Wednesday, April 6, 2022

The Patron Saint of Second Chances

The Patron Saint of Second Chances by Christine Simon
4/12/22; 304 pages
Atria Books

The Patron Saint of Second Chances by Christine Simon is a very highly recommended heartwarming and humorous story about the lengths one man will go to save his town.

Signor Giovannino Speranza, the owner of a vacuum cleaner repair shop and hotelier, is the self-appointed mayor of Prometto, Italy (population 212) and he has a huge problem. The town has failed the pipe inspection by the water commission and has two months to come up with 70,000 euros to repair the pipes or water will be shut off to the town and everyone will have to move out. People aren't even paying their property taxes, so how can raise this impossible sum? In hopes of increasing tourism, Speranza decides to spread a harmless rumor the movie star Dante Rinaldi will be filming his next project nearby. How could he know that the entire town would embrace the idea and want to have a part in the film? 

Maestro, the local butcher, donates a large sum of money toward the project if some of his fifteen sons can have a part, people all over town want a part in it, and suddenly Speranza and his assistant Smilzo have to actually plan to make a movie. Smilzo writes a screen play, they hold auditions, cast parts, and begin filming. As one mishap and set-back after another occurs, people begin to question when Dante Rinaldi is going to show up.

I absolutely apologetically love and adore this farcical, entertaining, charming, engaging, and laugh-out-loud funny debut novel. Sure it is silly and over-the-top at times as so many absurd and outlandish things occur. It reminded me of an older comedic, campy movie made just for the laughs - and I did laugh, snort, and smile my way through The Patron Saint of Second Chances. It is a witty novel full of quirky characters set in a charming small town where everyone knows everyone else and all their problems and issues.

As one mishap after another occurs and Speranza needs to try to raise more money to save his town, I was rooting for him the whole time. Sure, it might have been easier to just tell his fellow citizens what was going on, but his determination to save them from the worry and upcoming displacement is commendable. Admittedly, there isn't a lot of character development and many deep, thoughtful moments, but it does showcase a deep love for a community and perseverance in the face of hardship while being wildly entertaining. 

This is a great choice for those times when you simply need an entertaining, feel-good novel to read for escapism and relaxation.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster.

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