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The Lost Saints of Tennessee

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  1,166 Ratings  ·  226 Reviews

With enormous heart and dazzling agility, Amy Franklin-Willis expertly mines the fault lines in one Southern working-class family. Driven by the soulful voices of forty-two-year-old Ezekiel Cooper and his mother, Lillian, The Lost Saints of Tennessee journeys from the 1940s to 1980s as it follows Zeke’s evolution from anointed son, to honorable sibling, to unhinged middle-

Hardcover, 343 pages
Published February 7th 2012 by Atlantic Monthly Press
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JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust
I was debating between 4 or 5 stars until I spoke with Carla. ( poor woman deserves a metal)

In my humble opinion, when an author leaves me wishing their novel was longer, they deserve my higher rating.

Full review to come .
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
When the word gets out, this book is going to find an enthusiastic following among fans of Southern domestic fiction. It follows the fortunes and misfortunes of the Cooper family from the 1940s through 1985. The 1985 sections are told in the present tense.

The story opens in 1985 with Zeke Cooper, age 42, leaving his Tennessee hometown with the intention of committing suicide. He blames himself for the death of his twin brother Carter 10 years ago, and for the subsequent divorce from his wife Ja
Amber at Fall Into Books
I won this book through's First Reads giveaways, and chose to give this book an honest review.

I entered to win this book because I was born and raised in Tennessee and because I thought the premise sounded interesting. I'm aware that it's not my normal Paranormal fare, but sometimes different is good, and overall, different was good in this book. The plot, though predictable, was emotional. I felt sympathy for each of the characters. The idea of switching between the 1940s and 1980
Jo (Bloomin'Chick)
I finished reading this on July 11th and seven days later, I'm still trying to gather my thoughts on this wonderful novel into something cohesive and that which resembles a review! In a nutshell: I love it. I simply loved it. In a word: Transportive. Amy's writing captured my interest right from the get-go and transported me into the world of her novel, where, despite loneliness and grief, there is also hope. I couldn't put it down and when I did, I couldn't wait to get back to it. A perfect Sum ...more
Erin Cashman
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Lost Saints of Tennessee is one of those rare, remarkable books that draws you in on the very first page, makes you laugh, makes you cry, and simultaneously breaks your heart and fills you with hope. At its core it’s a story of a family, told by two characters, Zeke and his mother, Lillian, who are both hungry for more than what life has in store for them in their small town in Tennessee. The reader learns the hopes, dreams, tragedies and failings of the family members through these two differen ...more
Nancy Houston Fields
Sep 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Publication date: 02/01/2012 ISBN: 9780802120052

Every once in a while I come across a book that has such an endearing quality to it that I have to rave a little about it. Amy Franklin-Willis made this book one, that to me, is unforgettable. I'm only sorry I can't give it more than five stars.

Ezekiel (Zeke) loads a few things into his pick-up truck, lifts his late brother's dog, Tucker, onto the front seat and begins his one-way trip. Grief over his twin brother's death nearly ten years earlier,
Susan (aka Just My Op)
3.5 of 5 stars. This Southern lit is a story of sad and desperate people making sad and desperate decisions. There is lots of family drama, lots of mistakes and regrets, there is hope and heart. Some of the writing is lovely.

The readers are told on the first page that Zeke, now an adult, lost his brother to a drowning incident ten years ago. We aren't told the circumstances, but learn that Carter was Zeke's twin, special in ways that mean learning is hard for him, he has a gentle soul, and he re
Feb 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It was just an amazing read - sad, funny, and all in all an absolute pleasure to read. I am so happy that I read this book! I read it in literally one sitting - I just couldn't put it down. The characters leaped off the page and I just became more and more invested in them as the story continued to unfold. But, you should probably keep the tissues handy, because this book goes through the whole spectrum of emotions! I really enjoyed reading it! Since Sweet Valley, I have alway ...more
Diane S ☔
Dec 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was an extremely bittersweet but memorable book. I became emotionally involved with this family, felt like I lived in this small town in Tennessee, suffered with them through their sorrows, and cheered for them when things went well. Felt so bad for Zeke, Carter and their mom, the choices they had to make, wished they could forgive each other and was happy when Zeke could finally forgive himself and learn to love again. Wonderfully written, heartfelt southern novel. Zeke and Carter are two ...more
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wow, justfinished this debut novel and am blown away. Will write a longer review tomorrow, but if you see it on the new book shelf, grab it. And I'm not just saying that because I was raised in Tennessee.
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The Smart Chicks ...: The Lost Saints of Tennessee 7 14 Sep 13, 2013 01:32PM  
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An eighth-generation Southerner, Amy Franklin-Willis was born in Birmingham, Alabama. She received an Emerging Writer Grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation in 2007 to complete The Lost Saints of Tennessee, a novel inspired by stories of her father's childhood in Pocahontas, Tennessee.
More about Amy Franklin-Willis...
“For a long time, I tried to make my ilfe work, to make our family work. I got tired, though. Five children wears you out until the only thing left inside you, the only thing you've got to give, is a memory of what you thought you'd be.” 3 likes
“Moses Washington always says people love the beginning parts of life; it’s the middle and end parts that end up being more work than we bargain for.” 0 likes
More quotes…