The Patron Saint of Second Chances seems a perfect novel to turn into a movie which would be perfect because it would become a book about making a movie about making a movie. Signor Speranza, or Mr. Hope, is the self-styled mayor of Prometto, a town called Promise, no less.  But the town is dying, people are moving away, especially the young people. Businesses are dying and the town’s water system is too dilapidated. Unless they can come up with a small fortune to repair the pipes, the water will be shut off and everyone will have to move.

But Signor Speranza is not one to give into despair, he’s not named Mr. Hope for nothing. Noting that a neighboring town had a small renaissance thanks to some filmmaking, he decided that a little lie for a good cause wouldn’t hurt anyone. So he says there will be a film made in Prometto and it will star the current heartthrob, Dante Rinaldi.

And people believe it and as often happens in madcap comedic stories, one thing piles on another on another and on another, until you can hurt from laughing.

Can a book be too cute? I think The Patron Saint of Second Chances was far too cute for its own good. It felt forced into being twee for the sake of some Masterpiece Theater production. I like madcap comedies. I like cute books. But somehow this felt forced, too cute by half, as though the book was just a pit stop on the way to film. I found myself losing interest at the forced dilemmas. It also suffered from not trusting the audience to understand motives and purposes that were not explained with the detail of a Bond villain. Still, the idea at the center of the story is cute and clever. I hope Christine Simon continues to write. I hope this becomes a film, I think it will be a much better film than it was a book.

I received an e-galley of The Patron Saint of Second Chances through Edelweiss