Betsy Robinson, author of funny literary stories about flawed people, is a perpetual seeker of truth.

From books to music to theater and fine art, from online TV to DVDs, this blog takes a look at current culture through a spiritual perspective — with a touch of humor.

Materials under the "review" tag are a mix of free review copies (books, DVDs, etc.) in exchange for a review, to library copies, to materials and tickets I've paid for.


A Really Bad Hair Day (Feb. 13 blog)

The Art of Collapsing (Feb. 6 blog)

Life is only temporary says Evan Handler (Jan. 28 blog)

The New World of Finance (Jan. 28 blog)

All about growing up in a cult (April 16 blog)

Fierce Giving (Jan. 8 blog)

(Copyright © 2008-2014 Betsy Robinson. All rights reserved)

Notes from a Crusty Seeker

The Holy Woman

July 12, 2010

Tags: compassionate wisdom, fun, healing, review

I’ve just finished reading The Holy Woman, the self-published third book of Susan Trott’s formerly commercially published “The Holy Man” trilogy. Like the first two books (The Holy Man and The Holy Man’s Journey), The Holy Woman is deceptively simple and charming. But what a complex story about our human drive to “get,” to achieve status or stuff, to win.

The book starts after the death of “the Holy Man,” a guy named Joe who everybody visited because they believed he was holy. Just before dying in a faraway country, Joe anointed Anna as his successor, but when she returns home, not everybody — including Anna — is so sure. After all, she is quite judgmental about Joe’s teacher, Chen, who runs a spiritual resort called Universe-city where he promises people immortality and seems to worship stuff.

Bad guy, right? … Not so fast.

All of Anna’s supporters leave her — her husband, her body guard. They are seduced by women and stuff.

Really bad, right? … Think again.

Anna leaves Joe’s hermitage — which is destroyed and looted anyway — and opens a tea house in town. In one of my favorite exchanges, her lover, Drang (who doesn’t have a brother named Sturm), says to her,
“My father tells me that you have given up all thoughts of being the holy man’s replacement and are going to keep running the tea shop.”


“This is good. It’s only when you completely realize you are not ready for something that you begin to be ready.”

Anna serves tea, takes in a dog named Bear who she insists must be a vegetarian, cares for her kids, and learns T’ai Chi — a metaphorical way of saying she makes love with Drang and learns even better to go with the flow of her life, always a tad skeptical about this notion of being a holy woman.

Is she or isn’t she? I won’t give away the ending.

I’m fascinated by the self-publication of this book, following commercial publication of the first two in the series. I’m saddened that it’s not been reviewed. In her biography on Outskirts Press (publisher), Trott says:

With The Holy Woman, Susan Trott has joyfully completed The Holy Man Trilogy which began with the bestselling and much loved The Holy Man, followed by the less bestselling, but still loved, The Holy Man's Journey. These novels, along with 12 others she has written, all received great reviews, over 40 Hollywood movie options, and 11 foreign editions.

No longer a marathoner, Trott is a martial artist (T'ai Chi), kayaker, and ping-pong player. She lives on a houseboat in California in front of the mountain pictured on The Holy Woman cover.

My favorite line in this bio is “No longer a marathoner.” Like her books, that simple line has layers. She used to be a runner, yes, but there’s more. Is she retired from the commercial publishing fray? Did she stop needing to have bestselling books? Is she serving tea on a houseboat to anybody who makes the trek to find her? What’s in that tea … and how can I drink some?

To buy the book, go to page 3 of Betsy's Bookstore.


  1. July 13, 2010 1:00 PM EDT
    Betsy Robinson makes me laugh -- and think! Good stuff, right? (Yes!)

    My favorite lines: "Is she serving tea on a houseboat to anybody who makes the trek to find her? What's in that tea...and how can I drink some?"

    I am also a Susan Trott fan and have read --and thoroughly enjoyed -- the first two Holy Man books. I've also loved so many of her other books, some of my favorite being "Sightings" 'When Your Lover Leaves" and "The Exception".

    But mostly I'm with Betsy -- I'd like to make that trek and drink some holy tea on the houseboat!
    - Dawn
  2. November 27, 2011 2:41 PM EST
    I love this trilogy--have read it several times and recommended/shared it with many others. It's amazing how I need these reminders every once in awhile and how they come at the perfect moments. It's a bit disturbing that the third book was not given the editorial/printing expertise that it so richly deserves. Then I discovered that it was self-published. Being a published writer and an editor myself, it was painful at times to observe the lessened quality of the presentation of the book. The message it gave deserved so much better.
    - Julie A. Kohlhaas

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