This is a gorgeous novel about loss and redemption. It’s about self discovery and finding out what you really believe. And I always enjoy a good PNW setting!
I am not usually a fan of magical realism but it worked for this coming of age story. I loved Angeline, but I wish this novel wasn’t written in third person. I would have preferred a first person narrative.
Full review to come on Goodreads and Amazon. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for a review copy.
I really loved this book! Learning how to become yourself after trauma and hardship and the community they all built together was wonderful. The story arc pulled me in and I read it so fast because of that!
Angeline's presence will seep into your mind and soul as you turn the pages of this captivating novel. It starts with a slow burn but quickly gains momentum, keeping you engrossed until the powerful ending engulfs you and then gently retreats. The characters are meticulously crafted, and their backgrounds are brilliantly constructed, captivating your attention, and refusing to let go.
The author's vivid details and descriptions transport you to a small island in the Pacific Northwest, where the air carries a tangy salt scent and the community relies on one another for everything.
Sister Angeline has spent the past seven years at the cloistered convent of the Daughters of Mercy in Chicago. However, when the Archdiocese of Chicago faces financial difficulties, the nuns are forced to find new places to go. Angeline is sent to the Light of the Sea convent on a tiny island, a stark contrast to the bustling noise of Chicago and the life she knew. The nuns on the island have a more laid-back approach, championing marches for good and conducting their own Sunday services. As Angeline slowly adapts to her new surroundings, she discovers a deep love for these remarkable women and the land that embraces them. This newfound connection grounds her and allows her to confront the haunting memories of losing her family at the age of sixteen, a burden that has weighed heavily on her every single day for the past seven years. Meanwhile, a storm begins to churn the waters around the island, culminating in a breathtaking conclusion that will leave tears welling in your eyes as miracles unfold before your very eyes.
This book is a truly unique reading experience, unlike anything I have encountered before. It possesses a power, evocativeness, and mastery of writing that gradually draws you in, compelling you to empathize with and alleviate the pain of every character you encounter. I extend my gratitude to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this extraordinary book.
i really liked the premise for this but the tone was a bit too cold for my taste as i had a hard time clicking with the story and characters.
When Sister Angeline is unwillingly sent to a radical convent after the one she’s been living in closes, her past traumas resurface and her very being is put to the test. On this rocky Pacific Northwest island that she now calls home, she shares land and yurts with five radical feminist nuns, each of who are well-rounded and individual characters in their rights, with their own backstory moments to shine, along with the regular interactions with several lovable and a few antagonist locals.
Whew, Anna Quinn accomplished an incredible fete with ANGELINE. A painful read at times, this book dives deeply into misogyny that surrounds women of all backgrounds in their day-to-day life, with a special lens focused on the church. Through the perspective of a nun who has submitted to the strict rules of the convent in an attempt to disappear from previous traumas, these pages are filled with the sense that community, resistance, and doing the right thing is far more progressive and loving than following the established system.
I was excited to read this as the blurb sounded like it would be right up my reading alley, but it fell a bit flat for me. Will still order a copy for circulation.
This was an interesting read. It was unpredictable, which is a plus. I really liked the main character and her evolution throughout the book, and most of the other characters were interesting as well. This is definitely not something I would have normally picked up, but I’m glad I did.
As someone who went through twelve years at a Catholic school, played the organ for mass through grade and high school, and was raised in a strict Catholic family, (and my friends and I used to joke about becoming cloister nuns) this book resonates with me. As an adult, I began to question things, to understand people can be good or bad whether they are in a position of power or not.
I loved Sister Angeline's journey (and the powerful gift she has,) the community of sisters who became her family, and her compassion for the children in the story.
The author doesn't take the easy road with the story, keeping you guessing how things will play out and who is lying. We all have secrets, and I loved the multi-dimensional characters showing how nobody is perfect, and how much our past can mold us.
Now I want to take a trip to the island where the story was based. It sounds wonderful! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book.
Loved it! I was honestly skeptical about this one - I'm not religious AT ALL and I just wasn't sure if this one would have that religious undertone that sometimes can be uncomfortable. It doesn't. It was fine. It was great. I was definitely fascinated by the lives of cloistered nuns, something I knew basically nothing about. And then the unsanctioned convent in the Pacific Northwest was equally fascinating. I felt like this was really a unique coming-of-age story as Angeline (or Meg) slowly learns who she is among the lovely cast of characters in her new convent. Wonderful story that is perfect for current times, about a small group of radical nuns who work together to tear down the patriarchy and disrupt the misogyny in their small world.
An engrossing story driven by the unique situation of its compelling protagonist, Angeline, who integrates a small feminist convent in the pacific northwest. At once a searing exploration of the Catholic faith and its values, as well as a character study of healing after trauma, the novel is written in stunning prose.
I found the ending to be a bit too neatly tied up, but overall this was a delightful, very unique little book.
Stunning and timely novel, that moves an extraordinary young woman from a cloistered convent in Chicago to an island in the Pacific Northwest. Filled with grace, compassion and beauty, the story also touches on current issues and the ugliness many are now experiencing. It slowly moves into a thriller, keeping one reading late into the night (at least this one).
I don't think I've ever read anything quite like this, and am still processing a great deal. Recommended. Will read again.
When she took a life of prayer, I felt that this was an easy way out for Angeline. Entering the convent, she would have very few choices in her life. Living a life as a nun, her life would be structured, safe, and she’d be closely watched. Angeline saw this as a safe option and as she prayed for those who were sick, troubled, or suffering, Angeline’s own horrible loss of her own family was still sitting in the back of her mind.
Her comfort zone came to end when the convent she had grown to love had to close. Angeline was moved to another facility which was more tolerant and liberal of the world around them. The strict convent rules of the past, in which Angeline had become comfortable with are now cast aside and she now must learn how to adapt. Dressed in jeans, the other nuns spent less time in prayer and more time in fellowship and other activities. Were greater things in store for her here or was this a new challenge that God placed before her, to strengthen her? Moving into a yurt, I had to smile thinking about Angeline adjusting to this more relaxed atmosphere.
An item inside her yurt brings back childhood memories and I saw a side of Angeline that she had been hiding. What brought this on? I had to know. The book picks up speed as someone begins threatening the Sisters in this convent but who would do that and why now? As we dig deeper into Angeline’s past, we find that she’s been hiding something special from everyone. Are these items related?
I enjoyed the character of Angeline, she felt childlike and innocent until her world took a turn. The storyline was not what I expected when I started reading this book, I enjoyed all the twists that the author added. Thank you to Blackstone Publishing, Anna Quinn, and NetGalley for my copy of this book. This review is my own opinion of this book. 4.5 stars
Meg was only sixteen years old when she joined a cloistered convent. She believes she is responsible for the car accident that killed her entire family and unborn child. Her way of repenting is to join the convent and take a vow of silence, praying for other people’s suffering. Meg (or Sister Angeline) is transferred to an unconventional convent in the Pacific Northwest when her convent is closed due to a lack of funds. The nuns at that convent are quirky. They believe in the power to use their voices, aren’t cloistered, and do not follow the Catholic Church’s laws. Angeline touches lives with several people during her first months there: an abused child who is being failed by the system, an angry teenager, the teenager’s EMT father who has survivor’s guilt, and a priest who is losing his congregation to the nuns Sunday masses. Angeline also discovers a power for healing that she thought was lost. Will Angeline stay at the convent? Will she be able to heal and help everyone whose life she has touched? Will she be able to forgive herself?
Meg (or Sister Angeline) was the main character in Angeline. I wasn’t sure of her at the beginning of the book, but that was because I didn’t know her entire story. But as I read the book and got a good look at who she was, I was heartbroken for everything she had endured. I also felt that her being transferred to the convent in the Pacific Northwest was suitable for her. Being around those eccentric nuns helped her accept what happened to her. They also made her see that the world wasn’t to be shut away but to be enjoyed.
Speaking of the nuns, I loved them. They were sassy and weren’t afraid to tell people like it was. Of course, they each had their backstory, and how the author introduced those backstories was terrific. One nun had a son who was murdered by gun violence. Another was under political asylum. Another was a raging feminist who was vocal about LGBTQ/abortion rights. And two were mysteries, and I didn’t expect their backstories. It was those backstories that framed Angeline’s story.
As I detailed in the plot summary, Angeline suffered an immense loss. Her loss is an essential part of the main storyline. As was Angeline’s horror of being transferred to a convent with rebel nuns. But, like her Mother Superior, I thought it best for her. And it was. Angeline was able to connect with so many people on the island. She even tried to help a few of them. I loved how the author wove a paranormal element into the book about halfway through and made it an essential part of the storyline. It was almost believable because of the way the author wrote it.
There are some scarier elements to Angeline. They crop up around the middle of the book and aren’t resolved until the end. Be warned, some of these elements can get a little intense (mainly with the priest).
The end of Angeline felt rushed and tacked on. While the author wrapped up all the storylines, I was left with a bad feeling. Mainly because I didn’t like how the ending was.
I recommend Angeline to anyone over 21. There is violence, some mild language, and nongraphic sexual situations.
Many thanks to Blackstone Publishing, NetGalley, and Anna Quinn for allowing me to read and review Angeline. All opinions stated in this review are mine.
My sincere thanks to
@AnnaQuinnAuthor @BlackStonePublishing @KateRockBookTours for my gifted book. My thoughts are my own.
SHORT SYNOPSIS: Sister Angeline is a traditional nun who is sent to a very untraditional “convent” on the west coast. She suddenly finds herself with a small group of whiskey-drinking, cursing nuns who live in yurts and run an all-inclusive service on Sundays. However, these nuns are loving and kind and they stand up for what they believe.
In the midst of searching her soul for relief from her past, Angeline comes to terms with the differences of those around her. She does all of this while she helps others.
MY THOUGHTS: This thought-provoking story was different from my usual reads! However, I enjoyed reading Sister Angeline’s emotional story; and, I was surprised at some of the issues that came up in a story about nuns. Sister Angeline turned out to be a lovable and vulnerable character, and I admired how she was kind to others, in spite of her own sadness.
Though the book has 350 pages, it felt like a quick read because the drama unfolded quickly and moved at a good pace.
Read this if you enjoy emotional and introspective stories!
🦇 Book Review 🦇
❝ "Do not let shame trick you into thinking you're less than, unworthy, unlovable. You are worthy of being loved. You are worthy of forgiveness. Self-love and self-forgiveness will bring you into a higher expression of yourself. You must align with love—love with a capital L!—because that, my dearest friends, is the only thing that will save us." ❞
❓ #QOTD What was your last five-star read? ❓
🦇 After losing her family in a tragedy, sixteen-year-old Meg dedicates her life to God and prayer in a cloistered convent with the name Sister Angeline. When the convent can no longer stay open, she's sent to a "progressive" convent in the Pacific Northwest. The nuns at the Light of the Sea are unconventional; radical, feminist nuns willing to protest, using their voices to excite change while serving those on their little, rocky island. As Sister Angeline adapts to her new surroundings, she comes to accept the beautifully strange powers god has given her to heal those in need.
💜 Anna Quinn explores themes of grief, self-forgiveness, and faith with poignant poetic prose that draws you in from the start. The third-person point of view at first seems to distance us from Sister Angeline, only to invite us to explore the pain she navigates. This story is as mysterious as it is inspiring, magical and yet drenched in the realism of loss and acceptance. With open minds and hearts, the other nuns show her how to accept people without entirely abandoning her faith. From the synopsis, readers might expect a book too focused on traditional religion, but Quinn toes the line between traditional and modern, demonstrating hypocrisy in old-fashioned perceptions while casting a light on what "acceptance" truly means. The writing flows with ease, the poetry of Quinn's word choice adding to its sense of magic while remaining honest, tugging at heartstrings, and inspiring readers all in a single line.
🦇 I don't hand out five-star reviews easily, but I could find minimal fault with this novel. Each of the nuns at the Light of the Sea has their own unique story, their own pains and losses. Though I do wish we'd learned more about each nun, the lack of detail we're given further speaks to Sister Angeline's self-isolation. That being said, the epilogue felt a little overkill; like a fan-service bow a TV show might use to wrap up a series with a happily ever after.
🦇 Angeline will pleasantly surprise you. Quinn's prose is singular, unique enough to continue echoing within your heart and mind for days after you put this book down. I recommend this book as a must-read for the year, as a reminder that ❝ Cruel acts happen in this world and must be overwhelmed with acts of love. ❞
💙 Poetic Prose
💙 A Dash of Magic
🦇 Major thanks to the author and publisher for providing an ARC of this book via Netgalley. 🥰 This does not affect my opinion regarding the book.
Original & moving. Beautifully written. #Angeline is a unique & wonderful female protagonist. #AnnaQuinn is a true talent. Thank you, Anna Quinn, BlackStone Publishing & Netgalley for my gifted copy. All opinions are my own.
I truly didn't know what I was going into with this one but wow was it truly an astounding coming of mid age book. A book about coming to terms and embracing your past. Thank you Blackstone.
Meg is not your typical young adult. When she was sixteen, the sudden loss of her entire family (as well as her own secret, unborn child) inspired her to immerse herself in a life of faith. Now 24, she is Sister Angeline in a cloistered convent where she finds comfort in isolation and prayers for others. Her world is rocked when her prioress informs her that the archdiocese of Chicago is closing the convent due to a decline in both staffing and funding, and she is being sent to Light of the Sea convent in the Pacific northwest. This progressive group is vastly different from what she is accustomed to, and she is reluctant to go. Once there, she is welcomed by the other nuns, but she is hesitant to embrace the progressive atmosphere, where the women move freely about the community, hold their own services (without the leadership of a male priest), and wear regular clothing. Angeline retains her “sister” title and her habit, desperately holding on to the familiar. As she relaxes into her new life, she begins to cherish the ragtag group she is now a part of, seeing the needs of the townspeople and how her convent is meeting them, and recognizing others’ losses that she can relate to. Angeline is increasingly drawn out of her self-imposed seclusion even as the convent is targeted by an anonymous bully. This is a delight, with exquisite writing and memorable characters.