Customer Reviews


95 Reviews
5 star:
 (55)
4 star:
 (25)
3 star:
 (10)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Unhappy Families are Unhappy..."
"You running away from something?"
Moses Washington to Ezekiel Cooper in The Lost Saints of Tennessee

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
Leo Tolstoy in Anna Karenina

Set in southwestern Tennessee and the countryside around Charlottesville, Virginia, Amy Franklin-Willis' soon-to-be-released...
Published on January 3, 2012 by James J. Kane

versus
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lost And Found Family
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...
Published on February 5, 2012 by Someone Else


‹ Previous | 14 5 610 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Redemption and Regret, February 16, 2012
By 
This review is from: The Lost Saints of Tennessee: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This debut novel by Amy Franklin Willis starts out with some suicidal drama but then wallows at a slow pace through the first part of the book. Narrated in first person between son, mother and then son, and alternating between past and present, this can be confusing to follow. The reader learns that the son is divorcing, he had a twin brother who died, and his mother Lillian lived her life as devoted mother and wife but was forced to feel guilty about a decision she made concerning her son Carter who was stricken with rubella and suffered permanent brain damage as a result of that.

The mother lives her life feeling guilty for her decision, but the son/brother reveals his own guilt later on in the third part of the book. This revelation is quite surprising as it's the only true surprise in the book that catches you off guard. It was placed there to make you realize that the mother's guilt should be far less damaging than the son's. The second part of the book, narrated by the mother, saves this book from being a boring Southern tale of lost love and damaged hearts. It leaves you thinking. How can one blame the mother for what happened to brother Carter? One can't. She was a victim of that era's thinking when it came to special-needs children. She was forced to make a choice she didn't want to make.

The story is well-written and despite the jumping around, a pleasure to read. There are many cliched events in this story, common for the 1960s and 1980s. There is love/hate, victory/defeat, pleasing/disappointing in this story. It's about love and family and the backdrop is both Tennessee and Virginia. But I found Ezequiel's character lacking; perhaps that was the intent being the lone survivor of twins. He comes across as whining too much, and blaming others for his misfortune, and his ex-wife Jackie comes across as cold. Was she cold because her husband was selfish and weak?

Although this story takes place in the South, this isn't a Southern novel. This is more a novel about gender roles and expectations and the choices we make in life. Franklin-Willis doesn't use the Southern location much and other than the horsefarm and the rampant use of tobacco, the characters could have been from anywhere.

I waver between three and four stars with this novel. Three because it drags on too much, four because the narrative is pleasing and the plot and setting are nicely described.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deeply evolving story of family., December 3, 2011
By 
This review is from: The Lost Saints of Tennessee: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I LOVE books that are written and driven by "character". Here is such a book. The Cooper family has so much depth and the characters are so strongly written that you seem to drift into becoming part of them. Feeling the highs and the lows, the good days and the tragedies. And my, what tragedies pulled this family together and also apart. The author creates a fully rounded world to place her people in. I love the description of the towns and of the Farm in Virginia that Zeke finally gives his life to. Especially liked "meeting" his cousin's Georgia and Osborn. That they were people you feel you could actually drive up the driveway and meet and receive a warm welcome.
The driving force through out this book is built on various types of tragedies. The relationship between Ezekiel's mother Lillian and his Uncle Leroy; The fact that his twin brother Carter suffered from a fever as a young boy that made him "different" and unable to excel in the Cooper's world, along with the harshness of that time period. The tragedy of Carters death and Lillian's illness. The breakup of Zeke's marriage and so forth. All these things happening create a treasure trove of depth in the story. You care about these people and this, to me, is what a good book is all about.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a real good read, April 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
We read it in our local book club and got to meet the author. It is for the most, about the relationship between two brothers and how one comes to terms with how life happens and what these boys do with it
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, just wonderful, December 12, 2011
This review is from: The Lost Saints of Tennessee: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Lost Saints of Tennessee is a wonderfully written novel that is rich in detail and full of pathos. The storyline should be a real downer, but somehow it isn't. Perhaps because the characters are so authentic that I felt, yes, this is just how Zeke and Lillian are. This is a book that made me care about the characters and brought them fully to life. To me, these are the true hallmarks of a great book.

I found the writing to be wonderful. Though the subject matter and issues in the book are definitely deep, the author stays away from sentiment. This book could've turned into a pure melodrama, but it doesn't. It is very rich and deep and character driven. I feel this book falls into the literary fiction category and might not be embraced by readers of mass genre fiction. To skip this book because of that, though, would truly be a shame.

Overall, a great read. I feel this is a book I can highly recommend, perfect for winter reading. I would also recommend it as a book club choice because this is a book that begs to be discussed!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!, February 27, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Lost Saints of Tennessee: A Novel (Hardcover)
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 different points of view, as both characters come to terms with the past, and their own flaws, while trying to wrestle their demons. Ultimately, love and redemption triumph over disappointment and resentment and binds this family together.

Amy Franklin-Willis is such a talented writer, possessing a magic that reminds me of John Irving. Her writing is both poignant and descriptive, and never over done.
In short, I would highly recommend this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Without Sentimentality, February 26, 2012
This review is from: The Lost Saints of Tennessee: A Novel (Hardcover)
Amy Franklin-Willis has set herself the daunting task of drawing out a good old boy from Tennessee, divorced, working at a factory, taciturn, connected only to his old dog and his truck, into the lovable and believable narrator of his own story. It's a story of loss, betrayal, and bitterness in the past, despair in the present, and the possibility of a new chance at life in the future. She does it majestically -- portraying love without sentimentality, grief without mawkishness, hope without artifice. I can't remember when I have connected on such an emotional level to a male character written by a female author. Maybe not since Water for Elephants has a male character been so moving.

Lost Saints in Tennessee is authentic, deep, and true. A heartbreaking story of the realities of loneliness and the power of brotherly love.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, November 30, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Really loved this book. Could be a story that happened to anyone of us with baggage in their lives. Very true to circumstances in life without sugar coating the outcome. Good read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A one dayer, November 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Not many books can get me to read them in one day since becoming an adult. Zeke was interesting enough to do just that.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, March 21, 2012
This review is from: The Lost Saints of Tennessee: A Novel (Hardcover)
It has been several weeks since I finished this novel, but Zeke (and old Tucker!) are with me still. As a reader, I'm all about voice, and I loved Zeke's voice. I was rooting for him from the first to the last page. I loved that he screwed up, that he couldn't connect with his teenage daughter, that he couldn't let go of his brother. What a wonderful novel about love and loss, life-altering decisions, and second chances. Oh, and the writing is so gorgeous, it gets you in the gut. This is definitely one of my top ten reads.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lost Saints, February 25, 2013
By 
sparky (Bessemer, Alabama United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've just finished The Lost Saints of Tennessee. Since I have a rich family heritage in Tennessee, I looked forward to reading this book. It is a good story about a man and his family who struggle to get along. Their lives are complex and difficult, and though I thought the title a bit puzzling, I enjoyed watching the changes occur within this family. Nicely done, Amy!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 14 5 610 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Lost Saints of Tennessee: A Novel
The Lost Saints of Tennessee: A Novel by Amy Franklin-Willis (Hardcover - February 7, 2012)
$25.00 $19.24
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.