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The Patron Saint of Liars

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  43,086 ratings  ·  3,996 reviews
Since her first publication in 1992, celebrated novelist Ann Patchett has crafted a number of elegant novels, garnering accolades and awards along the way. Now comes a reissue of the best-selling debut novel that launched her remarkable career. St. Elizabeth's, a home for unwed mothers in Habit, Kentucky, usually harbors its residents for only a little while. Not so Rose C ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 28th 2003 by 4th Estate GB (first published 1992)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  43,086 ratings  ·  3,996 reviews


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Chelsea Cripps
May 25, 2007 rated it it was ok
The story of Rose, a habitual abandoner, who finds herself in a home for unwed mothers in the 1960s. The story is about the place almost as much as the people--a place where people come for a brief, but life-altering, time and then move on. It is also the story of the people who stay there--Rose, with all her secrets, her daughter, the nuns and the groundskeeper. I loved the story of the place and I thought the writing was quite good. It held my interest and there were a few really lovely moment ...more
Mel
Dec 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
I have mixed feelings about this particular Patchett novel. I didn't want to put it down but I wasn't happy when I finished.

I was totally sucked in by the story's opening but then the tone changed and the character depth faded a bit. The turmoil the main character feels is never discussed once she finds her way to St. Elizabeth's, yet it drives the remainder of the novel. Just as the story picks up steam again, it's over. Given the story line and the characters I thought the story could have bee
...more
Elyse Walters
Feb 10, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
It’s fair to say….
….I like Ann Patchett….

I’ve read….
Bel Canto, The Dutch House, Commonwealth, State of Wonder, This is A Story of a Happy Marriage, Truth and Beauty, The Magician’s Assistant, Run, Taft, These Precious Days,
and …..now
“The Patron Saint of Liars”, (debut - first published in 1992)

It’s also fair to say….
….I wasn’t expecting “The Patron Saint of Liars” to be more than average - I wasn’t expecting to be fully absorbed….
But wrong….
THIS IS A VERY ENGAGING- *TOUCHING*, thought-provoki
...more
Wormie
Mar 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ann Patchett’s debut novel, The Patron Saint of Liars, is a beautifully written story about people, secrets, and lies. The book’s title intrigued me; “Patron Saint of Liars” – a conflict between virtue and dishonesty. Patchett’s writing is quiet and compelling as she shares the story of Rose Clinton, and how her lies affected her life and the lives of those around her.

After three years of marriage, Rose Clinton finds herself pregnant. Unsatisfied with her life, and questioning her love for her
...more
Deborah Edwards
Jul 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: personal-faves
This is my third Ann Patchett novel. The first one I read was her miraculous gem of a book, "Bel Canto." The second was the solid, beautifully cadenced tale of a Boston family called "Run." When I discovered that "The Patron Saint of Liars" was Patchett's first novel, I assumed that the two books I named above, which came later and which I both adore, would be better crafted, more intricate, more resonant. Turns out her first novel is the one I love the best. And that's saying something. Patchet ...more
Lorna
The Patron Saint of Liars was the debut novel by one of my favorite contemporary writers, Ann Patchett. And it was a beautiful book that spoke to faith, love, mother-daughter relationships, and what constitutes family, but most important is the sense of miracles that is woven throughout this beautiful tale.

At the core of this book was what happened in 1906 in a back pasture owned by George Clatterbuck in Habit, Kentucky as the first bit of water broke through creating a hot spring that was alre
...more
Fabian
Jul 13, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Bel Canto" was sooo amazing (drop-everything-&-read-now fantastic)I just had to review the writer's earliest work (just as I did with M. Chabon). "The Patron Saint of Liars" is a bit tepid, about a place for pregnant girls that used to be a hotel and miracles and family secrets. Ann Patchett is religious and tries to inject this, her first work, with lots of godly goodness and extra (not extraneous) sensitivity. & her characters, though fully-fleshed and complete, have seemingly simple psycholo ...more
Heather
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
Oh, Ann, this was really sub-par. I was initially interested in the set-up, but your lack of deeper exploration into the implications of it made me bored and disappointed. This book contains a potentially great premise (life for pregnant women in a home for unwed mothers, and life for a family who works there), and in my opinion completely falls flat. The book contains selfish characters whose reasons for being so are woefully unexplored. Main question: WHY does Rose always feel the need to leav ...more
Danielle
Jan 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Yeah, so I actually didn't love this book like I was expecting to. It was kind of depressing, and there wasn't an overarching moral lesson or something that made the unhappy ending worth it. Don't get me wroing, I loved Bel Canto, and that didn't end happily either, but I actually thought this story would have been better for a different kind of ending. At least a redemption of sorts. But no luck.
My biggest complaint, and this is kind of silly, but I thought the whole point with the healing spri
...more
emma
yes, i've read exactly one ann patchett book. yes, i would give my life for ann patchett. ...more
Brandice
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it
The Patron Saint of Liars is a story about a young woman who leaves her life to head to St. Elizabeth's, a home for unwed mothers on the other side of the country. The story is told in three parts, in chronological order: first by Rose, the young woman, then by Son, the groundskeeper at St. Elizabeth's, and finally, by Rose's daughter, Cecilia.

I enjoyed Rose's portion the most, although the likability of her character waned for me as the story progressed. Her portion was engaging and got me hoo
...more
Connie G
Jun 18, 2022 rated it really liked it
I needed the name of a place to go, someplace far away, where women had babies and left them behind, like pieces of furniture too heavy to move. . . I was going to Saint Elizabeth's."

Rose Clinton was unhappy with her life. The thing she really loved was to drive, and she dreamed of escape from a marriage to a nice guy who she did not love. When she found she was pregnant, Rose went to Saint Elizabeth's with the intention of giving up her baby, but fate intervened.

"The Patron Saint of Liars" is t
...more
Holly Booms Walsh
Aug 07, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I just read this entire book in one sitting. The title is what caught my eye, such a wonderful title. It is beautifully written, and reminded me of the trance that Alice Hoffman books put the reader into, even though this book did not have the mystical, magical imagery that Hoffman infuses her books with. This is a story of Rose, a young woman that marries twice to men that she does not really love, and though she spends her life helping others, never really finds the unknown thing that she is s ...more
Deacon Tom F
Mar 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Occasionally I select a book with a strong reputation that I have never heard of. I did this with Ann Patchett’s "The Patron Saint of Liars"— it wholeheartedly surprised me. One of the best I've read in the past year.

The plot line is very engaging. It surrounds St. Elizabeth's home for unwed mothers in the 1960s. Unlike most books about institutions of this sort, this book offers a fair appraisal of the service St.Elizabeth’s offered.

The absolute strength of this book is the way the characters
...more
Lori  Keeton
Jun 29, 2022 marked it as to-read
I didn't finish this one because there are just too many books calling me right now and this one isn't winning out in the fight! Anyhow, I will put it on a new shelf of Come Back to books rather than DNF. DNF for me are those books that I don't want to finish. This is one I'd like to get back to some day. ...more
Ashley
Jul 19, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-fic, fiction
I hate books like this. Ones that start out so promising, and then crap out halfway through. Like they get lost in the swirl of it all and then just flush themselves down the toilet in despair.

At it's most basic, The Patron Saint of Liars is about leaving. The blurb on the back cover of the novel is misleading. It makes it seem like Rose is the main character, when in fact, we lose touch with her halfway through, when she becomes a shadow of the character we've been reading about for 165 pages.
...more
LA Cantrell
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
ON SALE TODAY FOR $2.99.... get it if you like darkish, quirky characters where lies (obviously, as in the title) play their own role.

It's been forever since I read this, so forgive the short shrift. The story is set primarily at a home for unwed mothers out in the countryside. Nuns run the show with the help of a groundskeeper and others who are as important to the story as the girls who spend several emotional months here, delivering life and then leaving.

Hiding pregnancy and hiding paternity
...more
Megan Baxter
Dec 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the third Ann Patchett book I've read. Of the other two, the novel I really disliked, and the memoir I found only so-so. They weren't enough to put her on my do-not-read list, but for authors that I only like a bit, I tend to figure that if I don't like them by the end of the third book, it's not going to change, and I can gratefully set them aside. That's where we were starting this book. I was expecting this to be my last. Now she has a reprieve.

Note: The rest of this review has been w
...more
Denise
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Patron Saint of Liars is Ann Patchett's debut novel. It is a novel about people, an intriguing places and full of secrets and lies. This well written novel is told through the eyes of three characters. Firstly, Rose who is an expert at leaving, even through she is with you, Son (Wilson), the handyman who marries Rose and Cecilia the daughter. I enjoyed this story but did not become engaged or understand Rose and her actions. Maybe the author wanted Rose to remain mysterious to the reader.
"He
...more
Steve
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How did I never get around to reading this before? What a mistake, on my part. I've read (and really enjoyed) almost all of Patchett's work over the years (OK, for whatever reason, The Magician's Assistant didn't speak to me, but that was the exception), even since becoming enamored with Bel Canto.... I wish I'd found this and read it sooner. I found it to be ... just about perfect ... and well constructed ... and emotive ... and ... rich ... and sparse but elegant ... and ... sad and poignant, ...more
Sara
May 08, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

The Patron Saint of Liars is my third book by Ann Patchett, and I find her novels tend to hold me fast while I am reading them but sometimes leave me wondering what it was all about when it is over. I enjoyed reading this story about a young pregnant woman who flees her home in California for an unwed mother’s home in Kentucky. What makes her unusual is that she is not unwed, she has a husband who is good to her and loves her. To the very end of the novel, I could not ever grasp exactl
...more
Lewis Weinstein
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-general
I stopped after about 50 pages ... it is very well written but the characters and the story were of no interest to me ... many people, including my wife, loved it
♥ Sandi ❣
3 stars

This is one of my lessor liked novels of Ann Patchett. Her writing is always good, however this story line just seemed to fizzle out -all the way into a rather bad story ending. I felt the first third or so of the book was the best. Once the story started changing narrators I found it less interesting and less enjoyable.

Married Rose runs away when she finds out she is pregnant and ends up across the country in a home for single mothers. We meet the maintenance man, Son, and learn his lif
...more
Chris
Mar 10, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First half of this book was good, I got pulled In, then the second half fizzled, stalled and left this reader unfulfilled and disappointed at the end.

The premise of a disenchanted young woman, Rose who lives in California. She is unhappy, disenchanted with her husband, her life. She feels freedom when she is alone and driving. One day she decides she’s just going to drive and drive she does. She does not tell her husband she’s leaving or where she’s going - leaving him to wonder for years (!) w
...more
Terry
Jun 17, 2022 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars rounded down because, despite loving the writing, I absolutely hated the ending of the book, which I will not give away in this admittedly short review.
Kate
Ann Patchett is probably best well known for having written Bel Canto which I am best known for not having read. But I was browsing in Borders one day and happened upon Patron Saint and was finally moved to purchase a book after several months of not having bought any really. The story centers around St. Elizabeth's, a home for unwed mothers in Kentucky in the 1960's. One night, a woman named Rose enters the home, unwilling to share her secrets, stating that her husband has died and she will giv ...more
Joseph Sciuto
Apr 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful book, simply wonderful. Ann Patchett's, "The Patron Saint of Liars," is beautifully written, superbly crafted and structured, with a cast of unforgettable characters.

The Novel, written in first person narrative, is told by three individuals, Rose, the mother, Wilson Abbort, the father, and Cecilia, the daughter.

It takes place in Habit, Kentucky at Saint Elizabeth's Home for unwed mothers. It is run by Catholic nuns, and the Home was originally a very fancy hotel who the owner l
...more
Dawn
Sep 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book frustrated me. It had an interesting premise and characters that engaged me, however it never went anywhere.
I'm sure there are many who would disagree with me and obviously there are exceptions, but when I read a story I need to know how it ends. And if not all spelled out, at least some really great hints, or at worst - an idea.
This overall depressing book, which admittedly was well-written for the most part, just simply ended. Everyone had ends that were loose and sad and unfinished
...more
Myrna
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Excellent, well written but not uplifting. I found the story line very interesting and it kept me intrigued, until the end. It did not like how she left it.
Irene
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Rose, a young wife in 1968, realizes that she does not want to be married on the same day she learns that she is pregnant. So, she gets into her car and drives across the country to a lovely home for unwed mothers without even a note to her husband. Soon it is clear that she possesses a quiet strength and a gift for cooking that the nuns who run the home, the fatherly handy-man and the other girls come to rely on. But, the quiet strength is a wall behind which to hide who she is. The novel is di ...more
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Patchett was born in Los Angeles, California. Her mother is the novelist Jeanne Ray.

She moved to Nashville, Tennessee when she was six, where she continues to live. Patchett said she loves her home in Nashville with her doctor husband and dog. If asked if she could go any place, that place would always be home. "Home is ...the stable window that opens out into the imagination."

Patchett attended hi
...more

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