Book Review: Woman of God by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

The cover of the copy I picked up proudly declares Patterson as “The World’s Bestselling Thriller Writer”, and the blurb hints at an adventurous tale about the woman who may became the first female Pope and those who seek to stop her. This is all a misdirection from a book that is massively, painfully unthrilling.

It’s not awful from the jump, it starts with a reporter in the Vatican covering the story of the new Pope being chosen and debating whether he should intervene in the story. Then we see Brigid Fitzgerald, the potential pontiff heading to church where a man draws a gun. Then the story jumps back twenty years to Brigid working as a doctor in war torn and famine hit South Sudan.

How does she get from there to being in the mix for head of the Catholic Church? Well, the answer is a meandering, frustrating journey which is definitely not a thriller.

patterson woman

I came close to ditching this book a few times, especially as I started to realise that a big exciting development was increasingly unlikely. The book stutters to a disappointing and rather pointless conclusion, and despite the trick of quick, short chapters, it didn’t fool me into thinking the story was fast paced or keep me hooked.

I stayed with it because it was a shortish book and I still hoped for that twist or something to ignite it. Neither arrived.

The problem is that it’s written in the style of a thriller, but seems to be more like those religious books where someone recounts their personal “road to Damascus” moment. It’s a tale of religion and divine encounters which is somehow utterly soulless. Brigid says at one point that she feels “exalted” by her visions, but that’s not how they’re written. They seem confusing, disorientating and fragmented. She doesn’t come out of them all happy and satisfied, so the exalting part doesn’t fit.

And she doesn’t even receive any particularly profound messages in these visions.

Dull. Unsatisfying. The interesting parts of the start are thrown away and Brigid’s journey of faith is shallow and failed to engage me.

Verdict: 3/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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