Blanche’s Book Club: ‘Saint X’.

Coming at you from day 25 of Quarantine. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d keep counting the days of being stuck inside, but also I (like many others) didn’t expect to be here quite this long.

I’m trying not to think about the amount of time we might be here and am trying to just stay positive, but mostly importantly, stay busy. I am somehow not freaking out over my lost income last week. I have been applying to gigs and even got a small job yesterday!

I also have a new project I’ve been working on that I’ll be revealing here on Friday — it’s one you might be interested in!

Reading has also been a great way for me to keep busy and stay off social media, and the book I’m sharing today is a real goodie: “Saint X” by Alexis Schaitkin. Here’s the scoop:

So official.

Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men–employees at the resort–are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.

Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth–not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.

As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.

For readers of Emma Cline’s The Girls and Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies, Saint X is a flawlessly drawn and deeply moving story that culminates in an emotionally powerful ending.

My favorite bookstore, The Bookshelf in Thomasville, Georgia, hosts a seasonal “Literary Lunch” for those who live in the area, but also for those of us that do not (hosted on YouTube).

The store owner, Annie, shares books that are coming out and also provides her recommendations. For the winter lunch back in January, she shared “Saint X” and I was like HMMM…sounds a lot like a true crime cases a lot of us followed. I knew I had to check it out.

I’m so glad I did because I really devoured this one. It starts off much like crimes we’ve heard off, but wow does it have some twists. I won’t give anything away, but there were a few times when my jaw was hanging open and I was saying “Whooooaaaaaaa” in my apartment to no one but kitty Blanche.

And I would continue to surveil Clive, watching and waiting for even the smallest detail, the tiniest slip of evidence that might point me toward the truth about the kind of man he was and the role he might have played in my sister’s death. what this evidence might look like I didn’t know, but I had to believe that a person couldn’t take a life and simply melt back into the human crowd — such an act must leave traces, scars and if I was vigilant, if I could attune myself to this man, I would find them.

This is MOST-DEFINITELY a book for true crime lovers, and I can assure you, it’s not one you’ll toss aside. This book really made me think. I don’t want to get into details, but it really forced me to look back at a few instances in my life and how I handled those and where my mind went.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Most Likely” by Sarah Watson.

I hope you all are staying healthy and sane!

For more book recommendations, be sure to subscribe to the blog (look to the right) and follow me on Goodreads @thebitterlemon – where I share more of my book picks. Need help with your blog? I can help with all of your digital marketing efforts – just let me know!

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