In the beginning, there was him.
Gutsy, 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 Søren Stearns and his lust-worthy Italian motorcycle is an epiphany. Suddenly, daily Mass seems like a reward, and her punishment is the ache she feels when they’re apart. He is intelligent and insightful and he seems to know her intimately at her very core. Eleanor is consumed—and even she knows that can’t be right.
But when one desperate mistake nearly costs Eleanor everything, it is Søren who steps in to save her. She vows to repay him with complete obedience…and a whole world opens before her as he reveals to her his deepest secrets.
Danger can be managed—pain, welcomed. Everything is about to begin.
Even though it’s been over a year since I’ve read one of Tiffany Reisz’s books, I have to admit, I found The Saint easy to get into. Despite the fact the story highlights things that were briefly revealed during the course of the Red Years, it was really enjoyable to see how Nora and Søren’s relationship began. I especially enjoyed the lead up to their first time making love. Though I knew Søren had spent years prepping Nora for the type of relationship he needed in order to be physical with her, it was nice to experience the many obstacles they had to overcome. It was even nice to see him push her away for being immature. Truth be told, as often as she begged for sex, I felt she was still too immature at the age of twenty. But everything helped to reinforce exactly how much Søren loved her. Even to the point of risking her falling in love with someone else.
I saw other reviews where people were creeped out by the fact a 29 year old priest fell in love with 15 year old Eleanor. But truthfully, none of that bothered me, because he made it a point to keep the physical relationship at a distance for several years. Plus, as a fan of the Red Years, I understand why he was so instantly captivated by her… after all, he and Kingsley had dreamt her up over a decade earlier.
The only big thing I saw in fellow reviews was the constant negative comments about Nora’s mother. Here’s what I got from the story, despite her best efforts, her mother was far from perfect. I didn’t even need the justification that she only wanted to miscarry Nora to escape Nora’s father. The truth is, as a mother, I know that no matter how hard you try, there are going to be times when you disappoint your child. It’s inevitable. So even though teenager Eleanor felt as if her mother didn’t love her, I felt Søren’s observation was more accurate. Her mother loved her and she did the best she could to take care of her. In the end, both Nora and her mother failed one another, because neither tried hard enough to come to a middle ground where they could just co-exist. Nora is just as guilty of this as her mother.
I was also pleased to find my original impression of Kingsley has changed since reading the original four books. For some reason, the way he’s depicted and the fact his physical appearance is detailed all at once like Søren’s, I originally imagined Kingsley as an overweight, balding, middle-aged man. Sadly, this perception ruined any interest I had in the character. But with this new book, it was nice to be able to see him for how he’s supposed to be and to fully understand why so many people loved the character.
Everything about this book is golden. Truth be told, the darker elements of this tale (i.e. Søren’s family past and Eleanor’s issues with her father) really work well at making this an interesting story. My only complaint comes from making the reader believe it’s Søren’s ashes that Nora has at the beginning of the book. I literally had to google spoilers to be sure it wasn’t because if it was, I didn’t want to read the books. That’s how much I truly enjoyed the character Tiffany Reisz created. The world of Nora Sutherlin would fail to interest me, if I knew Søren was no longer part of it.
As for Kingsley son, Nico and the statement that Nora and Kingsley will never be together again, because she’s with Nico… I’m not really sure how I feel about that. I suppose I will have to read more to truly gauge how I feel about the young man.