REVIEW: ‘The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns’ (2009) by Elizabeth Leiknes

by Sarah on January 13, 2010 · 7 comments

Genre: General Fiction/Women’s Literature

POV: 1st Person

Sensuality: Kisses

Violence: Mild

My Grade: B

The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns by Elizabeth Leiknes is a charming tale well-told. I hesitate to use the term “quirky” but it fits this story.

When Lucy Burns was eleven, her older sister was hit by a truck and died. Ellen was revived by paramedics but remained in a coma. To save her sister’s life, Lucy writes a desperate letter “To Whom It May Concern”. Soon after sending her letter, Ellen wakes up from the coma. When Lucy receives a reply from the mysterious “To Whom It May Concern”, little does she know that she’s made a deal with the Devil.

Every birthday thereafter, he grants Lucy her heart’s desire. Lucy wishes for big breasts and beauty, for popularity and academic success. The Devil fulfils all her wishes, but there is a catch. After Lucy graduates from High School, she receives a visit from a strange woman. She says she is to be Lucy’s mentor and help her fulfil her side of the bargain she never realized she’d made. Lucy is to be a facilitator to Hell. She is to guide wicked souls to the Devil’s portals and leave them to their fiery fate. If Lucy refuses to cooperate, her sister, Ellen, will die – as she was meant to have done eight years previously.

Lucy’s new role is not without its perks. In return for cutting all contact with her family and friends, Lucy is given untold riches and ageless beauty. For nineteen years, Lucy guides bad people to their untimely demise. At first, she’s taken in by the glamour of her new lifestyle and revels in her ability to attract any man she desires. But she is not allowed to have a relationship with them and female friendship is discouraged. Despite her wealth and good looks, Lucy leads a lonely life. She longs for a husband and children of her own and to reconnect with the family she left behind all those years ago.

A chance at salvation comes from an unlikely source. When Lucy’s pop idol, Teddy Nightingale, tells her of a loophole whereby she can get out of her deal with the Devil, Lucy jumps at the chance to secure her freedom. In order to achieve this, she must achieve three goals: facilitate 54 souls to their death before a certain date; find someone to replace her as a facilitator to Hell; and “take out a target”. This loophole is not without risk. Should Lucy fail to meet her goals, she’ll face a fate far worse than death.

The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns is an original story. Lucy proves to be a surprisingly likeable protagonist. There is a romantic subplot which is well done, but the main focus is on Lucy and her attempt to regain control over her life. She’s forced to examine good and evil and if it’s even possible to tell them apart at times.

At 167 pages, this book is very short. I felt a couple of plot threads were left hanging. Perhaps if the book had been a little longer, these loose threads could have been satisfactorily resolved. Apart from that, I found The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns to be an engaging read and one which I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.

Other Reviews of The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns:

Janet at Dear Author - B+

Trashionista – 5 out of 5

Avidbookreader – B+

The Book Smugglers – 8 out of 10


Mandi January 13, 2010 at 18:19

I have this in my tbr..I can’t wait to read it!

heidenkind January 14, 2010 at 22:29

I don’t think there’s been a single negative review of this book. Hmm, maybe I’ll buy it for my mom for her birthday.

~ames~ January 15, 2010 at 05:18

I had to ask the library to buy this book b/c I couldn’t find it anywhere (sold out). Luckily, the library got a hold of a copy and I’ll be getting it soon. Glad you enjoyed it. :P

Keishon January 15, 2010 at 06:54

Yep! Cute story. I was looking for a ebook copy for myself but couldn’t find one except in Kindle.

Kat January 15, 2010 at 13:45

I recall (okay, I cheated and checked) you were on the fence about reading this book. I’m glad you ended up liking it.

Sarah January 15, 2010 at 17:29

@Mandi: I hope you enjoy it!

@heidenkind: As Kat mentioned in her comment, I was on the fence about reading this book. I’d heard it described as chick lit somewhere and I’m not a huge chick lit fan. I think that’s an inaccurate description of the book, though. It’s more general fiction/women’s fiction. One of those stories that’s hard to classify.

@~ames~: Hope it’s worth waiting for!

@Keishon: This was a hard book to get hold of. Amazon Germany usually stocks pretty much all the books I want to read, but not this one. I ended up ordering it from and paying the extra shipping. Thankfully, the book was worth it.

@Kat: Yeah, I did like it. It’s a sweet, feel-good kind of story.

Keishon January 16, 2010 at 03:16

Thankfully, the book was worth it

Yes, thankfully! Otherwise I would have felt really bad if you hadn’t enjoyed it. I’ve taken leaps like that myself upon occasion ;-) Take care girl.

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