I love hearing where writers get their ideas for stories and Alice Hoffman never disappoints. For thoughts and insight into this novel and its author, click on over here.
From the back of the book: In The Third Angel, Alice Hoffman weaves a magical and stunningly original story that charts the lives of three women in love with the wrong men: Headstrong Madeline Heller finds herself hopelessly attracted to her sister’s fiance. Frieda Lewis, a doctor’s daughter and a runaway, becomes the muse of an ill-fated rock star. And beautiful Bryn Evans is set to marry an Englishman while secretly obsessed with her ex-husband. At the heart of the novel is Lucy Green, who blames herself for a tragic accident she witnessed at the age of twelve, and who spends four decades searching for the Third Angel- the angel on Earth who will renew her faith.
Review: Like all of Alice Hoffman’s novels, there is that element of magical realism which I love in a book. She is able to touch upon the supernatural in a completely believable manner. The story begins with Maddy’s story, which I did not like all that much. She sleeps with her sister’s fiance, who is a cold and distant man who is dying. I couldn’t buy into her love for Paul, it seemed as there was nothing about him to love. I struggled through this first section. However, I have never known Alice Hoffman to disappoint and so I kept reading. The following two sections were much better and I flew through these. In the next two sections we get the story of Frieda, Paul’s mother, and then Lucy, Maddy’s mother. All three women’s stories are connected by the ghost of Michael Macklin and of course, by the Third Angel, the one who saves us through human compassion. All these women experience heartbreak and loss, and they all still believe “love is more complicated than it seemed.”
The author includes an afterword, entitled “The Story Within the Story”. She states: “I didn’t realize until after I was through writing that the novel could be read backward or forward and that a reader’s understanding and knowledge of the story and the characters would be hugely different depending on what he or she knew of didn’t about the past.” I wonder how this story would have been different if it hadn’t started with Maddy’s story. I understand why it began this way, I just connected so much more to both Lucy and Frieda and would have connected to the novel as a whole much earlier if it had begun with one of them.