If individuals have read Jack Savage's previous books, they have come to expect the unexpected. In The Children Shall Be Blameless, readers will not be disappointed since I believe this book has the best storyline thus far in the author's literary efforts. I also sense that there is much of himself entwined in the various and well-depicted characters. Some authors have problems giving their characters unique traits and personalities, but Savage is a master at this which is so crucial to this novel. Readers may not like everyone they meet; however, they will ultimately get an intimate look into their souls and know who they really are.
After his mother's death, and because his father was serving in the Korean war, Richard Smith was told by the Sisters of St. James's Orphanage that he and his two sisters had been left with them to be their caretakers. From the depiction of his character, I instantly liked this spunky and courageous boy who grows up to become exceptionally successful in real estate. But before this happens, he has to survive many difficult times while spending his childhood at the orphanage. He experiences further challenges once he is on his own.
There is the question as to Richard's buried memories in regard to his younger sister who died when an accident occurred early on at the orphanage. His other sister had apparently gone to stay with an uncle. When the war was over, readers will want to know why his father never came to get him. But it was a question that would be answered at a later time. As the story unwinds, we see the traits of his childhood carried into adulthood where he would always help those in trouble; evidence of this was vividly described during his combat in Vietnam. From childhood on, if needed, he would protectively lie to others in order to alleviate problematic situations, and somehow it seemed to me that it was totally acceptable, given the circumstances.
One of the most important people in Richard's life was Father Brown who intervened when the young boy was badly beaten on the school playground. Father Brown is not your usual priest and, indeed, becomes the father that Richard never had. They are as close, and perhaps closer, than any biological father and son, sharing much time together with intriguing conversations. He is the person who understands Richard and knows his extraordinary potential.
Richard Smith wanted what we all want-a family of his own to love. Although there were women who gave him sex and others he became romantically involved with for a time, it appeared as though he would never meet the right woman to marry. Or would he? Ultimately, he does have a family that consists of two adopted boys, a wonderful housekeeper, and Father Brown; there are others who are very important to him-from his past and present.
Because I want readers to purchase this book, I choose not to give away too much of the storyline, but there are many suspenseful and intriguing surprises along the way that will keep readers turning the pages. An accident that kindles Richard's childhood memory leads to some surprise visits and an adventurous journey that answers questions he has in regard to his past. There are truly some exciting and unforgettable moments. After reading the last two pages of The Children Shall Be Blameless, I think it would be impossible for readers not to shed some tears. As I followed his life's story, I felt Richard's hurt, pain, joy and grief.
I loved this book as well as the author's well-defined style of writing. Readers are there beside the protagonist as he lives his life, sharing his hurt, pain, hopes, dreams, tragedies, and grief. It is without hesitation that I highly recommend this book.
Author of seven books, book reviewer, former publisher and radio talk show host.