Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Review: Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson

Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson
Hardcover, 336 pages
Grand Central Publishing (June 8, 2010)

Review Copy received from Hachette Book Group for participation in the Manic Mommies Book Club

Summary from the author's website:
Ro Grandee is the perfect Texas housewife. She's determined to be nothing like her long-missing mother, the one who left her with only a heap of old novels and her father's fists for company, so Ro keeps quiet and takes her husband's punches like a lady. But Ro wasn't always this way. Underneath her pastel skirts and hidden bruises lies Rose Mae Lolley, teenaged spitfire, Alabama heartbreaker, and a crack shot with a pistol. Rose Mae is resurrected when a gypsy's tarot cards foretell doom for dutiful Ro: her handsome husband is going to kill her. Unless she kills him first.

Armed with only her wit, her pawpy's ancient .45, and her dog Fat Gretel, Rose Mae hightails it out of Texas. In a journey that is by turns harrowing and exhilarating, she uncovers long buried truths about her family and herself, running from the man who will never let her go, on a mission to find the mother who did.
My Thoughts:
First, I am admitting that when I first saw the title of the book I inferred that "backseat" would have something to do with action that a teenager might see in a backseat... And I was wrong.

Backseat Saints was an entertaining and thought-provoking book and I really, really liked it.  I have been fortunate to have read so many books this year that have strong and believable characters, and this book ranks right up there at the top.  The story of Ro Grandee could have easily been a flat, predictable tale of the battered wife - suffering the blows and one day deciding that she wasn't going to take it any more.  Instead Joshilyn Jackson weaves in Ro's history to give the story a different direction and gives Ro a different path to choose.  Predictable, this story was not - I was amazed by the skillful ending.

I have not read other novels by Joshilyn Jackson, but I am a new fan.

Thanks so much to Hachette Book Group for the opportunity to read Backseat Saints.

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  1. This was my first time reading Joshilyn jackson and I felt the same way about her work. I can't wait to read Gods in Alabama t see where the character of Rose Mae originally came from. The author had a lt of interesting ideas incorporated int her story. It's a great book club book.

  2. Great review Kristi! I'm so glad you liked the book. I did to but I really loved our discussion - it made the book more thoughtful and I just enjoyed it so much more.