Book #48

The Saint of Lost Things by Tish Delaney


There was a time when Lindy Morris escaped to London and walked along the Thames in the moonlight. When life was full and exciting.

Decades later, Lindy lives back with her Auntie Bell on the edge: on the edge of Donegal and on the edge of Granda Morris's land. Granda Morris is a complicated man, a farmer who wanted sons but got two daughters: Auntie Bell and Lindy's mother, who disappeared long ago.

Now, Lindy and Bell live the smallest of lives, in a cottage filled with unfulfilled dreams. But when the secrets they have kept for thirty years emerge, everything is rewritten. Will Lindy grasp who she is again?

After reading Delaney’s Before My Actual Heart Breaks, I considered her marvel. The raw emotion and trauma she depicted was something I remembered and carried with me for a while. Her evocative insight into the expectations set upon those born into devout Northern Irish families was acute, and I was looking forward to seeing what she’d bring forth next.

The Saint of Lost Things brings us back to all of these things, and definitely not with a softer hand. Lindy, born out of wedlock, lives with her aunt on her grandfather’s farm. He builds them a home at the furthest possible point from his own, as women cannot be trusted, will cause irritation, and are, as we will see, an embarrassment to him.

Throughout the novel we navigate Lindy’s complex family dynamic, and so very slowly, at the speed of a delectable dribble, we come to understand the reason for the varying emotions amongst them. Complex probably isn’t enough of a word - there are so many layers of historical regret, pain, guilt and hatred to work through - Lindy has been condemned her entire life.

Delaney’s characters have been perfectly carved. Entirely flawed, completely relatable, and utterly utterly recognisable, they augment the plot with incredible life. Whilst they behave in predictable ways based on how we’ve come to view them, we also see them take action entirely beyond anything we expected. It’s just life; it’s just people. I adored them all for their realities.

And despite the almost unrelenting bleakness and misery Delaney presents us with here, there is real joy in these pages. As Lindy narrates the turmoils of her life, we see a witty and sarcastic woman before us. Yes, she’s imprisoned in a life she didn’t choose, but by god she makes us love her for her story.

Another triumph here to solidify my reckoning that Delaney is a master at her craft. Everything delicately placed, everything perfectly true. I adored this book.