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Mrs. Saint and the Defectives

By: Julie Lawson Timmer
Narrated by: Elizabeth Wiley
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Editor reviews

Editors Select, August 2017

From the first day recently divorced Markie and her teenage son, Jesse, move into their downgrade of a bungalow, the curmudgeonly, busybody little woman with a French accent who lives next door will not leave them alone. Meet Mrs. Saint: a kind of mysterious matriarch who employs a quirky but loyal group of oddballs. Her skills of manipulation are exemplary, her unsolicited parenting advice unwelcome, but the intent behind her scheming will ultimately melt your heart. Narrator Elizabeth Wiley perfectly captures Markie's hurt and frustration, Jesse's teen angst, and Mrs. Saint's unapologetic directness. This is a light listen, perfect to devour in a summer day or two, with characters that stick out and hold tight long after the story ends. —Tricia, Audible Editor

Summary

Critically acclaimed author Julie Lawson Timmer returns with a tale of how community can heal the brokenness in all of us.

Markie, a fortysomething 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.

©2017 Julie Lawson Timmer (P)2017 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about Mrs. Saint and the Defectives

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  • Nomad 2009
  • 22-09-17

Hours of a narcissist complaining

I was expecting a book like A Man Called Ove: flawed but decent human being working through the difficulties of life. This is not anywhere near that level of story/character development. HOURS of somebody complaining to no end and acting like they are far better than everybody around them. This woman has so many people and so many resources to help her through a difficult time, and all she does is complain.
And the ending? I can't believe that people love this ending. It's more "okay, I'm done writing. What backstory can I give character X to tie this all up in a pretty bow and make people want to like my main character?" Nope.

113 people found this helpful

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  • Sara
  • 07-08-17

Unusual And Off Beat

I had a difficult time at first adjusting to this book. I think it was probably because I had just finished an edge of your seat, page turner, titled Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy. The contrast between Meloy's writing and narration and the style and tone of this book was surprising. It was kind of like coming abruptly to the end of one of those moving sidewalks at the airport. One minute you are flying along and the next minute you are struggling to recover your stride.

Don't get me wrong, Timmer worked hard to make this a feel good story about quirky but overly involved and extra-caring people. To me, parts of the story were a stretch when it came to believability and probability. The whole idea of the term defectives used in relation to the characters in the story gave me pause. Also, at times the narration became a bit over the top.

All that said, this was by far the best Kindle First book I've tried. In the end I felt engaged enough by the story and the characters to stick with it and finish the book. Not a roaringly positive recommendation, I know, but a solid three star listen. You might like it.

58 people found this helpful

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  • Grace Harris
  • 29-08-17

Annoying Characters Contrived Plot

I'm almost sorry I spent time listening to this until the end. The main character was extremely annoying- always acting like she understood everyone's motivations and even at the end when the ridiculous plot was complete, I still didn't think she had any insight. Not recommended.

30 people found this helpful

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  • Dona, Kindle Customer
  • 08-11-17

Save Your Money

If you like this sort of thing (soap operas) you might as well listen to one of the soaps on network TV - for free. This book's saving grace was its historical background during WWII.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Mary
  • 08-08-17

The world needs more Mrs. Saints

I enjoyed this story about second chances filled with quirky characters and all with a connection to the intriguing Mrs. Saint. Going in unexpected directions the novel kept me interested and on a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride - yet left me smiling at the end.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Kaui
  • 23-11-17

solid read for a weekend getaway

This is a light-hearted book about post-WWII aftermath messiness and how a person can hide a heart of gold. The reason this gets a 2 star rating instead of my average 3 stars is because the motivations of the protagonist are, at several points in the book, silly, shallow, petty and unbelievable. Thus, it was hard to like the book as much as I think it otherwise deserves to be liked. I enjoyed the touch of history, I enjoyed the light character development and the cliff-hangers were reasonably compelling to march towards the end of the book. This is a great light read for a weekend getaway.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Suzanne Hill
  • 05-09-17

Just ok.

Several times I thought about not finishing this book. I just found it to be very wordy and predictable. I didn't have much empathy for the lead character and had a hard time connecting with any of the characters.

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  • brandymcq
  • 13-12-17

Petulant and Self Righteous main character

What disappointed you about Mrs. Saint and the Defectives?

There was so much potential in this book but I could not get past my distaste for the main character Markie. She spent the entire book in a petulant self righteous snit and it was only in the last 10 minutes of the book that she bothered to look past her own nose to discover the bright loving family and world that surrounded her. I almost gave up several times but kept thinking her metamorphosis was right around the corner. When her redemption finally arrived it was too little too late. The other characters were so wonderful. Each one a true "character" in description and personality. As their stories are told, and their pasts revealed, they become even more dynamic. There were quite a few loose ends lying around the end of the story, but I have to say, I'd love living next to Mrs. Saint and her Defectives as long as Markie was nowhere to be found.

What about Elizabeth Wiley’s performance did you like?

I like her performance and will be looking for other books performed by her. At first I thought she was Kate Reading!

What character would you cut from Mrs. Saint and the Defectives?

Markie, but I guess there would not be a book without her.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Wayne
  • 31-03-18

This one is not for me!

I've spent 4.5 hours trying to get into this novel. It is simply not working for me. I give up.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Robert
  • 12-08-17

It takes a village


I don't write reviews, because I don't want to take th e time, but I enjoyed this book so much that I made the effort.😀 This is a really fun listen, with lessons spattered throughout. I listen to a lot of audio books and this is one of my favorites this year.

7 people found this helpful