Release Date: September 1st, 2011
Genre: Adult Contemporary
*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Fallen Angels by Tara Hyland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
From the poverty of post-war England and Ireland to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood's golden age, a beautiful, sweeping family drama that illustrates that the bonds between a mother and daughter can never be broken.
An unwanted child: San Francisco, 1958. On a dark December night, a baby girl is left at the Sisters of Charity Orphanage on Telegraph Hill.
A mysterious suicide: One year later, movie star Frances Fitzgerald takes her own life. Her husband, wealthy businessman Maximilian Stanhope, is rumoured to know more about her death than he's letting on, but nothing is ever proved.
A terrible secret: What is the connection between these two events? That's what Frances's daughter, Cara, wants to find out. Abandoned by her mother when she is just seven years old, her childhood is filled with hardship and loss. As a young woman she finds professional success as a journalist, but on a personal level, she still struggles to trust those around her. Soon Cara becomes convinced that uncovering the secret behind her mother's death is the only way to lay her demons to rest, but learning the truth may end up tearing her apart.
What do I want to say about Fallen Angels? First of all, I'm not even sure if it is the finished title. It's listed on GalleyGrab as Sins of the Mother, but that's not what it is listed as on Goodreads. So if you decide to read or order it, keep that in mind.
Epic book! I'd have to say it was pretty special. It was beautifully written and covered many vivid settings like Ireland, England, and Hollywood. The imagery and descriptions were well written but not overdone. I love the way old Hollywood was described. I could easily tell that the author had done her research. To me, most of the settings felt alive and they jumped off the page nicely.
The thing that stood out to me most about this story though, were the characters. It has been quite a long time since I have read characters that were as well-developed as these were. They were flawed, fragile, and felt very real. From the daughter Cara, who is in danger of following in the same footsteps as her messed up mother, to Frannie, the self-involved actress who comes to a tragic end. There weren't very many likeable characters to be had here, but that made what you were reading even more interesting.
I'd guess you could say Fallen Angels was women's fiction, but I think it goes much deeper than that. The target audience for this book is definitely women, but that doesn't mean a mad wouldn't enjoy reading it. It was filled with drama and kept me hooked because the story was so magical, but tragic at the same time. Action-filled and never a dull moment.
I was a little bit disappointed in the ending. The book was such a long and sweeping tale that I was kind of expecting the ending to just blow me away. And I wasn't shocked or surprised by the way it finished. Some of the events that took place I could see coming. There were a few surprises, but they didn't catch me by off guard like I was hoping they would. It's very hard to describe, but I was shocked and overwhelmed by the events in the book and I just felt the ending kind of petered out. Kind of like a Ferrari running on fumes. Or whatever. I stink at this.
I do highly recommend it though. And I hope Tara Hyland becomes more well-known than she is, because this book was a fantastic read. I have added her other book to my list and I look forward to reading it. If it's anywhere near as good as this one was, I'm sure I will enjoy it.
Pre-order Fallen Angels by clicking on the link or the book cover.
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