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REVIEW: Angels Fall by Nora Roberts

Dear Ms. Roberts:

Angels FallThanks for stopping by. How fortuitous since I picked up your book at Costco ($14.19) and read it this week.

Angels Fall features Reece Gilmore, a young woman who suffered a terrible emotional trauma in Boston as she was just embarking on a career as a chef at one of the hottest Boston restaurants. She ran away from Boston because of those memories and found herself Angel Fist, Wyoming. Her car breaks down and while she is waiting to get her vehicle, she sees a sign at a local diner seeking a cook. Reece is a woman who is living just one day at a time. One day, while hiking, Reece sees a murder committed but there is no physical evidence to support her and many people begin to believe that her trauma induced mind is giving mass to her terror.

Watching this brave, strong woman overcome the trauma of her past was worthwhile even without the romance. The romance was like frosting on a delectable cake. There should be no mistake about it; this book contains a strong romance thread. Brody is a writer who gave up a career at the Chicago Tribune over a year ago. He's a surly male whose no nonsense approach to life is exactly what Reece needs. He never coddles her. He never pities her.

Why I liked the romance and Brody in particular is a bit of a spoiler. I thought Brody was impossibly romantic. Here is a woman who many people believe is crazy. Brody does not. He is her lighthouse in the storm. Her rock in the river. When push comes to shove, Brody is solidly on Reece's side of the fence and never once wavers. Those actions show me more than any amounts of endless exposition that not only does Brody love Reece, but he will love her forever, no matter what, amen.

My favorite part of this story was the development of the relationship between Brody and Reece from attraction to love. The attraction was instantaneous, but love happened overtime. I also think that dialogue can make or break a book. In this book, the dialogue sparkled. The humor was sly and smart.

“None I can’t unearth. Come on, give me some dish. My own love life’s been as sparse as Pete’s hairline lately.”
‘”Hey! My hair’s just taking a little rest between growing seasons.” Pete slicked a hand over what hair he had left. “And I can feel my scalp starting to tingle in anticipation of a new crop.”
“Need some more fertilizer. Is he a good kisser”” Linda-gail demanded.
“Pete? Amazing. I’m a puddle at his feet. Order up.” Reece said when she’d finished plating the burgers, fries, and the little tubs of coleslaw she already knew would go to waste on the high-school crowd.
“I’ll get it out of you sooner or later.” After gathering up the plates, Linda-gail sashayed out.
“I am an amazing kisser,” Pete announced. “Just FYI.”
“I never doubted it.”

“Let me think about it. Why couldn’t you sleep?”
“How do I know? The doctor’s got some sort of holistic tea he wants me to try.”
“Sex is a good sedative.”
“Maybe. Especially, for instance, if your partner’s on the inadequate side. You can catch a quick nap during the act.”
“I can promise you won’t sleep through it.”

Here’s the problem with your book. I mentioned the other day at Keishon’s blog how editing problems didn’t bother me, but I was shocked to see how many editing issues there were in this book. I would have thought a NR hardcover would get special editing attention. Maybe it was a stylistic thing but there many phrases were made into sentences without a subject and verb. There were frequent missing quotation marks, weird punctuation errors and the like. There were a lot of run on sentences and a few sentences that I didn't understand. Here is just a tiny sampling.

“Maybe I saw a couple of people in an altercation, but it wasn’t murder. Which is why no one’s reported anyone like her missing.”

It’s good, it’s really close.

He ate, he drank, he watched her.

This sentence I don’t understand:

“The more crowded the cities and the burbs get, the more people want a place that isn’t for their alternative time.”

You were a little heavy handed on the symbolism, but not so much that I felt like you were talking down to me (unlike the recent Feehan book I read). And okay, this is another stupid niggle, but you have the two of them out in the canoe and you put Reece, a novice in the stern, and Brody in the bow. Traditionally, a canoe is steered from the stern. An inexperienced canoer could wreak havoc with someone trying to steer from the bow.

The editing issues and the tiny niggles aside, this was a very good story and I am not at all regretful that I bought the hardcover. B+ for you.

Best regards,

Jane

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

12 Comments

  1. Jorrie Spencer
    Jul 15, 2006 @ 09:34:18

    This sounds like my kind of story. Thanks for the review!

  2. Sunny Lyn
    Jul 15, 2006 @ 14:07:58

    Thanks for reviewing this one – it’s on my wish list now.

  3. Meljean
    Jul 15, 2006 @ 18:03:33

    Ten years ago I beta-read a story for someone, and had to say the same thing about the canoe (I know, dumb thing to mention, it just struck me as funny).

    The editing issues: the last is a bit awkward (a clarification of isn’t=crowded might have made it smoother) but in dialogue, I’m a lot less picky as a reader than when it’s not quite clear in the narrative sections. But the others are fine; a stylistic choice, to be certain (Roberts uses comma splices to great effect in many of her books, giving it that staccato effect — but it jarred me the first couple of times until I accepted it as a voice thing) but I don’t think incorrect.

    (“He ate, he drank, he watched her” just as an example — the comma splice is accepted because of the short phrases … like, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Much more effective than adding that “and” in there, too.)

    But then, I drop things like “there are” or “it was” from the beginning of sentences all the time, just because I hate them and they seem useless. So I might not be one to talk, and I’m sure it’ll bother at least a couple of people.

    Great review — I haven’t picked up many non-Robb books lately, but I think I’m going to have to get this one.

  4. Jane
    Jul 15, 2006 @ 19:49:53

    I just wondered if there should be more periods between those full sentences. I came. I saw. I conquered.

    It’s really good [period] It’s really close [period]. It seemed like the commas were used where the periods should have been and vice versa.

  5. Meljean
    Jul 15, 2006 @ 22:11:15

    I can see it that way, too — I think the period is more correct (or maybe just more accepted/common). The commas aren’t wrong, though — just unusual; I can see why an editor wouldn’t change them, particularly as they are Roberts’s ‘style’ (er, whatever that means).

    I wouldn’t have ever used the commas like that in high school, to be certain. Now I would, if it fit the story.

  6. Devonna
    Jul 16, 2006 @ 17:05:17

    The only Nora Roberts books I’ve read were the Calhoun series that was done in the 90′s. I’m always looking for new things to read, and everyone I’ve talked to who reads Nora loves her. I’ll definitely have to add this to my TBR pile!

  7. Jane
    Jul 16, 2006 @ 21:34:11

    Meljean: Thanks for the clarification. I think I just have “editing issues” on the mind. I don’t know that it really detracted from the story.

    Devonna: I haven’t read any of those really old Nora Roberts although I do own some of them. I like many of her single title books – Carnal Innocence being my fave. Love Tucker. Sigh. How delicious of a character is he?

  8. Jorrie Spencer
    Jul 16, 2006 @ 21:42:56

    I’ve been meaning to read Carnal Innocence for ages and yet haven’t.

    After the Chesapeake Bay series, one of my Roberts’s faves is Carolina Moon. I don’t know if that book is commonly a fave or not, but I loved the hero/heroine interaction, and I also loved the secondary heroine (if that’s what you might call her). In a lot of other books, she would have been plain bad, but Roberts did something more interesting with her. Imo.

  9. Nora Roberts
    Jul 17, 2006 @ 06:36:36

    Jane, I’m glad you liked the book. I’m annoyed with myself for simply assuming a canoe-dummy would sit in the back–a reminder to check everything.

  10. Jane
    Jul 17, 2006 @ 07:14:39

    [quote comment="2233"]I’ve been meaning to read Carnal Innocence for ages and yet haven’t.

    After the Chesapeake Bay series, one of my Roberts’s faves is Carolina Moon. [/quote]

    Not that la nora needs a book pimp, but I loved Carnal Innocence. It features one of my favorite all time heroes and the heroine wasn’t half bad. The villian was a surprise to me (which is generally the case, lol).

    I liked but did not love the Chesapeak Bay series. I tend to like the non woo woo Roberts’ books but am pretty excited to read the paranormal trilogy from her this fall.

    [quote comment="2235"]I’m annoyed with myself for simply assuming a canoe-dummy would sit in the back–a reminder to check everything.[/quote]

    I guess it’s time to fess up here. I canoed alot as a kid. My dad was a scout master. I don’t know that everyone would notice this, other than Meljean and I.

  11. spyscribbler
    Aug 26, 2006 @ 00:39:02

    Maybe it was a stylistic thing but there many phrases were made into sentences without a subject and verb.

    As they say, one must know the rules, to break them. Beethoven scandalized many of the musicians of his day with all the rules that he broke. But ;) in breaking them, he not only stamped his music with his voice, but he changed music forever. He’s a master.

    If we write everything grammatically correct, our writing will read like a school report and all authors will sound similar. Ick. Some words are better left skipped. Even subjects and verbs, sometimes.

    Nora knows the rules. Nora breaks them with intent. I like authors who manipulate and use the English language with purpose, even when they break rules. She writes with command, and I like that.

    I was a little disappointed in this book. The question of her past trauma went unanswered so long that I got frustrated and skipped ahead. I then went to Part Three and read to the end. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like I had missed a thing, so I didn’t go back to read the two thirds of the book that I’d skipped.

    Angels Fall is the very first Nora book that I haven’t read cover to cover, and it’s the very first Nora book that I don’t want to re-read. But maybe I don’t like it so much because I didn’t read it cover to cover.

    Who knows?

  12. Nora Roberts Beats Out Al Gore in Literary Prize | Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary
    Oct 23, 2007 @ 09:50:03

    [...] book, Angels Fall, was the voted as the best romance of the year, but last night it also took the book of the year. [...]

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