Monday, February 20, 2017

For Love of Family

"I did it only for him actually"
--Penny Vincenzi, No Angel

: Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Pages: 626
Publication Date: October 5th, 2004
Source: Gifted by Hannah--thanks, love!
Previous Books in Series: First in trilogy
Find on: Goodreads | Amazon

My Thoughts

The Belle
This sat on my shelf for way too long after being gifted to me by Hannah about 2 years ago. Its a tome. 600+ pages, tiny print, and even knowing this book was right up my alley based on thy synopsis I still dragged my feet on committing to it. I regret this decision.
No Angel is an epic family saga, the first in a trilogy, about a Celia and Oliver Lytton and their clandestine meeting and their subsequent forced marriage after Celia gets pregnant on purpose in order to marry him. See, Oliver is not in her "class" if you will. She, the daughter of an earl,  and he, the son of a book publisher. From there we are witness to the next 13 years of their life including so many surrounding family member and friends.

Family saga is the perfect descriptor of this book. I love books like this. The length of them usually includes a fantastically dense characterization of all the characters. We truly get to know them at their best, their worst, and everything in between. There's something weird about me that books that really delve into character development, especially the ugly parts, enchant me. I feel surrounded by the story, their lives, their struggles, everything. This book was no exception as I was utterly engrossed with the lives of Celia and Oliver Lytton.

The characters, and we meet a lot of them, are all imperfect, flawed, human characters. I loved this. Getting to know their siblings and friends was incredible and I really felt like we got such a fantastic understanding of all parties involved and how their lives were all entangled.

An overall theme of this book was a bit of everything happens for a reason. There are so many people we meet and so many of their lives intertwine and click together that you get to see how so many small decisions or situations interlock to make things happen. It was incredible to me how bad things turn into good, good into bad, and everything in between. I was clutching the book white-knuckled at one point towards the end when I was waiting for one conflict to be resolved; it was crazy!

It's hard to review this as I don't want to give too much away about the plot because there's so much that happens over 13 years. I will say this, I really enjoyed all the different plot points. We see them go through WWI and it's devastation, their children, marriages, business affairs, and so much more. Overall the plotting and pacing of the book was spot on. It was a slow lull of engagement and every time I put the book down I wanted to pick it back up. I finished this 600+ page monster in about 4 days and 2 of those I had orientation at work all day. It was ADDICTING!

The Beast
While I enjoy seeing the underbelly of character's personalities, there was one component of the plot that I hated. It didn't seem completely consistent with the characters and just didn't feel right. More so than that, the one area of the book where I thought the pacing was beyond sluggish and repetitive was 100% surrounding this conflict. I felt like I was on a merry-go-round reading the same thing over and over and over again. When it FINALLY ended, I was ecstatic! That is my only 'Beast' of the book and without it, it would have been easily 5 stars but because this part not only dragged but ticked me off, it's like 4.75.

Backstage Pass
If you love family saga, family drama, and historical fiction...this book is for you.


  1. This book sounds like everything I look for in a story. Great review, adding to my TBR!

    1. It was so great! I hope you enjoy it when you read it!!

  2. I haven't read a novel that's a long family saga in a very long time! I find those kinds of stories fascinating for similar reasons, since it's always real interesting to get to know these characters in a way that makes them fully dimensional. Definitely adding this to my list to check out!


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