When Angel is born with tiny flaps perched on her shoulder blades, her unwed teen mother ignores medical advice to surgically remove them—and the result of this decision brings unexpected glory and grief to mother and daughter and those that they love.
Quick-thinking survivor Allison, cast out by judgmental parents when they learn she is pregnant after a frat house gang rape, has her baby and names her Angel. The single mother eventually parlays her knack for numbers into a job as a CPA. She meets Mark Dennison, one of the fraternity boys, who agrees to a DNA test and helps Allison investigate the others, but Angel’s paternity remains a mystery. Allison falls in love with her co-worker, widower Charlie Evans, who already has a young son, Nicky. They marry and have another child, Shelby. Life becomes ordinary—except that as she grows up, little Angel manifests an obsession that begins as a fascination with winged fairies, moves to flying dinosaurs and then to her wings of her own. In school Angel learns to hide her wings, but when she hits puberty they start growing again. Sharing the perky “can-do” attitude of her mother, Angel turns her exotic looks into a six-figure underwear modeling contract. Actual flying becomes Angel’s true passion and the realization of her dream comes at a high price for everyone, especially her mother, who develops her own obsession after tragedy strikes. Told in the first person, initially by Allison and then at the end by those Angel loved the most, including the dashing Jack who joins the grown-up Angel in her flight goal, Kelly’s fast-paced novel takes the reader on a flight of fancy couched in realistic, straight-forward and graceful prose that makes the fantastic utterly believable. Logistics, physics, feathers and ambition combine to draw the reader into Angel’s world. It’s hard to stop reading this gracefully written novel and the only quibble possible is that the last letters and diary entries seem anticlimactic and work too hard to explain exactly how everything happened.
Fasten your seatbelt for an enjoyable flight of fancy told in a confessional voice by likable people.