Sunday, June 29, 2014
SUNNY - REVIEW TOUR: "The Saint" by Tiffany Reisz
Before she became Manhattan's most famous dominatrix, Nora Sutherlin was merely a girl called Eleanor…
Rebellious, green-eyed Eleanor never met a rule she didn't want to break. She's sick of her mother's zealotry and the confines of Catholic school, and declares she'll never go to church again. But her first glimpse of beautiful, magnetic Father Marcus Stearns—Søren to her and only her—and his lust-worthy Italian motorcycle is an epiphany. Eleanor is consumed—yet even she knows being in love with a priest can't be right.
But when one desperate mistake nearly costs Eleanor everything, it is Søren who steps in to save her. When she vows to repay him with complete obedience, a whole world opens before her as he reveals to her his deepest secrets that will change everything.
Danger can be managed—pain, welcomed. Everything is about to begin.
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Because there is nothing I wouldn’t do to protect you, Eleanor. Nothing I wouldn’t do to help you and nothing I wouldn’t do to save you. Nothing.
And so it begins…
I have to admit, I had to think twice before requesting this ARC. I had a little anxiety about reading this book mainly because my first book by Tiffany Reisz, The Siren, left an indelible impression on me and I thought about it for weeks. I questioned everything. I began to look at more closely things I took for “normal” and began to see how they are socially constructed. That book really expanded my perspective. Honestly, I didn’t know if I was ready for that again.
Lightening strikes again – but in a different way. Again, I’m being stretched but this time, it is for the character of Søren. To me, Søren is the dark one, the scary one, the one always in control. I’ve judged him on his behavior without much thought to how he evolved into the person that he is. The Saint is is a prequel. Starting with the aftermath of a tragic situation (which Ms. Reisz does a wonderful job in keeping this event a mystery), we learn how Nora and Søren meet. Nora is a misunderstood rebel. Snarky and smart, she acts out because she feels disappointed by all the people that are suppose to love her. In walks a new priest, Father Marcus Stearns, aka Søren, who shows her that she matters. There is an understanding and connection that is both wildly tender and restrained that develops over years. This evolution ameliorates for me the discomfort I have always felt about a relationship between the much older Søren and the teenage Nora. The relationship is profound. There is a sense of destiny and I keenly felt it:
Because God know long before I did that I would need to be a priest to find you and help you and keep you on the right path. And I will keep you safe even if it kills me.
The best part of this book is getting to peel the layers off of Søren. He’s not a hero; he’s not an anti-hero. He is not quite the Byronic hero, instead he is a set of contradictions – light and dark, tender and cruel, tragic and heartwarming. He is shaped and formed by his past. But whether he is born this way or shaped this way, at the end he is a sadist. Though this is not a word in my everyday vocabulary, I am challenged to see that concept in a different way.
The second best thing about this book is being back with Nora. I just can’t get enough of this smart, courageous, self-realizing character. I love watching her discover herself and what is important to her. She is authentic and stands for what she believes in.
IN A NUTSHELL:
What a completely satisfying read. I would not recommend starting with this book, although it is the history and background of our beloved characters. In order to truly appreciate where they came from, you need to experience first where they are. However, this is a CAN’T-BE-MISSED book. It gives the whole series a whole new depth that encourages us to continue on to the next book.
Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tiffany Reisz is the author of the highly acclaimed series The Original Sinners. Her first novel, THE SIREN, won the RT Editor's Choice Award for Best Erotic Romance of 2012. Slightly shameless, Tiffany dropped out of a conservative Southern seminary in order to pursue a career as a writer. This move, while possibly putting her eternal salvation in peril, has worked out better than she anticipated. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her boyfriend, author Andrew Shaffer.
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