Helin Jung
February 23, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

The heroine of Liam Callanan’s All Saints is Emily Hamilton, a 50-year-old teacher at All Saints Catholic High School in Newport Beach, Calif. Hamilton is also a thrice-divorced smoker who has an affair with an 18-year-old student while flirting with a possibly septuagenarian priest. She tries, haltingly, to heal the wounds of her failed marriages and a past miscarriage, as she struggles watching her pupils fall apart. Callanan doesn’t shelter his heroine, nor does he make room for judgment. She speaks with a voice that is frustratingly real and endearing, bestowed with a truthful grace. It just seems odd that Callanan depicts this churchgoing theologian’s relationship with God essentially as an afterthought. B

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