The Next Queen of Heaven: A Novel

The Next Queen of Heaven: A Novel

by Gregory Maguire


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“A delight….[A] funny and warmhearted exploration of the sacred and the profane.”
Washington Post

“Reading The Next Queen of Heaven is like hanging on to the back of an out-of-control carnival ride—terrifying, thrilling, a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.”

—Ann Patchett


New York Times bestseller Gregory Maguire—who re-imagined the land of Oz and all its fabled inhabitants in his monumental series, The Wicked Years—brings us The Next Queen of Heaven, a wildly farcical and gloriously imaginative tall tale of faith, Catholic dogma, lust, and questionable miracles on the eve of Y2K. The very bizarre and hilarious goings on in the eccentric town of Thebes make for a delightfully mad reading experience—as The Next Queen of Heaven shows off the acclaimed author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and Mirror Mirror in a brilliant new heavenly light.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061997792
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/05/2010
Pages: 347
Sales rank: 576,830
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Gregory Maguire is the New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister; Lost; Mirror Mirror; and the Wicked Years, a series that includes Wicked, Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men, and Out of Oz. Now a beloved classic, Wicked is the basis for a blockbuster Tony Award–winning Broadway musical. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.


Boston, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

June 9, 1954

Place of Birth:

Albany, New York


B.A., SUNY at Albany, 1976; M.A., Simmons College, 1978; Ph.D., Tufts University, 1990

What People are Saying About This

Ann Patchett

“Reading The Next Queen of Heaven is like hanging on to the back of an out-of-control carnival ride—terrifying, thrilling, a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.”

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The Next Queen of Heaven 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
PennyAnne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If I had clicked that this book was written by the man who had written 'Wicked' I would never have picked it up. Not that it is anything like the usual 'fractured fairytales' Maguire usually writes but it was still poorly written pap. A vaguely entertaining cast of characters but a pointless read. The only part I liked was the relationship that developed between the group of ageing nuns and the three gay men who rehearse in the nunnery - other than that the book has nothing to offer.
citygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Why: Wicked is one of my top twenty favorite books ever, probably, and so I read Maguire every so often.Away from his usual territory Maguire is. No fairy tales or Oz. Just regular people, in regular ol' America, the tiny town of Thebes, NY, upstate, to be precise. I have really mixed feelings about this book. I found it quite funny, the characters, the dialogue, the scenarios Maguire set up. He is jointly satirizing religion and exploring themes of faith, which can be compelling. You know, but it's not. It's just not. He split the view between two characters: fiesty teen slut, Tabitha, and wimpy gay Catholic church music director, Jeremy. Tabitha has all the fun, and all the fun scenes, and nutty, unpredictable thoughts. Jeremy has a friend dying of AIDS, gets no respect, and endures regular emotional torture from the now-married-to-a-woman love of his life. What a drip. Well, I guess the reasons for the mixed feelings are apparent. I can't recommend this book, and I can't not recommend it. I mean, the guy gives great prose. If only he'd used it to send Jeremy flying over a cliff.
LynnB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
LIke so many others, I bought this book because Gregory Maguire wrote it. It is very different from his other books -- no fairy tale recasting here. This is the story of Tabitha Scales, a teenaged delinquent being raised by her three-time divorced mother, Leontina. Tabitha has two 1/2 brothers, each with a different father and both named after TV characters, too: Hogan and Kirk. When Leontina is struck on the head by a statue of the Virgin Mary and begins behaving strangely, Tabitha and her brothers have to look after her and themselves.This is also the story of Jeremy Carr, the gay choir director of the Catholic church, who is coping with unrequited love and with the terminal illness of a close friend.At first, I just loved this book. It had me laughing aloud at the clever dialogue and various anxieties of the characters on the eve of Y2K. Part way through, though, I stopped laughing. In part, the plot became more serious; at the same time, it became less interesting.All in all, I liked the various perspectives presented by the different characters on issues such as religion, faith, sexuality and friendship. I only wish the ending had been as strong as the beginning.
kaelirenee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Normally, Maguire writes about characters in such a way that I feel I know them and if I met them on the streets,I could recognize them. In The Next Queent of Heaven, he only accomplishes this for one or two of his characters. Most of them, I didn't understand, empathize with, or relate to at all. This book seemed to lack his normal wimsy and humor, not to mention his ability to take a story and turn it on its head. It looked like an interesting experiment on his part, but I hope he sticks to his forte from now on.
PirateJenny on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm a big fan of Maguire's fairy tale retellings, so when I won this from LibraryThing I was quite excited. I mean, Maguire on weird religious stuff! But I ended up a bit disappointed. The characters were interesting, the whole idea of a fundie getting hit on the head by a statue of the Virgin Mary when trying to "borrow" milk from the Catholics then ending up speaking in tongues amused me. But something just didn't hit the mark for me. I'm not quite sure what it was. Maybe it's that there were no huge revelations, though even that works very well in the story, since it takes place right before Y2K and is rife with all the nutty theories that abounded and came to nothing. Perhaps it's that in fairy tales, there's an ending that ties up everything with a pretty (if bloody) bow. Not so here. And so I was left feeling a little unfinished.
norabelle414 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is something new for Gregory Maquire, as far as I know. The best way to describe it is an Ann Patchett novel written by Maguire. It is extremely character driven, and it's the characters that actively cause the plot to develop. While I enjoyed many of the characters (Tabitha, Jeremy, and Kirk), I found the others to be flat and lifeless. At the end of the novel I realized I knew nothing about Leontina, despite the fact that she was supposedly the catalyst. I even had trouble telling the pastor and the priest apart at times, which is a big problem in a novel about the differences between two religious groups. But it was nice to read about a community in which the Catholics are not the close-minded extremists. When it comes down to it, the reason I read Gregory Maguire is for the fairy tale retellings. So I'll stick to those.
ShanLizLuv on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have been a great fan of Maguire since Wicked was first published. His first books, especially Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (my favorite), were sharp witty and fun to read. As for The Last Queen of Heaven--To be honest, it took me forever to read. He seems to have moved away from taking well known stories or legends and turning them upside down to make us see the other side of the tale. It was funny at times, but quite dull at others. On top of that (and I'll grant you I have a certain bias about these things), I'm Catholic and resent the heck out of his portrayal of the Church. Just one example: I know many priests and nuns--my sister, to name one-- and not a single one would refuse practice space to a group of gay men, one of whom has Aids, who need to rehearse for an Aids benefit. In fact, I find the suggestion that they would infuriating. So there!
Shuffy2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It is 1999 and Y2K is just around the corner, is all hell breaking loose?Mrs. Leontina Scales, a weekly church-goer, gets hit over the head and is no longer the same person. Jeremy Carr, church choir director, has a lot on his plate to deal with in his personal life. The lives of Leontina's children are also in tormoil- daughter Tabitha, is having man problems while her son Kirk, is confused about his feelings.It is a story about everyday life, something one does not come to expect from Gregory Maguire. As a fan of Wicked and Confessions of an Ugly Step Sister I was waiting for the supernatural or fantasy aspect of the story to kick it, it never arrived. It kept me wondering how it would all come together, especially the story line of Jeremy Carr. It was an good story, not a page turner for me but some may be surprised at the story.
jasmyn9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book has one of the most diverse cast of characters I've ever seen. We start out with the rebellious teenage girl (Tabitha) and her super religious mother (Leontina - a Pentacostal). The two brothers of the family - one an attention starved young man that would do anything to please and the other surprisingly like Tabitha. Next we meet the Catholics (they share a parking lot with the mother's chuch). The way we meet them is rather interesting. Leontina sneaks into the Catholic church one morning to "borrow" some cream and gets knocked out by a falling virgin Mary statue.This is where things really get interesting as Leontina seems to have lost her mind and is left at home with her three children to care for her. But back to the Catholics. My favorite was Jeremy, the gay choir director, and his two friends are trying to find a place to practice for an AIDS benefit concert. Well, the only place they can find is a nunnery. A nunnery full of old retired nuns that ask only for some conversation in exchange for letting the boys used some space there.Somehow Maguire manages to get all these people tied up into the same story line as Christmas is quickly approaching. I won't want to say too much more or a lot of the surprises would be spoiled. An amazing book, that actually has you looking at a few serious issues of the world in a new way without even realized it until you're finished.5/5
Shapatm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Next Queen of Heaven is a departure from the normal Gregory Maguire tale. There are no fairy tales retold or mythic beings. It's life at its messiest and how people deal with it which makes for an interesting journey.
judiparadis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love Gregory Maguire's adult fairy tale stories, but this is something very different. It is a magical fiction story set in upstate New York in the 1990s and follows an incredibly dysfunctional family through its single-mother's descent into craziness after a statue of the Virgin Mary falls on her head. While the events are difficult to believe, and the characters are completely over-the-top, Maguire uses the events to present some interesting and funny bits about the clash of cultures between Evangelicals, gays, Catholics and small town folk trying to live a "normal" life. Maguire nicely captures the awful period in the HIV epidemic before drug therapy reached its current ability to help people lead life with a chronic rather than fatal disease with a good subplot involving three gay men. A good beach read, but I like the usual Maguire stuff better.
zibilee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's 1999 in Thebes, New York. When Leontina Scales is knocked on the head by a falling statue of the Virgin Mary while pilfering from the refrigerator of the Catholic church, things get a little out of control. For Leontina, a single mother who is raising three wayward teenagers, the bump on the noggin is just enough to throw her over the edge. Soon she begins to act very strange indeed, speaking in tongues and reverting back to a simpler time in her life. Meanwhile, Jeremy, the parish choir director, is trying to assemble a group of friends for a shot at the musical big time, but is finding obstacles creeping up along the way. Jeremy is a Catholic of a very different variety, and along with his friends is trying to keep a lid on his often misunderstood lifestyle. Added into the mix is an ancient group of nuns that Jeremy and his singing group befriend and one very antagonistic and foul-mouthed teenage girl, making the little town of Thebes, New York on the cusp of Y2K a very strange place indeed.I've read quite a few of Magiure's books and was eager to get the chance to read this one as well. I thought that Wicked was pretty darn incredible, and though I liked it's sequels a little less ferociously, I think Maguire has a really interesting talent for taking fairy tales and twisting them into thrilling and novel new permutations. So when I started this book, I was a tad confused. This book was really a departure for Maguire, as not only was it a different genre, the inclusion of so much humor was also different for him. While it took me some time to adjust, I ended up really enjoying this book despite my preconceived notions about it.This book was really thought-provoking in the ways it examined the fragile bonds that hold a community together. There was a small town feel to the story and as the book progressed, there was a great feeling of peeking into the microcosm of small town America. Part of the story was about two opposing churches, and while I wouldn't call it a rivalry exactly, there were some definite undercurrents of us versus them that were gradually hurdled as the narrative moved forward. Both church leaders had strong ties to the community, albeit in very different ways, and both of them found themselves coming to Leontina's aid in some pretty surprising ways. One of the things I found most interesting was the tentative relationship that began to develop between Jeremy's group and the nuns. They were as different as different could be but they seemed to find common ground to put aside the bonds of convention and be supportive of one another in a few unexpected and touching demonstrations of unity.I liked that Maguire found the humor in religion and its trappings without becoming derisive and mocking. Yes, the churches had their problems, and yes, there was a lot to poke fun at, but Maguire handled his subjects with a great deal of respect. A lot of the religious stereotypes were represented in relief but there wasn't a feeling of moral judgement hanging over the story like a pall. There was a certain amount of reverence attached to these things and Maguire's attitude towards it all was mildly surprising and pleasing. In my opinion, it's hard to write about religion and spirituality without becoming either too fawning or too dismissive, but Maguire seems to hit the right note, making his characters lovable but flawed.Though this was a rather comedic book, there were a lot of more somber and reflective aspects to the story, particularly the sections dealing with spiritual confusion and the plight of gay individuals afflicted with disease. The way Maguire mixed these mediums was done with a grace and compassion that I haven't seen in his other writing. These sections weren't depressing or maudlin but rather more matter-of-fact and thoughtful. I'm always surprised when a favorite author manages to tread sensitive new ground with aplomb and was glad to see that Maguire didn't try to cheapen the emotion of his story b
Moriquen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read some good things about mr. Maguire and he has been recommended to me a couple of times, but I don't really see what is so great about him. I was really irritated with the constant inane chatter the characters keep indulging in. It seems as if they are uncapable of stringing together a coherent sentence of more than five words and when they do it is just to say very little interresting about nothing at all. The actions all seem quite random and whatever is supposed to be so very funny completely escapes me. Mind you, there are some bits I smiled at a little, but it was never a terrifying, thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime adventure as the book cover promised. I was disappointed to say the least. I tried and failed, guess we weren't meant to be!
Oryan685 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of Gregory Maguire's work and have read virtually everything he has written and was consequently very excited to receive this as an ARC. At first I was a little thrown off because this book is not what I expected and is quite a bit different from his other books like Wicked where he takes a fairy tale and changes it into something very different. But as I got into it I was pleased to see that The Next Queen of Heaven has the same wry sense of humor that kept me laughing out loud and the same complex and inviting characters that I love from all of his other books. By turns laugh out loud funny and unexpectedly moving, The Next Queen of Heaven was delightful to read and further proof that Maguire is a master of his craft.
JackieBlem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is very interesting book, and very different from his other books. This time there is no re-writing a fairy tale--it's straight up fiction. What IS the same is his deft, and often humorous, crafting of his characters and the situations they find themselves in. The story is kick started by Leotina Scales, single mother of 3 variously troubled teenagers, getting knocked out by a teetering statue of the Virgin Mary in the basement of a Catholic Church--in which she is NOT a member. When she wakes up, she's definitely a different person, and the rest of the book is pretty much how members of her family, two churches, and others in town go about dealing with the change along with their own problems. Religious rivalries, lechery, closeted homosexuality, AIDS, teen pregnancy, ancient cloistered nuns and music are all part of the deal in very amusing way. Yet, while entertaining, there is a serious underlying theme of finding yourself and being true to that self. It's rather a busy read with so many characters doing so many things, but a very enjoyable one.
bookwormygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gregory Maguire is known for his retelling of children's stories (i.e. The Wizard of Oz, The Little Match Girl, etc.) This is the first of his novels that I see that he has come up with a purely fictional story. I must confess that I did have some trouble with the amount of characters in this novel and I found myself more than once trying to get a grip on what was happening because I had one of the characters mistaken. It did get a little easier to read after a while, especially once I got the characters in the right order. And I do have to say that there were many instances where I found myself laughing out loud. I couldn't help it - there were just so many things going on and the more I thought of them, the funnier I found the whole thing to be. It was silly. The characters were over the top and the situations they found themselves in were unbelievable. There's a little bit of everything in this book - religion, sexuality, HIV, two feuding churches, teen pregnancy, musicians, even elderly nuns. It was pure mayhem! With all the crazy and zany antics throughout, there was also the more serious tone of finding and believing in oneself. I also really enjoyed that the book takes place around Christmas - and I think Mr. Maguire did a great job in capturing the Christmas spirit - in his own quirky way. I can't say that I loved this book, but I can definitely appreciate it. I found it too busy for my tastes and I felt that the ending lacked a little. I would have liked more closure for some of the characters. All in all, I can't say this is a book for everyone but I can see where many would still enjoy it.
Sovranty on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sad and hilarious. Ignorant and intelligent. A true look in the mirror for today's myth believers and skeptics alike. Successfully, Gregory Maguire has managed to write of the flip side(s), the less acknowledged side, of a common story - the lives of individual people. Instead of focusing on the alternative view of a fairy tale, Maguire peers into the world of the living, telling 'human tales', detailing the variable impacts one of the modern world's most prevalent tales has on its characters and their emotional interaction, or lack thereof, with one another.This story is different from Maguire's previous novels, and yet still very much the same.
porch_reader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm a fan of Gregory Maguire's books. I enjoy his alternative views of stories like the Wizard of Oz, Snow White, or Cinderella. But this book is quite a bit different than the others that I've read. In The Next Queen of Heaven, Maguire tells the story of the residents of the small town of Thebes, NY in the final months of 1999. Two storylines are woven together. Teenager Tabitha Scales struggles to care for her mother after she is hit on the head by a falling statue in the Catholic Church, while the Catholic choir director Jeremy Carr prepares for Christmas and cares for his friend Sean who has AIDS. Although this is a book about real people, not wicked queens or wizards, the town of Thebes is anything but ordinary. For the most part, I enjoyed this book. The main characters, Tabitha and Jeremy, are flawed and interesting. The supporting cast, especially the nuns, add depth and sometimes humor to the book. But I was never quite certain what to think of the story. Maguire creates a story that blends real life with some out-of-the-ordinary events that kept me feeling a bit off balance. At times, I was expecting some supernatural event to bring the book to the end, but the ending was surprising and somehow fitting. I'm glad that I read this one, but I guardedly recommend it. I think it is one of those books that will delight some and frustrate others.
Nextian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In "The Next Queen of Heaven", Gregory Maguire leaves behind the twisted fairy tales that we all know and love him for and embraces a real world fiction which he makes fantastic without any fantasy. Maguire brings to life the joys and problems related to living in small town America. His characters are well-rounded and complete and totally believable. There's humor mixed with just the right amount of drama (or vice-versa if you prefer). And it all leads up to a crazy Christmas Eve service that will never be forgotten. My only problem with the book it is that it ended just a little too soon. The stories of Jeremy and Tabitha were dealt with perfectly; just the right amount of closure while leaving the horizon wide open. I could have used a little more time spent with Mrs. Scales and Hogan at the end though. Overall I though the book was amazing. Maguire has certainly shown that he is more than just a one-trick pony (not that it was ever much in doubt) by stepping away from his normal niche and exploring other areas. Definitely a worth-while read.
fyrefly98 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: A few days before Halloween of 1999, Mrs. Leotina Scales sneaks into the basement of the Catholic church of Thebes, New York (to steal milk for the coffee of the Radical Radiant Pentecostals, next door). While down there, she gets bonked in the head by a statue of the virgin Mary, and begins speaking in tongues. This is too much for her foul-mouthed, dropout, troublemaker daughter Tabitha to deal with, especially since she's got her own problems to deal with: useless brothers, absent fathers, and a boyfriend who's avoiding her and who town gossip says is engaged to someone else. But things are not much brighter for the Catholics of Thebes... Jeremy Carr, the choir director of the church, is desperately trying to get his side project - a gay men's chorus - into shape for an audition in New York City that might represent his last hope of breaking out of the orbit of his only ex-boyfriend (who is now happily married with kids). But the singing isn't going so well either, since one of the members is HIV-positive and is deteriorating quickly, plus their options for rehearsal space have been reduced to the convent of the aging Sisters of the Sorrowful Mysteries. Christmas is coming, as is Y2K, but its unclear whether the citizens of Thebes are in for Yultide miracles or millennial disasters.Review: For starters, I'd like to give credit where credit's due: bravo for Gregory Maguire for stretching his wings a bit. The Next Queen of Heaven is *very* different from his other books - no retold fairy tales or historical fiction settings here. I imagine that so radical of a departure from an author who is so well established in his own particular sub-genre can't be easy, and I appreciate that Maguire was willing to take that leap.I had a bit of a hard time telling whether or not he hit the mark, however. I'm not sure whether the fault was mine, the book's marketing, or the novel itself (or some combination thereof, most likely), but I spent most of my time reading this book with a severe case of cognitive dissonance. The wacky small-town characters in mildly contrived situations, the religious elements, the just-before-Christmas setting, and the book-jacket blurb describing it as "frantic, funny, and farcical" were all making me expect Christopher Moore's The Stupidest Angel. Only, when I would sit down to read, what I got was more like The Stupidest Angel with all of the funny bits removed and replaced with sadness and depressive ennui. I kept waiting for the farcical part to start, and instead, I got a pastor with inappropriate feelings towards a teen girl, and a gay man dying of AIDS. Whee.I would write this all off as a case of mismatched expectations, but it seems like the book itself thinks its funnier than it is. There are some genuinely funny lines, and some scenes (particularly the ending) that actually feel like effective farce. The problem is, the book seems like it has to work too hard to achieve these bright bits, and they don't do enough to dispel the bleakness that clings to the rest of the story. Which is not to say that the book is bad just because it's bleak - not at all; I like a good bleak book now and again - but don't sell yourself as a farce if that's not really your strong suit, y'know?And the thing is, The Next Queen of Heaven does a lot of things right. The parts where Maguire drops the farce angle and gives himself unabashedly to the pathos of the situation felt true and moving. The plot's a little rambling and somewhat haphazard, but he makes the disparate pieces work together well, and even come together in the end. The character building was impressive - while I didn't really like any of the characters much, they still felt like multidimensional individuals. Maguire's setting is equally well-done; I've lived in upstate New York, and he captured it perfectly. The writing style is light but substantial, and is the one thing that identifies this
yoda1489 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have tried countless times to finish this book, but alas I cannot. Every time I start becoming invested in the characters the plot changes and I am left feeling like the author does not care. There also seems to be several different stories taking place at the same time. I think if the author had stuck with Mrs. Scales being injured and her childrens attempt to care for her, and not adding adding the side story of Jeremy Carr, the book would flow smoother and be an easier read.
TheLostEntwife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gregory Maguire is best known for his books centering around the Wicked story, and while I¿m a huge fan of the Broadway show, the book just didn¿t do it for me.I¿ve read a few more of Maguire¿s books along the way and finished each one with a feeling of confusion ¿ I just didn¿t get it. I didn¿t get the humor, the satire, the subtle jokes everyone else is apparently getting. So in an attempt to understand what exactly I didn¿t ¿get¿ about this book let me break it down into sections.Characters: The characters in The Next Queen of Heaven were easy to relate to. Tabitha and Jeremy¿s voices were the loudest and it was easy to fall in to their lives and to figure out how the events unfolding were impacting them. I admit, I¿m a bit of a prudish reader when it comes to language (mostly because I like to recommend clean-language novels, and it makes me cringe to read some really harsh words at the start of a book) and The Next Queen of Heaven is definitely not a book if you have a hard time getting past some of the more crude language out there. Tabitha has just about the most foul mouth I¿ve read from a character lately and, considering some of the books I¿ve read in the last month, that¿s really saying something. Still, I liked the characters ¿ aside from the language issue, and I found myself rooting for them and feeling their pain and struggles. So it wasn¿t the characters that brought the story down for me.Plot: I think this may be where everything falls apart. The plot felt like it began to fall apart about half-way through. I started to lose track of which nun was which, and¿ I¿m still trying to understand why certain events took place in the Catholic church toward the end of the story (but that may be because I¿m not Catholic?). Because the plot had me confused, some events that should have triggered an emotional response from me, ended up not triggering much at all.Setting: The setting was fine. I grew up in a town much like the one in this book, so it was easy for me to get a feel for the area and the people.Religion: This is, I think, one of the things that made me the most uncomfortable. Although I enjoyed reading Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, I had a difficult time with the irreverence of it, and ¿ in much the same manner ¿ I felt uncomfortable reading parts of this book as well. I also didn¿t like the movie Dogma, but ¿ many folks do and to each their own. I think I feel safe in saying if you enjoyed Dogma or Good Omens, then this is probably a book that you¿ll enjoy as well.So I guess it comes down to the fact that I just felt confusion with the plotline. Everything else was fine and I read the book quickly, so it wasn¿t a difficult read. Another Maguire checked off the list ¿ I¿m sure I¿ll find one someday that I¿ll fall in love with!
jbaker614 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think my 3-star rating of this book may be a bit generous as I sit down to write this review. I had to force myself to finish reading this story mostly out of curiosity as to how it would end. And, now that I am finished, admitedly, I find myself asking, "So what?"A collection of wacky characters and their inter-related life stories are the backdrop of the storyline that includes a three-time divorced mother (Mrs. Leontina Scales) who is a member of the 'Cliffs of Zion Radical Radiant Pentecostal Church' and her 3 dysfunctional children (Tabitha, Hogan and Kirk), her pastor (Pastor Jakob Huyck) who develops a crush on Tabitha, a choir director (Jeremy) in the adjoining Catholic Church (Our Lady of Something or Other) and his gay friends Sean and Marty. Jeremy has never gotten over his love for Willem, who is now married with the perfect family. Jeremy is also the twinkle in the eye of Kirk, the youngest of Mrs. Scales' three children.And, there are the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mysteries, (Mother Clare du Plessix, Sister Alice Coyne, Sister Maria Goretti, Sister Jeanne d'Arc, Sister Felicity, Sister Perpetua, Sister Clothilde, Sister Magdalene). I have to admit the Sisters were my favorite characters. They were smart, funny, witty and sincere.One of the more interesting passages for me came from Mother Clare when she was speaking to Jeremy and his friends:"The whole notion of the cloister still espcaes you, doesn't it? At least one of the many reasons one enters is not to escape the world because it is too painful, but because it is too beautiful to bear."
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