The Blessed by Tonya Hurley
Summary: Agnes, Cecilia, and Lucy have all been chosen. While spending the evening in a hospital, each girl is given a bracelet with a symbol adorning the chain. When the girls eventually wind up at an old church during a storm, they’re met by Sebastian, a guy who claims to be a saint—and who claims the girls are, too.
My thoughts: The Blessed is interesting in that for a majority of the book, you truly can’t tell whether the girls are actually divinely chosen, or if they’ve just been lured in by a crazy young man. I loved this uncertainty, as it made for a much more suspenseful read. The Blessed is a strange story, through and through, but its off-the-wall concept makes it one that just can’t be missed.
Tonya Hurley’s writing is similarly eccentric, with sharp sentences and lyrical inserts about the girls’ dreams and visions. While some may not enjoy this style, I found it to match the novel itself quite perfectly: the girls live choppy lives, bouncing from one place to the next without much purpose, and the writing helps bolster this. While Hurley’s writing might make for a slower read, it’s still enjoyable.
The individual characters’ stories are where The Blessed really dips into strange territory. Yet it’s this strangeness that keeps us reading: however unbelievable the girls’ lifestyles, their raw humanity leaks through, allowing us to relate, even just a little, to them. It might be difficult to cheer on such a rag-tag team of desperate souls, but somehow by the end of the book, we do.
I’ve used the words ‘strange’ and ‘eccentric’ in this review quite a bit, and I’d like to note that I use them in the best way. The Blessed is a book unlike any other, and its quirkiness is definitely a selling factor (although it could equally be a deterrent—I could see people having very opposite opinions of this book). If you’re looking to get a little bit out of your comfort zone, try The Blessed. It will definitely surprise you.
For those who like: books about cults, Catholic history, the NYC lifestyle
Find the author at TonyaHurley.com.
Comment question: What would you do if a random (yet well-spoken) dude told you he was a saint?