Fasten your seatbelt for an enjoyable flight of fancy told in a confessional voice by likable people.



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.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-0615523064

Page Count: 259

Publisher: Flight Risk

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2011

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.


High-stakes weepmeister Sparks (A Walk to Remember, 1999, etc.) opts for a happy ending his fourth time out. His writing has improved—though it's still the equivalent of paint-by-numbers—and he makes use this time of at least a vestige of credible psychology.

That vestige involves the deep dark secret—it has something to do with his father's death when son Taylor was nine—that haunts kind, good 36-year-old local contractor Taylor McAden and makes him withdraw from relationships whenever they start getting serious enough to maybe get permanent. He's done this twice before, and now he does it again with pretty and sweet single mother Denise Holton, age 29, who's moved from Atlanta to Taylor's town of Edenton, North Carolina, in order to devote her time more fully to training her four-year-old son Kyle to overcome the peculiar impediment he has that keeps him from achieving normal language acquisition. Okay? When Denise has a car accident in a bad storm, she's rescued by volunteer fireman Taylor—who also rescues little Kyle after he wanders away from his injured mom in the storm. Love blooms in the weeks that follow—until Taylor suddenly begins putting on the brakes. What is it that holds him back, when there just isn't any question but that he loves Denise and vice versa-not to mention that he's "great" with Kyle, just like a father? It will require a couple of near-death experiences (as fireman Taylor bravely risks his life to save others); emotional steadiness from the intelligent, good, true Denise; and the terrible death of a dear and devoted friend before Taylor will come to the point at last of confiding to Denise the terrible memory of how his father died—and the guilt that's been its legacy to Taylor. The psychological dam broken, love will at last be able to flow.

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2000

ISBN: 0-446-52550-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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