Only God knew why Jillian Slater agreed to return to New Orleans on the news that her father had finally drunk himself to death. It's not like they were close. Read more...
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Only God knew why Jillian Slater agreed to return to New Orleans on the news that her father had finally drunk himself to death. It's not like they were close. She hadn't seen him--or her grandmother, the ice queen--in almost 20 years. But when Adella Atwater, the manager of her grandmother's apartment house, called and said Jillian's expenses would be paid if she'd fly in for the burial, a free trip to New Orleans was too intriguing to resist.
What Adella didn't tell her was that the apartment house wasn't a house at all and, whatever it was, bore the dead weight of a long and painful history. As soon as Jillian meets the odd assortment of renters and realizes that her grandmother had no idea she was coming, she hatches a plan to escape. But the investigation into her father's death quickly unfolds and Jillian is drawn into the lives of the colorful collection of saints and sinners who pass through Saint Silvanus. She soon discovers there is more at stake than she ever imagined. Who is behind the baffling messages and the strange relics left on the steps? Is it possible that her family is actually cursed? Or is it just this crazy old house that holds them all under its spell?
Jillian walks into a web of spiritual and personal danger borne out of her family's broken history, and despite Adella's wiliest efforts, only God himself can orchestrate the undoing of all that is going on at Saint Silvanus.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-08-22
- Reviewer: Staff
Moore's debut novel is certain to draw myriad readers familiar with her bestselling Bible studies (The Law of Love) and faith-based leadership guides and self-help books (So Long Insecurity). Those who love her down-home Southern style will be pleased to find it in this tale set in New Orleans, where a former church is now an apartment building named Saint Silvanus, often referred to as Saint Sans. Olivia Fontaine faces the death of her only child, Raphael, with her usual iciness, but her reserve cracks when police discover Rafe was killed. Olivia's granddaughter comes to attend her father's funeral . Readers will come to love Saint Sans building manager Adella Atwater and the residents, as well as the NOPD cops who solve Rafe's murder. The novel is not without flaws—slow pacing, overuse of colloquialism, odd leaps back to the early days—but it remains endearing and entertaining to the end. Moore's many fans will no doubt flock to her first work of fiction; whether they'll be willing to read the whole long thing is less clear. (Sept.)
Solving a mystery, finding faith
In her anticipated fiction debut, The Undoing of Saint Silvanus, Beth Moore weaves an introspective, genre-bending narrative. Moore, a popular author of Christian nonfiction and founder of Living Proof Ministries, tells the story of Jillian Slater, who travels to New Orleans after receiving news of her alcoholic father’s death.
Upon arriving at Saint Silvanus, the church-turned-apartment-building that her grandmother runs, Jillian learns that things are worse than she’d anticipated. Her father isn’t just dead but murdered, her cold and aloof grandmother isn’t happy to see her, and someone is leaving threatening, strange tokens on the doorstep of Saint Silvanus. Aided by her grandmother and a colorful cast of Saint Silvanus residents, Jillian seeks to learn more about her father’s death and her family’s secrets.
Though it’s a fast-paced story, The Undoing of Saint Silvanus also contains moments of introspection—both for Jillian and for the reader—that are among its strongest scenes. Moore’s vivid and often delightful descriptions of New Orleans, Saint Silvanus and the multiple supporting characters add a lively sense of place. The gripping mystery will keep readers engaged till the end, where Jillian finds both answers and a new relationship with God.