Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell.
Publisher: Random House Audio.
Favorite character: Sean.
All in all: Lovely but a bit slow for my taste.
Synopsis: Angels of Destruction, opens on a winter’s night, when a young girl appears at the home of Mrs. Margaret Quinn, a widow who lives alone. A decade earlier, she had lost her only child, Erica, who fled with her high school sweetheart to join a radical student group known as the Angels of Destruction. Before Margaret answers the knock in the dark hours, she whispers a prayer and then makes her visitor welcome at the door.
The girl, who claims to be nine years old and an orphan with no place to go, beguiles Margaret, offering some solace, some compensation, for the woman’s loss. Together, they hatch a plan to pass her off as her newly found granddaughter, Norah Quinn, and enlist Sean Fallon, a classmate and heartbroken boy, to guide her into the school and town.
Their conspiracy is vulnerable not only to those children and neighbors intrigued by Norah’s mysterious and magical qualities but by a lone figure shadowing the girl who threatens to reveal the child’s true identity and her purpose in Margaret’s life. Who are these strangers really? And what is their connection to the past, the Angels, and the long-missing daughter?
Angels of Destruction is an unforgettable story of hope and fear, heartache and redemption. The saga of the Quinn family unfolds against an America wracked by change. As it delicately dances on the line between the real and the imagined, this mesmerizing new novel confirms Keith Donohue’s standing as one of our most inspiring and inventive novelists. ~Product Description.
My Thoughts: I grabbed this book because I read The Stolen Child and absolutely loved it. I was hoping that Angels of Destruction would be as compelling, but I felt that while the premise was interesting and I enjoyed the characters, the story just didn't grab me.
The novel begins with Margaret Quinn taking in a little girl who just shows up on her doorstep. She calls the girl Norah and they cook up a story about her being Margaret's grandchild. Norah fills the void that Margaret has felt since her daughter ran away many years ago. The relationship between the two is very sweet and Margaret opens her heart to Norah. Their neighbor Sean Fallon soon becomes Norah's best friend and the two are practically inseperable. Sean is also missing somebody, his father, who left their family. The way that Norah comforts Sean as well as Margaret by trying to pull them out of their lonliness is what I would expect a fledgling angel to behave. Soon however, Norah goes a little too far with her claims and "magic" and the people in town become frightened for their children's safety and fearful because Norah is just too different.
The book also tells the journey of Erica, Margaret's daughter, who ran away with her politically radical boyfriend and their adventures and experiences on the road. She encounters many people along the way who warn her that she is on the wrong path, but unfortunately she doesn't listen. Violent actions and unplanned surprises once again change the course of her life.
I did love how the theme of birds is threaded throughout the story, echoing that Norah is an angel. There is never any definitive resolution to this which I don't mind. I like to wonder and ponder about events in a story. Perhaps it reflects what the characters in the book went through. Wondering if her claims are true. For those who have faith no miracle is necessary, for those who don't none will suffice. There was a splash of magic, enough for the reader to question but I think I was expecting a little bit more.
The narration is very nice. Cassandra Campbell's voice is soothing and lyrical, with a lovely cadence. I feel it fits the mood and tone of the story.
I think that the story took place too much in the character's heads. I was privy to memories, feelings, hopes and dreams. The writing is very gentle, melancholy and contemplative, but I just felt it was too much.
Also, who is the menacing man/creature that occassionally appears? I took him to be either a demon of some kind or another angel who was trying to make Norah go "home."
I didn't feel that the story was exceptionally gripping and I don't mind unanswered questions, but I would have liked to have had just a few more answers. I would recommend this book to people who like literary fiction and epic stories.