Cover Image: Sainted in Error

Sainted in Error

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Member Reviews

Sainted in Error is really a mystery, but not in a traditional sense. The reader knows that a murder has been committed and who has likely done it, but through the narrator Maggie, The Murderer's "best friend", the reader learns who was murdered and why.

Literary in tone, I was engaged the entire way through, but I was also a ball of tension the entire way through. The treatment of mental illness in this book is thoughtful and respectful, and the reader can see in the character of Cynthia that manic episodes and depression, as well as open attempts at manipulation can sometimes blend together so that the sufferer, and certainly their friends and family, may not be able to distinguish them.

Personally, second-hand embarrassment and my own rejection sensitivity made it a little difficult to read in places, and triggered a not insignificant amount of anxiety, but staying with it to the end was worth it. I suppose that's what a good book is supposed to do: elicit strong emotions and/or a visceral reaction. In that it succeeded.
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Sainted in Error by Glenda Winders was a knot in my stomach. Literally. I physically felt it tightening and turning every time I was reading this novel.

If you like: slow-burning thrillers, mental illness and what its stigma can do to a person, destroyed friendships and a knot in your stomach the whole time when you read it then you are in the right place.

Our two protagonists: Maggie Patterson and Cynthia Morgan meet in 1973 at UCLA where they became college roommates.

The two girls are quite different from each other. Starting from their background: Maggie growing up on a farm with a loving family and Cynthia being an orphan at least emotionally with a father who is always working but has enough money to keep Cynthia 'afloat' in her life.

 Nevertheless, they became close friends until Cynthia meets her love, at first sight, the medic student Richard. They are blindly in love and soon Cynthia becomes pregnant. She has to stop her education and they move to Kansas. 

At the same time, Maggie who is our main character and we view everything from her point of view is studying hard to become a journalist so she can even work harder to become a successful one. She is very good at what she is doing and she also has a passion for it which obviously keeps her going way past her working hours.

The fact that Cynthia had to give up her career (being a psychiatrist, mainly because of her mom) and had to turn into a pampered housewife with an ongoing mental illness quietly working its way out is what is evidently going to lead us where the whole book started; in the courtroom.

I have found it very hard to review this book.
The opening is so strong that the knot in my stomach did not disappear for the whole time I was reading it.
The unpleasant feeling of waiting for something horrible to happen and to know that until the end of the book you won't face it is what made me decide to keep reading.

To be honest, until 60% of the book I wasn’t sure if I was the right audience for this novel.
Mainly because I leaned towards Cynthia more than the main character.
I found Maggie’s language intrusive and also very privileged for some reason.

As the story evolved and the characters were growing up I could finally see where we were going with Cynthia but still, all I could think about was: What is wrong with everyone in this book? 

Probably I'm going to need some time to digest this story. It felt way too real and faux at the same time. 
Like how almost every character was a hypocrite (except Peter) and at the same time, you could understand their point of view as well. 
Simply the fact that how hard is to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped but wants to be loved unconditionally.

But it's definitely worth it because of the very last sentence in the book. 
That self-reflection in the end was very well thought out. 

Overall, a thought-provoking book but I would recommend choosing a good time to read it because it can be overwhelming if you are sensitive to it, which keeps you from seeing the bigger picture.

Thank you Mascot Books and Glenda Winders for the chance to read Sainted In Error.
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In “Sainted in Error”, the main character prepares to testify against her former best friend in a murder trial.  So for me as a reader, the book was not a “whodunnit”, so much as a “whogotit” and “whydidit”.  The author takes us back through the formation and ultimate disintegration of a friendship.  Two women meet as college freshmen and are complete opposites, but become fast friends.  Their friendship is tested through the years as one of the women struggles with mental health issues that prompt her to commit unforgivable actions.  An interesting character study.
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What do you wear when you testify against your best friend as she goes on trial for murder?  Wow! This book cast suspicion on so many characters that I had no idea how it would turn out! The definition of the perfect suspense novel!
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A beautifully written breathtakingly novel,the author wrote a poignant story concerning love,loss ,mental illness and the mind field.that brings. Especially when someone you once cared about,commits the despicable act of.murder. I have not heard of this author before,but I will be looking out for more of her work.
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This book revolves around the loss of friendship and the grief it brings and how it affects. Also we have this topic expressed that what an undiagnosed mental disorder create havoc. 
We have Maggie who's looking for a dress to wear to got to a murder trial and the accused is her ex- friend Cynthia, and while this she ruminates on their estranged friendship and the loss it brought to them. Cynthia is afflicted with a mental disorder which due to being undiagnosed creates rift in the lives of her near ones. 
The story is build up well and I enjoyed reading it.
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"What do you wear when you testify against your best friend as she goes on trial for murder?" This opening line of both the synopsis and the book was what pulled me in. Not a question I would ever want to answer, and yet, it's one that unfolds the story of Maggie and Cynthia, their intertwined lives, the dissolving of a friendship, the disintegration of mental health, and the dynamics of re. 

I wish I knew how to categorize this novel. A murder mystery doesn't seem quite right, even though, yes, there is a murder trial. But Sainted In Error, goes back in time in order to see what led to the ultimate unraveling and choice of murder. This story introduces Maggie and Cynthia meeting as freshman in college in the early 1970s (the story spans into the early 2000s), watches them both fall in love for the first time, first heartbreaks, finding love again, bringing children into the world, finding careers and life paths. And in between everything is the rupturing and wearing down of a friendship that become toxic, abusive, manipulative, and ultimately, deadly. 

What I loved most about this book was Winders ability to show what is like to have a toxic relationship that spans decades. Though Maggie is telling the story, we see clearly how much Cynthia is a part of it and gets deeply intertwined in it.. Even when living in different states, in experiencing different lives, reading the story unfold and seeing how Cynthia pulls Maggie back in, how their friendship gets barbed and twisted over the years, seeing it rupture, examining the emotional shrapnel over time, it's truly done well. 

The hardest part of this book to review is the mental illness and bipolar disorder suggestion. As someone with various mental health disorders, I do tend to overanalyze when mental illness is concerned, and even after taking some time to think about what I want to say, I still can't formulate the words. It was hard to read. Cynthia was a character I recognize, Maggie's defense and years long friendship is relatable, and damn is it difficult to watch the consequences play out in this story. At the end of the day, I really am glad to have read this book and will read more by Winders. 

I would like to give content warning for racist behavior/slurs against Asian women, ableism regarding bipolar disorder, some fatphobic remarks, some scenes of explicit and implicit domestic violence, and emotional abuse towards friends and lovers.
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Sainted in Error, by Glenda Winders, is an imaginative piece of psychological women's fiction that takes the reader into the psyche of a friendship and it's painful disintegration.  The writing drew me in and I had a hard time putting the book down so I could get some things done. I also found the main characters to be interesting well fleshed out. 
Maggie Patterson is readying herself for a incredibly personal & painful murder trial and she finds herself dwelling on a lifetime of memories that brought her to this point. She needs to try and reassemble the pieces of her past to try and make sense of the senseless. 
Maggie's been best friends with Cynthia since they were college freshmen.  As the friendship continues, Cynthia’s toxic jealousy and mental health decline causes the friendship to fall apart. As their lives unfold, Cynthia’s paranoia and rage destroys almost all her relationships. Ultimately culminating into a horror that Maggie never even imagined.
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We know these girls. One we like. She's nice, a hard worker and considerate of others. The other one is pretty on the outside but she is mean spirited with an agenda of her own design. Most of us would walk away from the girl that is repulsive. Yet, Maggie enjoys her new college roommate, Cynthia. They are opposites and they seem to balance each other.

The author sets the stage with the first sentence. "What do you wear when you testify against your best friend as she goes on trial for murder?" Immediately, the reader can guess what will happen with this storyline as Maggie shuffles through her closet looking for the ideal outfit. It's the characters that make this book appealing like reading gossip about your neighbors. 

Maggie's family works on a farm and she's on a tight budget when she enters her college dorm to meet Cynthia who has established herself with the bed by the window. Maggie is a liberal that joins protests and other hippies. Cynthia was raised as a conservative and says, "Rich people are all Republicans...We vote with our pocketbooks." 

Opposites attract and they get along until one becomes successful after graduating and the other one doesn't. Most friendships would break off at some point but Maggie has a big heart and remembers the friendship that brought them once together. Sadly, Cynthia had a mother with bipolar traits and committed suicide. Now she needs medical help as well with meds and a psychiatrist - but refuses.

This book is beautifully written. I paused when reading, "You never know which of the hundreds of little choices you make every day will be one that ends up shaping your life -- whether for better or worse." It examines life stages and relationships on all levels. It gives one a deeper understanding of someone that needs major therapy. At the end, there are a list of helpful questions for book clubs to review. 

My thanks to Glenda Winders, Mascot Books and NetGalley for allowing me to read this advanced copy with an expected release date of February 1, 2022.
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“What do you wear when you testify against your best friend as she goes on trial for murder? It’s ridiculous that I’m so anxious over such a minuscule and trivial part of this whole nightmare.”

In Winders’ novel, Maggie Patterson’s longtime college friend, Cynthia Morgan, suffers an undiagnosed mental disorder for years, culminating in violence and murder.

“Sainted in Error” is a gripping tale of the unrelenting anguish that psychological afflictions cause.


As Maggie Patterson runs her hand over the clothes in her closet and muses about the prosaic details of preparing for a shockingly personal murder trial, she is catapulted into the memories that led her to this moment. Piece by piece, she assembles the fragments of her past to make sense of a violent crime, the echoes of which ripple through her recollections.

Maggie and Cynthia meet as college freshmen and are seemingly destined to be best friends for life. As the years pass, however, Maggie’s marriage and career lift her to success and wealth while Cynthia’s jealousy and untreated mental illness cause their relationship to disintegrate. As the stories of the two women’s lives unfold, Cynthia’s paranoia and anger sour every relationship she has and turn even the people who have loved her most against her, ultimately bubbling over into an event that Maggie never sees coming.

Not a murder mystery in the usual sense, and spanning time and space, “Sainted in Error” delves into the tenacity of friendship and the damage that the stigma still attached to mental illness can do.

A huge thank you to @NetGalley and @MascotBooks or an ARC of “Sainted in Error” by Glenda Winders.

Please note that this novel’s publication date is 1 February 2022.

#SaintedinError #GlendaWinders #NetGalley #LiteraryFiction #FamilyLifeFiction #FriendshipFiction #PsychologicalFiction
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Sainted in Error begins with the protagonist (Maggie) wondering which outfit she should wear to the trial of her former best friend, who tried to kill her.. That alone almost caused me to stop reading. But I didn't, and thus I learned of the tribulations she and her family suffered at the hands of the soon to be accused, Cynthia, who suffered bipolar disorder and had lost he mother to suicide. The novel is essentially one big soap opera, and we know how people like those. So I expect the novel to have some success. It is not a bad read, but I wouldn't really read it again.
Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC.
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Thank you NetGalley and Mascot Books, Subplot for the eARC.
Maggie is on her way to a very personal murder trial - that of her previous best friend, Cynthia.  As she's looking for an outfit to wear, she reminisces about their friendship.  A friendship that started out in college and was wonderful to begin with, but eroded over time as Cynthia's behavior became more and more erratic.  She became a poisonous influence to the point that Maggie basically terminated their friendship.  Cynthia's marriage, her relationship with her two daughters and any other people in her life is fraught with her nastiness, jealousy and embarrassing outbursts.  She's seeing a 'therapist', refuses to see a psychiatrist or go on medication and basically ruins her life, blaming everyone around her.
It's a really good book, not a murder mystery as such, more the story of a life unravelling because of an undiagnosed mental illness.  It's hard to like Cynthia, to be as patient with her as Maggie was, but it's an intense, grown-up novel that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Highly recommended!
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