Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Saints in Limbo

In every sense of the word, Velma True’s lifestyle on the outskirts of Echo, Florida, is an isolated one. The elderly woman has lost her husband, and her only child, Rudy, is a womanizer just barely aware of the day-to-day needs of his mother. Making things even harder, Velma suffers agoraphobia to such a degree that she can force herself out of her house only when her food supply runs dangerously low.

To Velma’s great surprise, a stranger approaches her on her birthday and leaves her with an astounding gift, something that can transport her so deeply inside her memories that she is able to relive them exactly as they happened to her the first time. She finds somewhat to her dismay, however, that not all of her visited memories are good ones and that she is unable to choose the portion of her past into which she will be immersed. Most disturbing of all, Velma learns that something very evil is out there - and that it is willing to do whatever it takes to gain possession of her gift.

Velma is not at all happy with what she sees as the pointlessness of her life. She worries about her son’s lack of ambition and his willingness to drift from one meaningless relationship to another. She knows that her oldest, and best, friend is growing impatient with her inability to go much more than a few feet from her front porch. Revisiting her past has filled her with regrets about what could have been and she has come to feel trapped “between what was and what is.”

As Velma becomes more comfortable with what is happening to her, she is surprised to find herself filled with hope that she can release the past and change the “what is” part of her life. Things rush to a rousing climax as a young stranger makes her way to Echo on a surprising pilgrimage of her own, the forces of evil gather for a final showdown with Velma, and her son shows her that meaningful change is still possible for a man like him.

Saints in Limbo
, in an uncommon fusion of styles, is part traditional Southern novel, part Christian fiction, part romance novel, and part gothic horror novel. Surprisingly, the combination works well, and readers will find it to be a thrilling story with a touching message. It will particularly appeal, I think, to those who enjoy the Christian fiction genre.

Rated at: 3.5

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