The Saint (The Original Sinners #5: The White Years #1)
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
Fifteen year old Eleanor is sick of her strict mother’s religion, sick of the Catholic school she’s forced to attend and definitely sick of church. Acting out in every which way she can, she’s in trouble at school frequently and then tells her mother that she’ll never be returning to church. Until she hears that there’s a new priest taking over for a while – and that he rides a Ducati motorcycle. She’ll just go and have a look, Eleanor decides. After all a priest who rides a Duc can’t be that bad surely.
Eleanor is unprepared for Father Søren and his blonde perfection. He is much younger than she expected and much, much more handsome. There’s a powerful draw between the two of them and all of a sudden Eleanor is desperate to go to church and spend more time in his presence. Then Eleanor makes a bad mistake – a terrible judgement call and faces punishment that could wreck her future. To her surprise, the one that steps up to save her is Søren and she gladly accepts any conditions that he offers, no matter how strict they are. Given he’s taking her future into his hands, the more time she spends with him the better.
The attraction that has been there between them from day 1 grows the more they are around each other. But Eleanor, although unbothered by the fact that Søren is a priest, still has much she needs to learn about him and his past before he will allow anything to happen between them. Søren’s upbringing was unusual and there are many secrets, things that he knows could send her running from him once she hears them. But Eleanor vowed when Søren saved her to repay him with complete obedience and there’s nothing that could send her from his side now. Not when she’s so close to having what she wants.
The Saint is a long-awaited novel for fans of The Original Sinners series. The tidbits have been dropped in the four published books that make up the Red Years Quartet (The Siren, The Angel, The Prince and The Mistress) and now this is the novel that fills in the gaps. What I didn’t realise was that this book is actually present-day and takes place probably not that long after the conclusion of The Mistress. And once again, it’s Nora telling stories to a listener which serves as the way that the reader is also informed of her past. This has been used in the previous two books and both times I wasn’t entirely convinced by it. It led to a lot repetition as Nora explains the same stories to different people. And the same thing sort of happens here – the reader is aware of some of this, it’s appeared in snippets in previous books, most if not all, of the big reveals have been spoiled before. Instead of just going back to when Nora was 15, starting there and moving straight through to the point in which she and Søren consummate their relationship, it is split between that and Nora in the present time grieving the loss of someone dear to her. What I don’t get is why she is telling this person her story and why he’s even there at all. I have to admit, I barely remembered who he was and I don’t get why he’s the one with her at this very important and upsetting time for her. Apart from the fact that he wants to fuck her but everyone that meets Nora wants to fuck her apparently so this is not really that unusual.
I wasn’t a huge fan of The Mistress but I was really keen to read this and get back to the core story of how Nora and Søren fell in love given she was a 15 year old schoolgirl and he a 29 year old priest when they met. I was actually kind of surprised how “instalove” it ended up feeling to me, that whole eyes-meeting-in-a-crowded-church kind of thing and Søren is hot and Nora is hot and basically, everyone in these books is extraordinarily hot. Søren introduces Nora to his friend and former brother-in-law Kingsley and he’s also hot and he speaks French and that’s also hot too. In fact most of the reviews I’ve read of this book seem to indicate that people love this book because everyone is so hot and they just can’t stand it. I get that they’re hot, I’m told it every few pages or so, but I can’t help feeling that I need a little more than this. Nora is at times, feisty and fun but sometimes it kind of reeks of being a little too clever and you just get the feeling she’s about one inch away from being a Mary Sue. There’s also not a lot of difference between fifteen year old Nora and thirty-five year old Nora. Likewise Søren is portrayed as being so perfect in pretty much every way. He knows everything and everyone is afraid of him and what he can possibly do. I started off really liking Søren but as the series went on he virtually morphed into a caricature of a real person for me and the ending of The Mistress kind of ruined him for all forever. In fact, weirdly enough, my favourite of all these books so far is The Angel where the focus is actually mostly on another couple and Nora kind of plays a bit-part.
I think that Tiffany Reisz can tell a story but unfortunately, this series is kind of feeling like the same few stories being told more than once. I enjoyed the flashbacks (well, most of them) and a few more glimpses into Søren and Nora, as we haven’t had a lot of them together in the previous four books but the present day stuff was mostly just baffling to me. It’s possible there’s a novella that I missed or something, that explains why Nico followed her. But I don’t think he was at all necessary to the plot and didn’t add anything interesting. He wasn’t a particularly developed character and I mostly wanted those parts with him to be over so it would get back to the story of when Nora was younger.
Book #125 of 2014