Tuesday, 11 November 2014

"Despite The Angels" by Madeline Stringer. Guest review by Meabh Nic Raghnaill

Have you ever felt you know someone already, even though you only just met? Maybe you knew them in another life...
Lucy and David, who live in modern Dublin, first knew each other in Ancient Crete. They had a baby girl, but disaster struck, and their guardian angels have been trying to reunite the little family for 4000 years.
Despite the angels' attempts to be understood, humans often do not hear, and unwittingly can waste whole lifetimes...
Now in Dublin things are still not going to plan - Lucy is far too young, and David is marrying someone else.
Angels are optimists, so they are re-organising, but - Humans must listen to their angels.

I will admit to being a bit wary of this book at first as, in general, I don't have much time for stories about guardian angels. I was wrong. Despite the Angels by Madeline A. Stringer was an absolute joy to read. It is well-written and incredibly enjoyable and combines all the elements I look for in a good book - romance, tragedy, humour, suspense and excitement.
From the very first sentence "My name is Jotin and I am exasperated with this "guardian angel" job.", I was intrigued and knew that this book was going to be different to how I had imagined.
The story centres around Lucy, David and their "angels" Jotin and Trynor. The narrative switches point of view between these characters and also switches between eras, as we see Lucy and David (and other more minor characters) in previous incarnations. While in some books too many changes of time, place and point of view could get confusing, Stringer manages it seamlessly and in such a way that it increases empathy for the characters and moves the plot along a good pace.
All the characters are interesting and engaging but my favourites are definitely Jotin and Trynor, the "angels". Their sections of the book were incredibly amusing and I loved how fallible they were. The wearied air about them was interspersed with incredible innocence and misunderstanding, leaving them seeming the most "human" of all the characters at times.
The only minor downside I found in this book was that in the second half it became a little bit repetitive and predictable. This was however, only a very minor flaw in an otherwise witty and engaging book and as such I rate it 4.5/5.  

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