Fallen Angels by Tara Hyland
|Fallen Angels by Tara Hyland|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Louise Laurie|
|Summary: A panoramic, sweeping novel covering three generations of women in the same family. From the poverty of Ireland to the glamour of Hollywood, we witness the high and lows of these three women.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 496||Date: September 2011|
|Publisher: Simon & Schuster|
|External links: Author's website|
The front cover suggests romance with a capital 'R' along with the rather sugary title. The blurb on the back tells us we'll be travelling back and forth between various parts of the globe. The story opens with the Prologue: San Francisco in 1958 and there's a new-born baby girl taken to a local orphanage. It's a common occurrence sadly but this one stands out. We're told why towards the end when all the pieces of the jig-saw come together.
A good opener I thought and which got me interested in the story straight away. Then we swoop back to 1946 and to the lives of a poor family in County Cork, Ireland. And amongst the bare-foot and raggedy children running all over the place, there's one who stands out. Franny. She's pretty, vivacious, feisty and is a magnet for the local boys. Her mother worries that her daughter will end up pregnant before too long. She doesn't have long to wait. The father does a runner and the teenage Franny decides to leave home and start a new life in London.
A brave move with a baby on the way and very little money to survive. Hyland's language is a little gushy-gushy but I suppose you could argue that this helps with the theme of the book - romance in all its manifestations. Let me give you a little snippet - Franny ... had been born to stand out ... Along with her vibrant auburn hair, she had large, mischievous green eyes, skin like freshly churned butter-cream ... Her soft, voluptuous body would give Lana Turner a run for her money ... Having said that, Hyland tells a good story.
We learn a lot about Franny. Although she's extremely feminine and loves male company, she also seems to have some inner strength. She'll need to draw on it in the months ... and years to come. She delivers a healthy baby girl and somehow they get by, day to day. An older woman, also Irish takes pity on Franny and looks out for her. She has a large family herself, no husband to support her and has known plenty of hard times too. A couple of extra mouths to feed is neither here nor there. But Franny ends up paying her way and the two women strike up a warm friendship. This friendship is tested to the limit in future years.
And it's not long before there's a man on scene. Very good-looking and full of Irish charm. Although Franny is attracted to him, she's already had her fingers burnt - so will she learn her lesson? In this part of the book we learn quite a bit about Irish families eking out a living in London in the 1940s and 50s. It was generally a tough life. Poverty, over-crowding and squalor were rife and commonplace. But throughout all this greyness, Franny seems to shine like a beacon. Is she destined for better things? Hyland tells us in her own good time. But sometimes there's a price to pay as we try and climb the ladder of success. In Franny's case it's an extremely high price indeed. As Franny's daughter grows up, we see how her life turns out. Plenty of adventures and that's putting it mildly. We also see how the past can haunt the present and cause havoc and heartbreak.
This is a big, sweeping story. It's almost like two, or even three books in one. We cover many decades and several continents in great detail as we follow the lives of the main female characters. I enjoyed this book (I wasn't expecting to enjoy it quite so much I have to admit) a big part of it was down to Hyland's good narrative voice and good storyline; although she can be overly sentimental and cliched at times. Plenty of twists and turns to keep most readers happy, I would think and overall, an engaging romantic read.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals then you might like to try Never be Lonely by Pamela Fudge.
You can read more book reviews or buy Fallen Angels by Tara Hyland at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Fallen Angels by Tara Hyland at Amazon.com.
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