I was drawn to this book due to its title featuring Saint Louis. My parents grew up in the Ozarks of Missouri. Saint Louis held a special place in my mother’s heart because at age 16, that city became her escape route from the poverty of her rural home. She went to live with her aunt and uncle; her uncle worked on the Saint Louis streetcar line. My mother was a talented seamstress and found a job with a tailoring establishment in Saint Louis where she felt the job and life with her aunt and uncle helped her to change from a country girl to a city lady. So, I wanted to learn more about the city of Saint Louis.
This book does indeed offer a wealth of material about Saint Louis, about its history and past and present settings. I felt Saint Louis, past and present, was actually the central theme of the story. The central character was Lee, a nurse specializing in hospice care, so much so that she sees herself as a kind of angel of death. Her services are requested by Margot Desouche, a wealth and socially prominent St. Louisan. We learn of Margot’s impending demise, her evolving relationship with Lee, the impressive historic mansion she lives in and hopes to preserve, and the difficult relationships within her family. Lee has her own issues within her family. While Lee sees it as her mission to bring peace to Margot and her family before Margot passes away, she is less clear in her vision of her own family’s needs. The passing of time and its effects interweaves with the theme of death and dying, both for the city and for the individuals and families involved in the story. I found this book chiefly interesting for its in depth information about Saint Louis. I felt the story was drawn out overlong and I found no clear conclusion or resolution. Perhaps there is not one to be found. Or perhaps I just missed it.
My sincere thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for making this book available for me to read and review.