Alex's Reviews > Between Sinners and Saints

Between Sinners and Saints by Marie Sexton
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Jul 17, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: romance, religious, queer
Read in July, 2011

Overall
This is a long and beautiful piece that follows the journey of two men whose chance meeting leads both of them to emotional growth.

The most challenging part of this novel is that it's pretty long, compared to some of its peers, and is slow moving. But I can't mark that was a weakness because rushing this story would have ruined it. It requires a gentle hand to guide the reader through the delicate situations and build up to the climax. Even though this isn't what would normally be considered a "page turner," I found I couldn't put it down.

Strengths
Writing. Very enjoyable and well done! Also, I can only assume Sexton did this on purpose, but after reading the first chapter (narrated by Levi), I was enjoying her writing style. then we switched to Jaime and I was surprised at how stiff it felt. Only after we switched back to Levi did I realize that the writing was expressing Jaime's own discomfort with life and his own skin. As Jaime progressed, the writing balanced out as well. I don't know if it was done on purpose or was a result of the author "getting into the character's head," but it worked.

Characters. Both characters are charming (in their very different ways) and wormed their way into my heart. Levi is tough and stubborn, rebelling against his family and living life to its fullest, mostly in the forms of sex and surfing. Jaime is scared, but stern, and truly a good man. These two work beautifully in their opposites, not water and fire, but each fire while being air to one another. In addition there is Dolly and the Binder family, which at times is confusing but kind of amazing.

Religion. I love religious themes in books, and this one was especially well done. The representatives of religion are varied and realistic and although their perspectives clash with one of the main characters (and probably the reader's), they are not so horribly offensive as to be ridiculous (or like beating a dead horse). In addition, the story works mainly with Mormons, a group that tends to get more stereotypes than other Christian sects, which was refreshing.

Progress. While I enjoyed almost everything about this book, the progression of the characters—including the people and situations that perpetuate the change—is my favorite. These characters need each other and that need and the subsequent satisfaction of that need is well done. The author took the necessary time for the characters to know each other and help each other. There were no quick fixes (except maybe one). Sex wasn't the answer (not that it didn't help). People acted like people, and although there was no great evil to fight, the end of the novel feels like a victory.

Weaknesses
There is one small niggle at the end which made my nose scrunch a little in disbelief, but it was a minor thing (although it was rather major in the character's lives), which I was willing to forgive because of how much I enjoyed everything else. Mainly it's a timing issue where certain relationship events felt rushed. Very minor.

Be sure to check out my other reviews on my blog.
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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris I have this one, and have to remember to read it when I'm looking for something very involving/immersive...


Alex Chris wrote: "I have this one, and have to remember to read it when I'm looking for something very involving/immersive..."

Totally worth it. I'm re-reading it already!


message 3: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris ALREADY?!


Alex Chris wrote: "ALREADY?!"

Yeah...I like the emotional buttons it pushes and after reading something I really enjoy I need a mellow down period before reading something new.

Plus it's better than cleaning the dishes :)


message 5: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris Alex wrote: "...Plus it's better than cleaning the dishes :)"

Having just finished cleaning, I can't argue with that at all!


message 6: by L-D (new) - rated it 4 stars

L-D Moving this up in my TBR. Seems like majority of my GR friends rated this one 5 stars.


Alex Lan-Dinh wrote: "Moving this up in my TBR. Seems like majority of my GR friends rated this one 5 stars."

Do, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


message 8: by L-D (new) - rated it 4 stars

L-D Just finished it! Very emotional...I want to read more about these guys.


Alex Lan-Dinh wrote: "Just finished it! Very emotional...I want to read more about these guys."

Glad you liked it!


message 10: by L-D (new) - rated it 4 stars

L-D Alex wrote: "Lan-Dinh wrote: "Just finished it! Very emotional...I want to read more about these guys."

Glad you liked it!"


If you get a chance, send me a PM and tell me about the niggle that you didn't like. I'm curious about it.


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