This is an interesting book to review because some readers may have already read this when it was first published in 1995 under the authors' previous pen name of Lucinda Edmonds. Since it would appear that the time is right for a reissue, the story has been redone, keeping some elements of the original but with some sections reworked, thus breathing new life into a story which is as fresh and characterful now, as it was in its original format.
The story begins as Greta returns to Marchmont Hall, in Monmouthshire, Wales after an absence of thirty years. Greta's memory of her life at Marchmont was irretrievably damaged when she was involved in a dreadful accident which altered her memory thus making her recollection of her previous life hazy and filled with shadows.Much has happened to Greta during this time, her life and that of her family has been very eventful, not without tragedy, and always with an element of misfortune.
What then follows is a cleverly and intricately constructed family saga which spans several years and which flips forwards and backwards in time, mainly following the fortunes of Greta and her daughter Cheska. The peripheral characters who flit into and out of the story are strong and meaningful and add a real sense of continuity. The story is long, coming it at over 600 pages but as always the story draws you in from the beginning. The characters become as familiar as friends, some you learn to like whilst others become deeply unlikable but as always the strength of the story lies with the telling. The fine attention to detail, the authenticity of the setting, and the gloriously good story telling all combine to make this into another commendable novel from this talented author.
I hadn't read the book when it was first published, so was I was perfectly happy to read The Angel Tree with no preconceptions of what had gone before. I'm sure, however, that those readers who read the novel when it was entitled 'Not Quite An Angel' will find much to enjoy in this reissued version.
Best read with a cinnamon latte and an enticing selection of Dunkin Donuts....
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