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Backseat Saints Hardcover – June 8, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Jackson’s absorbing and rewarding fourth novel spotlights Rose Mae Lolly, a minor character from her popular debut, Gods in Alabama (2005). Rose is now living under the thumb of her abusive husband and his domineering father. A Gypsy in an airport who reads her tarot cards turns Rose’s life upside down when she tells Rose that if she doesn’t kill her husband, he will surely kill her. When Rose realizes that the Gypsy is in fact her mother, who abandoned her when Rose was eight and left her with her abusive father, she takes her advice, but accidentally shoots her beloved dog instead. Rose comes to believe that hope lies in finding Jim, the high-school football star who was the only boy who ever treated her well. As her search for Jim morphs into a bid to free herself of her past, Rose goes on a cross-country mission to escape her husband and find herself. Jackson peels back Rose’s hard edges and resignation to reveal a smart, earnest, brave, and surprisingly hopeful young woman who yearns to make a better life for herself. Rose’s salvation, when it comes, is positively breathtaking. --Kristine Huntley


"Backseat Saints will pull you in and won't let you out until the last page. Raw, tangy and funny, it is an enthralling peek into the secret sorority of mistreated women. Follow the journey of one courageous, witty woman who decides, I'm not going to take this anymore. I love reading about smart, flawed and ultimately wise women, like Rose Mae. " --Kathryn Stockett, #1 New York Times bestselling author of THE HELP

"Joshilyn Jackson dives into darker, deeper water in BACKSEAT SAINTS-- with all her readers firmly in tow. As always, a riveting read." --Lee Smith, New York Times bestselling author of THE LAST GIRLS and MRS. DARCY AND THE BLUE-EYED STRANGER

"BACKSEAT SAINTS is an unputdownable story about love, survival, and shedding the past. Rose Mae Lolly is tough, passionate, funny, and fierce, one hell of a heroine to guide us through one hell of an adventure. Any time Joshilyn Jackson is in the driver's seat, I'm along for the ride. --Michelle Richmond, New York Times bestselling author of THE YEAR OF FOG

"The arrival of a Joshilyn Jackson novel feels like the first perfect day in a favorite season and BACKSEAT SAINTS is no exception." --Laura Lippman, author of LIFE SENTENCES

"Readers everywhere will rejoice to be back in the land of gods in Alabama. BACKSEAT SAINTS is a heart-thrilling, can't-stop-reading book about the unique and unforgettable Rose Mae Lolley. I loved this novel." --Michael Lee West, author of MERMAIDS IN THE BASEMENT

"From the moment I began reading, I could not put this book down. Rose Mae is an enduring character with a fierce and unstoppable spirit. This is a beautifully written story about an important subject. Pass the word." --Brunonia Barry, New York Times bestselling author of THE LACE READER and THE MAP OF TRUE PLACES

"A sizzling chunk of Southern Gothic."—Gina Webb, The Altanta Journal-Constitution

"[Rose Mae's] journey pulses with fierce determination."—People (a "Great Escapes" pick)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (June 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446582344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446582346
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,210,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joshilyn Jackson is the New York Times Bestselling author of six novels, most recently SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY

Her short novella, MY OWN MIRACULOUS, is the prequel to her latest title, and is available as an e book and an audio download.

She lives in Decatur, Georgia with her husband and their two kids. She loves Bourbon and Hot Yoga (not together) and she has more dogs than you. Unless you have three.

She's also an award winning audiobook narrator.


Customer Reviews

Really, really a good book with a good ending.
You feel like you understand why she's done the things she has and you want to help her as she struggles to find a better life.
Where Jackson shines is in the unique way she tells the story, in her descriptions, the insights she has her characters voice.
she treads softly

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By J. G. James on June 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
From the first sentence, Backseat Saints is a grab onto a live wire I couldn't let go of until I reached the last page. The day sweet, perfect Ro Grandee spots the tarot cards tumbling to the floor in front of an airport gypsy is the day realizes that her beautiful, abusive husband is going to be the death of her.

Ro gets a gun and begins to dig deep for the tough, smart-mouthing girl she once was, Rosa Mae Lolly, the girl who can save her own life, that same Rose Mae who dated the infamous Jim Beverly in Jackson's popular novel, GODS IN ALABAMA.

Racing from her relentless husband Thom, Rosa Mae runs looking for her disappeared high school boyfriend Jim, and then her long-lost mother to help find a way to finish off the man who both loves her and wants to murder her, running for her life from Texas to California by way of Alabama. She revisits her bruised-up childhood and knocked-around marriage to understand her flat out run toward a terrifying future before she finally lets herself love and trust.

I tend to shy from a dark subject like abuse in my entertainments, but Jackson's Rose is funny and smart, flawed and confused in a way that inspires compassion. She is messed up in the ordinary way many of us find ourselves in, and who wouldn't be, when every important person in Rose's life either abused or abandoned her? It was satisfying to watch her unravel her life and her choices and put the pieces back together in way that leads to the hope of a happy future.

Jackson's amusing wit, sharp characterizations and lovely use of language make Rose's moving and suspenseful story a joy to read.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Ferdy VINE VOICE on April 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Backseat Saints is the story of 3 women - Rose Mae Lolley, Ro Grandee and Ivey Rose - the twist is that they are all within one woman. No, she's not schizophrenic. Each of the personas represents a different piece of herself. Rose Mae is the girl from Alabama whose mother left her to grow up alone with an abusive, alcoholic father. Ro Grandee is the beautiful, perfect wife of Thom who likes to take out his anger with his fists and uses her as the punching bag. Ivey Rose is the woman who has reached her breaking point and is on the run from her husband and her past. Rose is, like most of us, a mixture of all three and constantly at war with herself over which is the "right" one. Her husband's abuse finally forces her hand and she has to run back home. Returning to Fruiton, Alabama also means facing the father she had left behind and the memories of a mother who left her alone. It's not the same old abused woman trying to rebuild her life story. It is fresh and different and the plot is always twisting so you never know what to expect.
This novel was truly gripping. I finished it in about a day's time. Rose is a character that you can really identify with. The descriptions of her inner struggles are so vivid - the feelings she has for her husband, her fear of leaving him, the pain of her mother leaving her and the memories of her love for a boy in high school. It's like listening to a friend pour her heart out. You feel like you understand why she's done the things she has and you want to help her as she struggles to find a better life. You see yourself in her at times.
I have been a fan of Joshilyn Jackson's since gods in Alabama. She is a wonderful writer. Her descriptive powers amaze me.
Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Teacher on June 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Whether or not you've read GODS IN ALABAMA, this book will grab you from the start and make you want to go find out all about Arlene Fleet as soon as you finish discovering Rose Mae Lolley. I must admit that I've been a fan for years, but this book sparkles and shines with voice, plot, wit, and insight into why women stay--what holds them there or pulls them back--and, truly, why we all have some sort of "Thom Grandee" in our lives whether it's cigarettes, food, stress, or an actual person. Great author. Great read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sherri Caldwell - The Rebel Housewife(tm) on June 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
You will remember Rose Mae Lolley from Jackson's stunning debut, GODS IN ALABAMA (2005). A minor character in GODS (the high school girlfriend of the unfortunate football god, Jim Beverly), Rose Mae is back as the main character in BACKSEAT SAINTS, along with her alter-egos, Mrs. Ro Grandee and Ivy Rose Wheeler (all one-and-the-same, in a surprisingly complex and multi-layered plot).

Mrs. Ro Grandee of Amarillo, Texas, at the warning of a mysterious fortune teller, has finally had enough of her bad-boy husband's physical abuse. After an aborted attempt at cold-blooded murder, the second-generation battered wife runs, intending to find freedom with the assumed identity of her neighbor's long-dead baby, Ivy Rose Wheeler. Before she can take on life as Ivy Rose, Rose Mae travels back to Fruiton, Alabama to confront her alcoholic, abusive father and then sets out on the trail of the mother who ran away and abandoned her when she was eight years old...

Did you get all that?

With her unique southern blend of pathos and wit, and her trademark outrageously original characters, Jackson crochets a bright lace doily of humor over very serious, decidedly non-funny, subjects: domestic abuse, alcoholism, abandonment, split personality and a host of other mental health issues. Like a modern-day Flannery O'Connor, somehow Joshilyn Jackson makes it all work and the effort is spectacular.

-- Sherri Caldwell, Humor Columnist & Reviewer at [...]
Co-Author, The Rebel Housewife Rules: To Heck With Domestic Bliss!
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