From the spirit world Angelique and her sisters watch over those who mean most to them on Earth. Here in the mortal world Leah and Michelle have very different but equally heart rending pasts. In this story the two worlds merge and we are taken on a journey of tragedy and triumph as seen through the eyes of an angel, a guardian angel.
Of all the books I have read lately (and there are quite a few) this one is easily the most difficult to critique objectively. This is partly because I do not share the author’s ideological perspective but, mostly because I have some experience of several of the central themes. Never the less I will, as ever, do my best.
This story is poignant and very well written. It explores, in some depth, the repercussions of the decisions that we sometimes make or are forced, by circumstance, to make. It does this from the vantage point of an ethereal realm wherein dwell the souls of those who have passed away or those who never were. Against this backdrop the author deals with several difficult issues such as, drug abuse, homelessness, miss-carriage and Autism with great clarity and sensitivity.
Because the story is seen through the eyes of one of the inhabitants of this ‘spirit world’, the transition between the two worlds is seamless. This gives you a real sense that the ‘angels’ can indeed exist in the two worlds simultaneously. The language of the story is never needlessly complicated. This means that the narrative and the challenging themes with which it is concerned are very accessible. The scenes taking place within the earthly domain are well described and it feels as if the places used are constructed with familiarity rather than directly from the writer’s imagination.
I did feel that some of the themes were explored with the naivety and innocence of hope. I am not suggesting that this is necessarily a drawback. Indeed ‘hope’ in many of these situations is all that would allow the characters to develop and/or progress. On the whole, the characters were well built and consistent. Their plights were well observed and skilfully interwoven. At times I felt there was enough material within these plights to create another (possibly two) books.
I was expecting a little more examination of the nature of ‘being’ and the soul. In the end, however, the story left me to consider my own relationship to, and feelings about, these things. I suspect that this was, perhaps, good enough. In summary then, I would recommend this well-crafted and sensitively executed tale. It is not for everyone but, it deals with a number of troubling issues in a gentle and ultimately optimistic fashion.