Saints In Limbo

Fiction - Fantasy - General
345 Pages
Reviewed on 08/07/2009
Buy on Amazon

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

Our unlikely heroine is Velma.  She is mourning the recent death of her husband.  She has agoraphobia.  She will leave her home only when she is low on supplies.  On her birthday a stranger gives her a special rock.  The purpose of the rock is to allow her relive portions of her past.  She can no chose which memories she will relive and not all memories are pleasant.   Through reliving her memories, Velma discovers hope and courage for her life has meaning.

An evil wants possession of her gift.

Saints in Limbo is not your typical story.  I’m not sure what genre it is.  Part fantasy, part love story, part horror…  River Jordan does not ease into the story line.  She jumps in with both feet.  Her style is almost prose.  Her words have a rhyme to them.  Each character comes to life on the page.  This book will leave you pondering the message long after you’ve closed its cover.


River's writing is like a melody that you find yourself humming along to. Her words are brushstrokes that paint a picture so vivid that you know that place exists somewhere, that the characters are real people, and you've just been visiting them. Each character is a person in his or her own right, not just 2 dimensional props to help the story along. Each has strengths and weaknesses, flaws and redemptions.
"Saints in Limbo" is River Jordan's best yet out of truly great works. The main character, Velma, is a strong, steadfast old woman who seems a very unlikely person for a main character. She is mourning a recently lost husband, sorrowful over a seemingly lost son, and given up on a future that she will never have. Her own story seems to be winding down to it's end until a stranger gives her a gift that helps her relive it all again.
As her own story unfolds for her the second time, we are allowed to glimpse a life of quiet beauty and simple, strong love with roots so deep that the long years and even death can't shake them.
A something is out to steal her gift, a stranger is on her way home, mysteries unfold and people aren't everything they seem.
In this book you're invited to lay aside your prejudices and snap judgments, because people are just people and yet so much more. This is a story you'll want to read twice.

Carole Wilfong

Saints in Limbo is a wonderful journey into a fading past. River Jordan's characters are so vividly described that you feel you have known these people, and have interacted with them personally. She has a way of drawing you into her stories, so much so, that you not only do not want to put the book down, but don't want the story to end. Mystery runs through the pages and holds you to the end. Thank you River for another wonderful trip !

Diana B. Revell

If you'll just think about it, you KNOW these people - especially if you've grown up anywhere close to what's called The South. And when you rest in this beautiful writing, you'll realize that you know a little of each one in yourownself.

River Jordan managed to scare the daylights out of me, comfort me with warmth and light, bring me some hope and finish me off with joy - What else could I ask for from a story?

Dive in... Find that "Spirit" actually comes by the ordinary - a rock, a scraggly apparition, a best friend's loyalty, or the love of a son.

SAINTS IN LIMBO was my first River Jordan book...I'm hooked!

Tracey R. Baham

River Jordan's Saints in Limbo is a mystical story of a woman who thinks her life is over. She lost her husband a year ago, she has no relationship with her son, and she is afraid to leave her own yard.
Like the threads that tie her to her porch, Velma True's live unravels to reveal much more than she ever expected. New relationships, new hope.
This is truly a book you will be glad you read.

Marilyn Samec

Velma True has suffered the loss of her beloved husband, companion and friend and had difficulty coping with reality. So difficult that after her journey to the mailbox at the end of the drive where she receives the official death certificate she is overcome with anxiety about the future and can only leave her front porch if she stays connected. Her solution is to tie ribbons to the front porch railing to hold onto. Strangely she can leave the yard via the back door and travel to the back door of the local grocery store.

Caught in the web between past and future, Velma is given a great gift from a stranger that allows her to not only see the past but actually re-experience it. What would you do with such a gift? Velma in her quiet reflective way keeps all this hidden in her heart until little bits come out around her best friend Sarah, her son Rudy and a strange young girl who travels to Echo , Florida.

River Jordan draws you into another space and time from the first sentence and you know you have encountered some new friends.

V. Campbell

SAINTS IN LIMBO is at once both simple and complex. I liked each of the characters individually, and they came together for a wonderfully told tale of the shadow world of wishes and dreams. Not all wishes should come true, and some dreams are just too true. It is the blessing of learning what to wish for that is bestowed upon Velma True and her family and friends. There is a very deep sweetness in the remembered love between Velma and her late husband, Joe. Rudy, their son, loves and respects his mother and the memory of his father. However, Rudy was always too smart, charming and good-looking for his own good. Velma has never doubted that eventually he would come into his own, and then the world would see him as she did. She has always seen him with the eyes and heart of a mother, as aware of his quirks and faults as well as the good person in his soul. On her birthday, Velma receives a special, mystical gift from a stranger. This gift is blessing which comes with a powerful underlying message which touches all the characters. They each must learn what has real value, and they must fight to protect each other and hold on to what is most dear to their hearts.

Lorraine Larose

I just read all the reviews and there isn't too much to add to describe this wonderful story. I couldn't put the book down after I started reading it. It's an awesome read. Very enjoyable story.

Josie Jean

River Jordan has created a beautifully descriptive story of life, love and hope for the future. Widowed Velma True's fears and doubts render it impossible for her to leave her homestead. On her birthday, Velma wishes she could just do her life all over again. A mysterious stranger gifts her with a magical rock, which has the ability to take her deep into her cherished memories. Ms. Jordan brilliantly entwines the destinies of each of the people in Velma's life, as they share in her steps toward conquering her fears. With its mesmerizing, lyrical diction, I found myself completely captivated...and wishing the story didn't have to end. I truly loved this book because I could empathize with Velma's emotional pain. You must read this enthralling novel and share it with others!

Lynn Henriksen

River Jordan has an amazing way of pulling you in and making you believe mysterious, other-worldly `things' in Saints in Limbo, and I don't quite know how she does it. (But then that's the genius of her writing.) I think it sneaks up on you while you're sleeping, while her captivating characters are playing their tunes and haunting your dreams. Her story is compellingly melodic and a deep look into the heart and soul of human relationships - well, maybe even some not so human...

"Strange what age does to a person. Sets him free of every regular demand and then turns right around and ties him down again in fear." These words by Jordan are what this book exemplifies, and as we, readers, emerge ourselves in this tale as members of an extended family in Echo, Florida, we all struggle with this perplexing notion. River coaxes us to come `round, too, as she nudges her characters toward enlightenment.

Now who would believe Velma, an old southern woman, can't venture beyond the length of the colored strings she's tied to her front porch? But you begin to realize these strings are the ties that bind, her memories. Then Jordan wants you to believe in the magical beauty of transformation as the simple, smooth rock Velma was given by a strange, shape-shifting fellow, who has inexplicable way of appearing out of nowhere and disappearing into thin air at will, glows and pulsates toward self-discovery for everyone in her riveting story...And you do believe. And we know the spirit is set free when we stop hiding from the truth and allowing fear to overwhelm us.

Early on, Velma's son Rudy, who loves to love women and hasn't done much more than that with his life, and ultimately realizes he's never given his mother much supportive thought, says, "Can't bury the past, Mama. It'll just keep pushing its way to the surface. You know that. And whatever those things are - scouts, you call `em - well, they'll just come around trying to dig it up." In the end, Rudy, understands the veracity of his own words as he teeters between known and unknown spaces and places. And so do we.

Saints in Limbo should be made into a movie. It's heaven and hell, choice and redemption, growth and stagnation, fear and acceptance, and faith and denial all rolled into one heck of a lyrical ride through the enigmatic power of hope and love, where you're transported to another place, not another time. This story is for all time.

Andrea Benton

River Jordan's new book " Saints in Limbo" cast a spell on the reader that can not be broken until you read the entire book. A must read for all who enjoy a wonderful weaving of a family story with mystical overtones. The main character ,Velma True and her tomcat Tom True are in for the adventure of a lifetime. If you allow you will be swept up in the adventure too. Thanks River for a wonderful read.

Barbara Thomason

I fell in love with the writing style of River Jordan reading The Gin Girl. I became an avid fan after Messenger on Magnolia Street. In Saints in Limbo, Jordan has taken her gift for storytelling to a whole new level. I don't know what's coming next, but if it's River Jordan, I'm buying it.

Everyone knows someone in Saints in Limbo. Or maybe you ARE someone in Saints. Either way it's a must read.

Heather Goodman

Saints in Limbo by River Jordan is not quite fantasy, though it has magical realism in the way of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It's not quite horror, though there are some hide-under-the-cover moments. It's probably closest to Southern Goth.

The beginning drew me in with poetic prose. Phrases like "Perhaps it was a sense of things being torn out of their place, of the future being snapped up and set on another course" or "There was a rhythm to his walk as if he were riding the earth, as if the earth was a creature that moved and breathed beneath him." At times, the rhythm and rhyme make you think perhaps this is a song, not a book.

On an otherwise normal day, a man magically appears and gives Velma True a birthday present: a rock that takes her deep inside her memories. But, he warns, watch out for the scouts who want this rock.

Velma's husband's been dead a year, and the memories throb bittersweet. She longs to go back, but she doesn't know if she can take it. The rock forces her to look her fears in the face. So she tries to get rid of the rock, burying it on the bottom of the creek and almost drowning herself in the process.

As the story goes along, magical realism becomes an encounter with sinister, tangible, spiritual forces, bringing the gothic aspect to the forefront.

The story draws together Rudy (Velma's son), Rose (the owner of the pizza place/bar), and Annie (the runaway). Jordan's characterizations dip into stews simmering for hours and hours, so real you're sure you've met them. She gives a strong atmosphere in the sultry northern Florida, which is more the South than it is the coast. In this way, she's reminiscent of Charles Martin's Floridian settings.

The author uses omniscient POV, which for someone who likes to see characterizations unfold in a limited POV, could have been annoying, but her prose and depth of observations held that annoyance at bay.

I recommend this book for those who like Athol Dickson, Flannery O'Connor, Charles Martin, and Walker Percy.