REVIEW: MRS. SAINT & THE DEFECTIVES, BY JULIE LAWSON TIMMER

Markie, a forty-something divorcée who has suffered a humiliating and very public fall from marital, financial, and professional grace, moves, along with her teenage son, Jesse, to a new town, hoping to lick her wounds in private. But Markie and Jesse are unable to escape the attention of their new neighbor Mrs. Saint, an irascible, elderly New European woman who takes it upon herself, along with her ragtag group of “defectives,” to identify and fix the flaws in those around her, whether they want her to or not.

What Markie doesn’t realize is that Mrs. Saint has big plans for the divorcée’s broken spirit. Soon, the quirky yet endearing woman recruits Markie to join her eccentric community, a world where both hidden truths and hope unite them. But when Mrs. Saint’s own secrets threaten to unravel their fragile web of healing, it’s up to Markie to mend these wounds and usher in a new era for the “defectives”—one full of second chances and happiness.

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From the beginning of Mrs. Saint and the Defectives, I was annoyed but intrigued by Markie’s new start that includes a bossy and intrusive next-door neighbor, Mrs. Saint.

Just when Markie had moved on a bit with her son and her new at-home job, Mrs. Saint was there, showing up and trying to control everything in their lives, including bringing a dog, adding chores for Markie’s son Jesse, and even asking for numerous favors from Markie to assist with the group of “defectives” that Mrs. Saint has added to her community.

As time passed, however, Markie did find some benefits from the quirky community, although she was often frustrated by the vagueness of the old woman, who kept secrets…but seemed to expect Markie to reveal all of hers.

As the story concluded, we learn a lot more that fills in the blank spots in Mrs. Saint’s story…and offers an unexpected layer to her history. 4.5 stars.

***

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