All Saints by Liam Callanan

Cover Image

From the back of the book: By life’s midpoint Emily has seen three husbands, dozens of friends, and hundreds of students come and go. And now her classroom, long her refuge is proving to be anything but. Though her popular, occasionally irreverent church history course is rich with stories of long-dead saints, Emily uneasily discovers that it’s her own tumultuous life that fascinates certain students most. She in turn finds herself drawn into their world, their secrets, and the fateful choices they make.
Emily is a middle-aged theology teacher at a Catholic high school situated on the beach at Newport Beach, CA (how it came to be a beachfront school is explained). The author portrays a witty (mostly sarcastic) and seemingly caring woman who is unable to fully commit to those who are in her life. Her backstory is supplied throughout the book. By the end, I wanted to wring her neck (and call the authorities). She does things she knows are inappropriate, wrong. She grapples with basic issues that confront many adults – to one degree or another. Most of her actions disappointed me.

There is one character whose full story I’d really like to know. Martin is a priest at the school and a friend to Emily. I liked him.

I think All Saints would be a good book club selection.