Angeline by Anna Quinn

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Date of publication: February 7th, 2023

Genre: Fiction, Coming of Age, Literary Fiction, Contemporary

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks

Trigger Warnings: child abuse, grief, sexual assault, rape, animal killing and abuse

Goodreads Synopsis:

After surviving a tragedy that killed her entire family, sixteen-year-old Meg joins a cloistered convent, believing it is her life’s work to pray full time for the suffering of others. Taking the name Sister Angeline, she spends her days and nights in silence, moving from one prayerful hour to the next. She prays for the hardships of others, the sick and poor, the loved ones she lost, and her own atonement.

When the Archdiocese of Chicago runs out of money to keep the convent open, she is torn from her carefully constructed life and sent to a progressive convent on a rocky island in the Pacific Northwest. There, at the Light of the Sea, five radical feminist nuns have their own vision of faithful service. They do not follow canonical law, they do not live a cloistered life, and they believe in using their voices for change.

As Sister Angeline struggles to adapt to her new home, she must navigate her grief, fears, and confusions, while being drawn into the lives of a child in crisis, an angry teen, an EMT suffering survivor’s guilt, and the parish priest who is losing his congregation to the Sisters’ all-inclusive Sunday masses. Through all of this, something seems to have awakened in her, a healing power she has not experienced in years that could be her saving grace, or her downfall.

In Angeline, novelist Anna Quinn explores the complexity of our past selves and the discovery of our present truth; the enduring imprints left by our losses, forgiveness and acceptance, and why we believe what we believe. Affecting and beautifully told, Angeline is both poignant and startling and will touch the hearts of anyone who has ever asked themselves: When your foundations crumble and you’ve lost yourself, how do you find the strength to go on? Do you follow your heart or the rules?

First Line:

Meg lies prostrate on the stone floor. Her body, a cross. Incense curls around her white gown and spirals up like tiny resurrections.

Angeline by Anna Quinn

Meg was only sixteen years old when she joined a cloistered convent. She believes she is responsible for the car accident that killed her entire family and unborn child. Her way of repenting is to join the convent and take a vow of silence, praying for other people’s suffering. Meg (or Sister Angeline) is transferred to an unconventional convent in the Pacific Northwest when her convent is closed due to a lack of funds. The nuns at that convent are quirky. They believe in the power to use their voices, aren’t cloistered, and do not follow the Catholic Church’s laws. Angeline touches lives with several people during her first months there: an abused child who is being failed by the system, an angry teenager, the teenager’s EMT father who has survivor’s guilt, and a priest who is losing his congregation to the nuns Sunday masses. Angeline also discovers a power for healing that she thought was lost. Will Angeline stay at the convent? Will she be able to heal and help everyone whose life she has touched? Will she be able to forgive herself?

Meg (or Sister Angeline) was the main character in Angeline. I wasn’t sure of her at the beginning of the book, but that was because I didn’t know her entire story. But as I read the book and got a good look at who she was, I was heartbroken for everything she had endured. I also felt that her being transferred to the convent in the Pacific Northwest was suitable for her. Being around those eccentric nuns helped her accept what happened to her. They also made her see that the world wasn’t to be shut away but to be enjoyed.

Speaking of the nuns, I loved them. They were sassy and weren’t afraid to tell people like it was. Of course, they each had their backstory, and how the author introduced those backstories was terrific. One nun had a son who was murdered by gun violence. Another was under political asylum. Another was a raging feminist who was vocal about LGBTQ/abortion rights. And two were mysteries, and I didn’t expect their backstories. It was those backstories that framed Angeline’s story.

As I detailed in the plot summary, Angeline suffered an immense loss. Her loss is an essential part of the main storyline. As was Angeline’s horror of being transferred to a convent with rebel nuns. But, like her Mother Superior, I thought it best for her. And it was. Angeline was able to connect with so many people on the island. She even tried to help a few of them. I loved how the author wove a paranormal element into the book about halfway through and made it an essential part of the storyline. It was almost believable because of the way the author wrote it.

There are some scarier elements to Angeline. They crop up around the middle of the book and aren’t resolved until the end. Be warned, some of these elements can get a little intense (mainly with the priest).

The end of Angeline felt rushed and tacked on. While the author wrapped up all the storylines, I was left with a bad feeling. Mainly because I didn’t like how the ending was.

I recommend Angeline to anyone over 21. There is violence, some mild language, and nongraphic sexual situations.

Many thanks to Blackstone Publishing, NetGalley, and Anna Quinn for allowing me to read and review Angeline. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Angeline, then you will enjoy reading these books:

The Night Child by Anna Quinn

The Night Child

Title: The Night Child

Author: Anna Quinn

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Date of publication: January 30th, 2018

Genre: Fiction, Women’s Fiction

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find The Night Child: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book Synopsis (from Goodreads):

All Nora Brown wants is to teach high school English and live a quiet life in Seattle with her husband and six-year-old daughter. But one November day, moments after dismissing her class, a girl’s face appears above the students’ desks—a wild numinous face with startling blue eyes, a face floating on top of shapeless drapes of purples and blues where arms and legs should have been. Terror rushes through Nora’s body—the kind of raw terror you feel when there’s no way out, when every cell in your body, your entire body, is on fire—when you think you might die.

Twenty-four hours later, while on Thanksgiving vacation, the face appears again. This time, it whispers, Remember the Valentine’s dress. Shaken once again, Nora meets with neurologists and eventually, a psychiatrist. As the story progresses, a terrible secret is discovered—a secret that pushes Nora toward an even deeper psychological breakdown.

The Night Child is a breathtaking debut novel about split consciousness, saving a broken child, and the split between past and present. It’s about the extraordinary capacity within each of us to save ourselves through visionary means.

Trigger Warning: Child abuse, Mental Illness

Continue reading “The Night Child by Anna Quinn”

Fata Morgana by Steven R. Boyett and Ken Mitchroney

Fata Morgana

Title: Fata Morgana

Author: Steven R. Boyett and Ken Mitchroney

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Date of publication: June 13th, 2017

Genre: Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Number of pages: Unknown

POV: 3rd person

Series: No

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

At the height of the air war in Europe, Captain Joe Farley and the baseball-loving, wisecracking crew of the B-17 Flying Fortress Fata Morgana are in the middle of a harrowing bombing mission over East Germany when everything goes sideways. The bombs are still falling and flak is still exploding all around the 20-ton bomber as it is knocked like a bathtub duck into another world.

Suddenly stranded with the final outcasts of a desolated world, Captain Farley navigates a maze of treachery and wonder—and finds a love seemingly decreed by fate—as his bomber becomes a pawn in a centuries-old conflict between remnants of advanced but decaying civilizations. Caught among these bitter enemies, a vast power that has brought them here for its own purposes, and a terrifying living weapon bent on their destruction, the crew must use every bit of their formidable inventiveness and courage to survive.

Fata Morgana—the epic novel of love and duty at war across the reach of time.

My review:

This book made me a little sad in spots because my grandfather was a gunner on a B-17. He didn’t serve in Europe, though, he served in the South Pacific. It wasn’t until my son, then 5, started expressing an interest in airplanes, that he started talking about the war. Of course, he didn’t tell my son everything, just the names of the planes he flew on and he had pictures of “the ladies” as he called the planes. My son was fascinated that planes had people painted on them and was fascinated that Papa shotguns out of the back at the bad guys. He didn’t understand why Papa got weepy eyed when talking about people he served with who were KIA.

When he passed in 2015, we found his medals as we were cleaning his apartment. Among them was a Purple Heart….that was buried in the bottom of a draw. My mother wasn’t surprised and said he was injured during the war. We also found the pictures he had hidden away of his squadron with the dates of death and names written on the back. Everything was saved, I believe my mother has the pictures and the Purple Heart in a bank deposit box.

What I liked about Fata Morgana is that it was on point with everything that my grandfather had told my son and myself. From what the crews wore, to how the gunners were strapped into the shortwave radio operator to the people who handled the bombs, 100% accurate.

The science fiction aspect of the book was well written too. I liked that the Fata Morgana was taken 200 years into the future. A very bleak future, might I add, where the remnants of human society are forced to live in two domes in a crater. They are also fighting each other in a war that is as old as the domes themselves. Very surreal.

The B17 crew had to be my favorite characters to read. The personalities of each one come across the pages and make you smile. What I also liked is that the authors stayed true to how men from that era acted and their views on women and people of nationalities/color. I also like that they all smoked like chimneys.

I did like the romance between Captain Farley and Wennda. It was innocent, with only a kiss but it was real and I liked it.

There are a couple of twists that are thrown into the book that took me by surprise as I read it. One of the twists was big and it changed how I viewed the world that Wennda lived in. There was so much action and at one point, I was on the edge of my seat chanting “You are going to make. You are going to make it”. Want to know why I was chanting that? Read the book!!

The end was very bittersweet. I have a theory about what happened at the end of the book but I refuse to ruin the book for people. It is best that you read the book for yourself. Because I feel that people will have the same theory as I do.

How many stars will I give Fata Morgana: 4

Why: This is a book that will go on my keeper shelf. It was action packed with memorable characters who quickly got under your skin. The storyline was pretty good too. It did lag in a couple of spots but the authors did a great job of getting the book back on track.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Older teen (16+)

Why: Violence and some language

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**