Thursday, September 4, 2008

Book Review: Angel Falling Softly by Eugene Woodbury


Over the past six months, Rachel Forsythe's perfect life has descended from the ideal to the tragic. The younger of her two daughters is dying of cancer. Despite her standing as the wife of a respected Mormon bishop, neither God nor medical science has blessed her with a cure. Or has He?

Milada Daranyi, chief investment officer at Daranyi Enterprises International, has come to Utah to finalize the takeover of a Salt Lake City-based medical technology company. Bored with her downtown hotel accommodations, she rents a house in the Sandy suburbs.

And then the welcome wagon shows up. Her neighbors perceive her to be a beautiful, intelligent, and daunting young woman. But Rachel senses something about Milada that leads her in a completely different—and very dangerous—direction.

Rachel's suspicions are right: Milada is homo lamia. A vampire. Fallen. And possibly the only person in the world who can save Rachel's daughter. Uncovering Milada's secrets, Rachel becomes convinced that, as Milton writes, "all this good of evil shall produce."

As the two women push against every moral boundary in order to protect their families, the price of redemption will prove higher than either of them could have possibly imagined.


When I first saw the cover of this book and read the above blurb, I was intrigued - especially since I had just finished reading the first three books in the Stephenie Meyer Twilight series. My first thought was - cool. I loved Stephenie's books, which were written in such a basically clean way. I was looking forward to eventually reading Angel Falling Softly, to see what they came up with in the LDS genre.

I was very surprised (and flattered) when I received an email directly from Zarahemla Books (the publisher) asking me to read and review Angel Falling Softly. Of course, I immediately said YES! Before I review, I'd like to say thank you to Zarahemla for asking me to read and review for them - and I hope you'll contact me again for other books, even though this review probably isn't want you were hoping for.

On to the review:

There is one very basic reason I didn't like this book: It's about Mormons and it doesn't portray a good image of them at all.

I knew Zarahemla Books was known for their edgy books, so I wasn't too horribly bothered by the swearing. Depending on what type of national market books you read, it really wasn't that bad. For example, James Patterson's Alex Cross series uses a whole lot more swearing than Angel Falling Softly. But if you solely read Christian or LDS market books, you'll definitely think it's too much. Since my understanding is that this book was written for the LDS audience, the swearing gets a thumbs-down.

But what really shocked me were the sex scenes. I mean really, I know my bishop and his wife have kids, but I DO NOT want to think about what they do when they go to bed at night. And I was super shocked by the lesbian scenes, especially the ones involving the bishop's wife. I don't care if a book's audience is national, christian, or LDS - I DO NOT want to encounter disgusting scenes like this. I'm not naive enough to think there aren't LDS writers out there who don't write intimate scenes. I know plenty of LDS authors who write for Harlequin and other romance novel companies. I am surprised that they would write such scenes just to be popular and make money. I'm especially appalled that an LDS author would write lesbian scenes. It's totally 100% not compatible with LDS beliefs.

Even with all of this, I had hoped there would be a redeeming moment at the end when the bishop's wife would realize the important thing wasn't trying to save her daughter, but her faith in the Plan of Salvation. Faith that there is life after death and that she would be together with her daughter for all eternity. But I didn't get my wish. Instead, the daughter was turned into a vampire. Once the daughter was turned and "saved" from death, she left her family and went to go live with the vampires. So even though mom tried to save her, what she ended up receiving was nothing - and she lost her daughter forever.

This all brings me back to the main reason I don't like this book. I'm a convert to the Church. I get asked odd questions about my religion quite often. And don't get me wrong, I certainly don't mind answering them. But it irks me to no end that another member of my Church would write something which, if read by someone not of our faith, would lead them to believe that members of our Church think it's okay to behave like the characters of Angel Falling Softly. We live in a media-driven society. I've had people argue with me about the Church's stance on polygamy just because they watch that stupid HBO show - and hey, it's on the show, so it must be true, right? All it takes is just an ounce of lies to get someone's attention, but it takes pounds and pounds of truth to correct it.

I could go on and on in a rant, but I'm not going to. All in all, I'm very disappointed with the way this book turned out. It's not a book I would recommend.

QOTC Rating: One Star

4 comments:

C.E. Salima said...

I have to agree with you, Danyelle. I had the exact same reactions. I checked out Woodbury's other works, to see if I was overreacting. I wasn't. This one was far tamer than the others. And I only read the first chapters of the other books.

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Candace - Thanks for coming by and checking out this review. BTW - I've really been enjoying your posts about Sarah Palin.

Rebecca Talley said...

I love your ounce of lies and pounds of truth analogy--very true.

I was a bishop's wife and can truthfully say I'd never turn to a vampire to save my child's life (even if they were real). Just too weird for me.

Thanks for your review.

And, I think Sarah Palin's candidacy will do wonders for DS awareness and may also help with awareness of other things like autism.

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Rebecca - I totally agree with you. I'm going to blog about Sarah later this week. Isn't she incredible?

Review Disclaimer: Sometimes a book I review has been sent to me for free by a publisher or an author. This in no way effects my review, which is my own opinion about whether the book was a good read for me, fit my tastes, and if I would recommend it to others. Other than possibly a free book, I am not compensated in any way for posting a review.