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Backseat Saints    by Joshilyn Jackson order for
Backseat Saints
by Joshilyn Jackson
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD
* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Rose Mae Lolly grew up in an abusive home. She would hide under the bed and listen to her parents fighting and her mother slamming into the wall. When Rose Mae was only eight years old, her mother kissed her goodbye and never returned. Soon her father started taking his rage and anger out on Rose Mae. Eventually she left Fruition, Alabama, working her way to Texas, where she met and married Thom Grandee. She called herself Ro, wanting to shed the skin of Rose Mae. Ro wanted to be the perfect wife, nothing like her mother, but Thom was just like her father, leaving her bruised and broken.

One day at the local airport, Ro meets with a gypsy and has her tarot cards read. She is told that she will have to kill her husband before he kills her. Ro thinks the gypsy looks something like her mother, but she hasn't seen her in over twenty years. Skilled with a gun, Ro sets out to kill Thom, but it turns out to be a botched attempt that actually draws them closer together. For a while Ro feels that she can have some normalcy in her life, but Thom soon returns to his old ways.

Hoping to stop the pain, Ro remembers an old boyfriend, Jim Beverly, who wanted to stop her father from beating her when she was young. She thinks he might kill Thom for her and sets out on a cross country chase to find him, only to be drawn deeper into secrets from her past. Ro ends up back in Fruition to see her father and eventually heads to California where she is reunited with her mother. Ro soon learns how far her mother will go to right a wrong from the past.

Backseat Saints is a riveting read, but at times very emotional. Rose Mae is strong and determined and you will cheer for her until the dramatic conclusion. This is Jackson at her best.

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