by Anna Quinn
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Pub Date 07 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 21 Feb 2023
From the bestselling author of The Night Child.
When Sister Angeline is unwillingly sent to a radical convent, her tragic past resurfaces and her very being is put to the test.
After surviving a tragedy that killed her entire family, sixteen-year-old Meg joins a cloistered convent, believing it is her life’s work to pray full time for the suffering of others. Taking the name Sister Angeline, she spends her days and nights in silence, moving from one prayerful hour to the next. She prays for the hardships of others, the sick and poor, the loved ones she lost, and her own atonement.
When the Archdiocese of Chicago runs out of money to keep the convent open, she is torn from her carefully constructed life and sent to a progressive convent on a rocky island in the Pacific Northwest. There, at the Light of the Sea, five radical feminist nuns have their own vision of faithful service. They do not follow canonical law, they do not live a cloistered life, and they believe in using their voices for change.
As Sister Angeline struggles to adapt to her new home, she must navigate her grief, fears, and confusions, while being drawn into the lives of a child in crisis, an angry teen, an EMT suffering survivor’s guilt, and the parish priest who is losing his congregation to the Sisters’ all-inclusive Sunday masses. Through all of this, something seems to have awakened in her, a healing power she has not experienced in years that could be her saving grace, or her downfall.
In Angeline, novelist Anna Quinn explores the complexity of our past selves and the discovery of our present truth; the enduring imprints left by our losses, forgiveness and acceptance, and why we believe what we believe. Affecting and beautifully told, Angeline is both poignant and startling and will touch the hearts of anyone who has ever asked themselves: When your foundations crumble and you’ve lost yourself, how do you find the strength to go on? Do you follow your heart or the rules?
A Note From the Publisher
"Sister Angeline is a character for the ages. Anna Quinn has created a deeply moving portrait of a great soul at the precipice of faith and duty and the shadows of a wrenching past. It’s beautiful, and like all true beauty, the book is haunting, if not haunted."
—Luis Alberto Urrea, Pulitzer Prize finalist and bestselling author of The Devil's Highway and The House of Broken Angels
“I love novels that bring a place to life and in this Anna Quinn does not disappoint. In her second novel, she masterfully creates an island in the Pacific Northwest that jumps off the page and begs to be visited. On this island she places an avant-garde religious order of nuns who have been summarily excommunicated by the Pope for various feminist infractions. No matter to the members of the renegade convent, which houses itself in a collection of yurts and offers Sunday services to the people of the island. A nun called Sister Angeline joins them, having been sent there by a Mother Superior who knows that the radical alteration in Angeline’s preferred lifestyle of silence, contemplation, bodily punishment, and prayer needs some serious changes. Light of the Sea ‘convent’ will definitely provide that. The characters Angeline encounters are quirky and wise. The place she finds them in is a balm to her soul. She needs to be relieved of the burdens she carries from her past, and the renegade nuns are the ones to get her started. Angeline is a read that has everything: place, characters, and social issues, all delivered by the author in a way that never even verges on becoming a polemic.”
—Elizabeth George, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Anna Quinn’s novels dive deep into the human psyche, exploring our capacity to harm and heal. Angeline is a call to open arms, a clear-eyed view of our often-flawed humanity, and how the power of compassion can change everything. It is a novel of gorgeous sentences and beautiful messages. It left me feeling stronger, wiser, and in complete awe.”
—Erica Bauermeister, New York Times bestselling author of The Scent Keeper
“Quinn is a powerful writer who straddles the depth of despair and the height of joy with grace and beauty. Her story is both lyrical and terrifying, and, for those of us who so desperately want to believe, a breath of fresh air in a world we’re not sure we want to occupy. Angeline is a book to be treasured.”
—Barbara Conrey, USA Today bestselling author of Nowhere Near Goodbye
“A compassionate page-turner that is at once a gripping thriller and a deep examination of grief, Anna Quinn’s Angeline takes us from the cloistered halls of a Chicago convent to an island in the Pacific Northwest where a group of remarkable women have created a community on their own terms. Filled with memorable characters and startling events, Angeline illuminates the power of nature, friendship, and self-acceptance to heal the most painful of wounds. Writing with lyricism, grace, and insight, Anna Quinn reminds us of our shared suffering, our shared humanity, and the possibility of transformation even in the darkest of times.”
—JoAnne Tompkins, bestselling author of What Comes After
“[A] mystical, marvelous tale of love and loss and growth, a story that takes place at the fascinating intersection of twenty-first-century realism and centuries-old faith. The language is pure poetry, and the story is both mysterious and inevitable, terrifying and inspiring. A beautifully plotted novel that will cling to the reader for a very long time.”
—Louisa Morgan, author of A Secret History of Witches
"Through the evocative prose and story that is Anna Quinn's Angeline, we're reminded that grief is complex and dynamic and that, sometimes, taking a leap of faith can be the ultimate healing experience. This is the perfect read for anyone who believes in miracles, or wants to believe."
—Meg Waite Clayton, author of the international bestsellers The Postmistress of Paris and The Last Train to London
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Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 37 members
You'd think a novel set in a cloistered convent populated by nuns following vows of silence would a sleeper. Guess again. Anna Quinn’s Angeline blasts that notion out of the water.
Teenaged Meg is the only survivor of an automobile accident that kills her entire family. Stricken with guilt, she joins a cloistered convent to pray for the suffering of others—and hopefully obliterate her self. She takes the name Sister Angeline and spends her days in silence and prayer. The Archdiocese of Chicago closes the convent due to lack of funds. Angeline is thrust into a new life when she's assigned to a radical convent in the Pacific Northwest run by feminists. They break every rule Angeline has spent years internalizing, and she struggles to adapt. When her new home is threatened, she musters the strength to fight back, to relinquish her fear and grief, to open herself to new places, new people, new freedoms.
I like Anna Quinn’s writing. Her prose is near-poetic as she explores how our past lives affect our current states, how we reform, recuperate, and grow. Angeline is poignant but not teary and combines the mystical with millennia-old beliefs and twenty-first century front page news. This is a truly lovely novel that develops into an exciting thriller.
Anna Quinn writes with a gentle voice for her sweet character, Sister Angeline. Meg lost her family in a car accident when she was a teenager. Feeling boundless grief and loss, Meg joined a private group of nuns and took the name Sister Angeline, spending seven years in silence and prayer. Angeline suffers but finds comfort in her quiet life of worship and work for the church.
News of a necessary change (lack of money closes the convent) throws Angeline into a severe panic. The mother superior decided she would benefit from joining a different kind of nunnery in Washington. The nuns there are not living in silence. They are the opposite of everything Angeline has known for a long time. The young nun's only choice is to follow the new placement or leave the religious life.
Reaching the new group on an island in Washington from her Chicago home is a test of endurance in overcoming severe fear and panic. But the trip is easy compared to what awaits the vulnerable young woman in her new home. Angeline is so well-written and captivating. I'm sure it will win the hearts of everyone who reads it, as it did mine.
Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.
Angeline by Anna Quinn is a powerful yet truthful story.
Meg who who is sixteen years old has been through hell and back.
She joins a cloistered convent and then takes the name Sister Angeline.
She is a survivor, she is a lot stronger than I would I be. I couldn't imagine living the life this girl has endured.
Quinn gives a very real and raw insight into Sister Angeline's story.
Her writing is excellent and flows easily throughout the entire novel.
The characters in this book are so well written and developed.
I've never been in this characters shoes before, but honestly I felt so connected to her and her story.
Masterfully written and very intriguing read.
It was definitely hard for me to put down.
“I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”
Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!
I will post my review to my blog, platforms, BookBub, B&N, Kobo and Waterstone closer to pub date.