Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Story Time . . . with Lisa Samson

I have a book, sitting ready and waiting for me to read. It's right beside me. Cover taunting me with its promise. The title--Resurrection in May. The author--Lisa Samson.

It's gonna be good. Stellar. Fabulantastic. I know this, because (a) it's by Lisa Samson and (b) my mother's already read it and said it was every inch as good as The Passion of Mary-Margaret, which ranks as one of the Best Ever Books I've read.

I so want to read this. Want to tell y'all how awesome it is. But since it's unlikely I'll be into it enough by Tuesday morning to speak with any knowledge about it (I'm typing this on Monday afternoon) I'm instead going to make sure each and every one of you know exactly how spectacular an author Lisa Samson is.

I was hooked when I read the blurb of The Passion of Mary-Margaret, the first book I'd seen by this author, though certainly not her first book. And the book itself--oh my. I'm putting my review below, but first--oh my.

It's with me still, over a year after I first read it. It comes up nearly every time I talk to one of my friends who also read it. My mother claims no book has ever moved her, touched her on a level like this one. It's that amazing. So yes, I'm itching, breath bated, to pick up Resurrection in May, and you can bet your buttons I'll be telling you all about it next week. For now, I give you my official review of The Passion of Mary-Margaret, as posted at the Christian Review of Books.


Mary-Margaret Fischer was born in disgrace and spent a lot of years haunted by it. More or less raised in a convent school, she knew all her life that she’d follow in her mother’s footsteps and enter the religious order. That determination, her soul-deep longing to dedicate herself to Christ, was always what stood between her and Jude Keller, the lighthouse keeper’s son. He was a wild boy, always seeking out trouble . . . and when he left their hometown on the Eastern Shore and headed for Baltimore, he found it in spades.

Though apart for years as Mary-Margaret follows her calling and Jude follows his lusts, when she sees him again, her heart cries out at his pain. Jude has done things that horrify her, has walked a path she’d rather turn her eyes away from . . . so why is Jesus telling her to make him her life’s work? He wouldn’t seriously ask her to give up her dreams to follow Him for the sake of this broken, diseased man . . . would He?

The Passion of Mary-Margaret is a book that will shake you to your core. Written as a memoir of an aging religious sister, it combines Mary-Margaret’s present story with a circuitous, shocking past. Visions of Jesus, a quest for the father that had raped her mother, trouble from the KKK . . . these elements and more weave a story that will open your eyes and burrow deep into your heart.

It took me a few chapters to get into the way the story’s told, but once the present events started getting interesting, I stopped wanting to flip to the parts that were memory and read both parts with equal intrigue. I picked up this book because it’s not very often you see a book in the Christian market with Catholics—Catholic religious sisters, no less—as the main characters, and I wanted to see how Lisa Samson pulled it off. The answer? Masterfully written, fully involving, and one of the richest, most complex books I’ve ever read. It kept me up at night and redefined my thinking, but what’s more, it helped me better understand my own relationship with Christ.

The Passion of Mary-Margaret is a book to be talked about, and Lisa Samson is an author to follow.


  1. I can't wait to read Samson's newest either. She and Mary DeMuth are my "writing heroes" I think. I think Songbird was my favorite Samson title, though.

  2. The only book I've read of Lisa Samson's was Quaker Summer, which was so well-written that (as a writer) it took me out of the story. By which I mean I kept looking at stuff going, "That's such a cool way to describe that! Oh, what a cool dialogue technique!" Etc.

    I want to read her YA stuff too but just haven't gotten around to it.

  3. Love, love, love Lisa Samson. her writing is so honest and she isn't afraid to take risks. ahhh, love her. Thanks!