering did not resonate with me like most of her books have.
The characters overlap a little bit on her last book The Sky Beneath My Feet, which is typical Samson. Her stories have become more “young urbanite”, almost Neta Jacksonish, rather that reflective of the characters and situations that Samson has previously tackled. While her writing is still spot on with its descriptive character, the plot line in Runaway Saint, seemed to lose it’s steam in the web of secrets that needed to be unraveled. While I still enjoyed the story in general, I felt like I had a harder time connecting to Sara. Her conflict, although buried in the plot, didn’t seem realistic and the resolution and faith component less relevant.
Still Samson is a force in Christian fiction and this new book is filled with surprise elements, some depth and spectacular descriptions. There is nothing “fluffy” about her approach. This one just seemed to miss the mark for me.
Recommend for: Women’s Fiction Readers who aren’t afraid of a little God in their stories.