Title : Small Angels
Author : Lauren Owen
Publisher : Headline/ Hachette India
Pages : 400
Genre : Gothic Horror
A wedding in a small English village attracts a malicious spirit, forcing deep secrets to surface–a hypnotic tale of sisterhood, first love, and hauntings.
As a teenager, Kate found a safe harbor from her parents’ constant fighting in the company of the four Gonne sisters, who lived with their strict grandparents next to Small Angels, a church on the edge of dense green woods. The first outsider to ever get close to the sisters, Kate eventually learned the family’s secret: The woods are home to a capricious, menacing ghost whom generations of Gonnes had been charged with stopping from venturing into the village itself. But as the sisters grew older, braver, and more independent, bucking against the family’s burden, the bulwark began to crack, culminating in a horrifying act of violence that drove a terrible wedge between the sisters and Kate.
Chloe has been planning her dream wedding for months. She has the dress, the flowers, and the perfect venue: Small Angels, a charming old church in the village where her fiancé, Sam, and his sister, Kate, grew up. But days before the ceremony, Chloe starts to hear unsettling stories about Small Angels–and worse, she begins to see, smell, and hear things that couldn’t possibly be real.
Now Kate is returning home for the first time in years, for Sam and Chloe’s wedding. But the woods are coming alive again, and Kate must reconnect with Lucia, the most troubled of the sisters and her first love, to protect Chloe, the village, and herself. An unforgettable novel about the memories that hold us back and those that show us the way forward–this is storytelling at its most magical. Enter Small Angels, if you dare.
The moment I held Small Angels, I felt drawn to it. Something about the Mockbeggar woods, the mystery surrounding it, the uncanny narrative and the unspoken danger all came to life at once. A secluded church at the edge of Mockbeggar, a wedding, a disaster waiting to happen. What happens when one tries to shake the cobwebs of a past that is untamed and dangerous? It’s Sam and Chloe’s wedding, and the entire village is invited to the church of Small Angels. But with an ancient rage threatening to spill over the edges of Mockbeggar, how safe are things going to be? I loved how the entire story has been carried out, alternating between the past and the present.
The villagers say when it comes to Mockbeggar, you must “leave it to the Gonnes”. It’s their business to deal with the malicious and it’s okay to look the other way. However, they’re now about to pay the price for their ignorance. Lucia Gonne isn’t really a likable character, but I get her, eventually. She isn’t really Lucia-the bad as her Nan portrays her to be, she’s just curious. But sometimes the price to curiosity is life itself and she learns that the hard way. I loved Kate the most. She doesn’t appear to be the protagonist at first, but she grips her ground soon, establishing her importance. Chloe is a timid character but she means well. When the Gonnes were described from the pov of the villagers, I found them weird. But when I read their povs, I found they’re very human too. We judge people so often without realising the stuff they’re probably going through. The relationship that the Gonnes have with the other villagers is somewhat based on this ideology. They’re seperated, isolated, left to deal with the unknown on their own when it should have been their collective responsibility.
I would say I was teeny-bit disappointed with that ending though. I guess I wanted more.
Small Angels is a gothic horror that tells the story of love, betrayal, sacrifice and loss through an essence that is otherworldly yet starkly human.
PS : I received an invitation card to Sam and Chloe’s wedding. I think I’ll skip it though 🤭 Kudos to @headlinebooks for the innovative idea 😍 I used it as a bookmark and it felt like I was indeed invited to the wedding.