The Third Angel
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The Third Angel

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  6,826 ratings  ·  1,013 reviews
“Alice Hoffman is my favorite writer.”
–Jodi Picoult


Alice Hoffman is one of our most beloved writers. Here on Earth was an Oprah Book Club selection. Practical Magic and Aquamarine were both bestselling books and Hollywood movies. Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, and People mag...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 8th 2008 by Crown
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Best Alice Hoffman Novel
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Favorite Magical Realism Novels
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Community Reviews

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Julie
Alice Hoffman is a literary goddess. I loved this book. The writing is absolutely gorgeous and it's one of those novels that I end up reading the last page and then starting over again. Stories of three interconnected women at crossroads in their lives are woven together in really wonderful ways. As always with Hoffman, there's a touch of supernatural and very interesting, human characters. (As an aside, I had lunch with the author - and 20 other people- a couple of years ago and she is just as...more
Jaclyn
I read Alice Hoffman when I was in high school and remembered liking her (esp. At Risk), but this book disappointed me. It seemed sloppy. Her writing was grand(iose) but completely without subtlety, so it didn't pack as strong a punch.

Take this sentence: "Seeing him, Frieda felt her love for her father; but she thought about how he'd betrayed them and love didn't seem quite so important." This is actually one of the more likeable examples of what I'm talking about, but imagine that style of desc...more
Maria
This book is very special to me. Not only because it was written by my favourite author, but because I found it in a small bookshop somewhere in Dublin, Ireland.

I deal with hundreds of people every single day. At work, at uni... even at home, while chatting online. Sometimes I wonder about them... I wonder if we were meant to meet, meant to run into each other, meant to exchange a couple of words. I am not exactly sure whether I believe in fate or not, but sometimes I just sit and wonder... and...more
Charlotte Castle
Where do I start?

The book begins with a protaganist so unlikable that I nearly gave up four pages in. Self-absorbed, hideously disloyal, self-pitying and narcisstic, I couldn't have cared less what happened to her and was mightly relieved when we moved onto our second female heroine.

Freida is entirely more likeable and at this point in the story we begin to dig deeper into the ghost story that lies at the heart of this book. My interest was peaked and yet - and yet I found myself skim-reading. T...more
Marika Gillis
"People say there's the Angel of Life and the Angel of Death, but there's another one, too. The one who walks among us."

He could tell she was listening.

"He's nothing fierce or terrible or filled with light. He's like us, sometimes we can't even tell him apart. Sometimes we're the ones who try to save him. He's there to show us who we are. Human beings aren't gods. We make mistakes."


In this novel, Alice Hoffman tells the stories of three women entangled in unrequited love relationships. Each woma...more
Melissa
Three women, three different eras, all in love with the wrong man. Bryn is set to marry an appropriate match, but is still completely in love with her con-man ex-husband; Frieda runs away from the prospect of a university education and falls in love with a wannabe rock star; and Maddy is head-over-heels for her sister’s fiancé.
Loving is easy – the outcomes are more complicated. Hoffman’s characters struggle with who they are; who they feel the should be; and no matter what decisions they make,...more
Lucy B
I have read quite a few of Alice Hoffman's books, my favorite being Pratical Magic. When I started this one, my first impression was that is wasn't as good as some of the others. Now that I have finished it, I did think is was really good (though still not my favorite.) The theme is pretty much the same as most of Hoffman's books - the love-obessed. There are alot of characters in different time periods, and sometimes I found it hard to keep them straight. It's worth reading to the end, though,...more
bookczuk
Just finished reading this story of three women, in three different decades, each in love with the wrong man, involved in a love triangle. It was a very different feel for me than many of Hoffman's other books, but was equally as descriptive and thought provoking, keeping her right up there as one of my favorite authors. The stories are interwoven, and characters appear in two, sometimes three of them. Plus, the three women all interrelated in a abstract sort of way: MAddy Heller, who loves her...more
Jennifer
This book was quite a disappointment. Alice Hoffman is one of my favorite authors and I expected a lot from this book, as I do of all her books. But right from the first page I knew there was trouble. I didn't like the voice of the first main character, Maddy. And as I learned more about Maddy (we do learn a little bit), the less I liked her character. I found her to be shallow, jealous, self-centered and very annoying. And what she does is despicable.

The book is sectioned into 3 parts focusing...more
Emma
[Book: The Third Angel] is divided into three parts, essentially three separate stories, though the characters are connected and the action is centered around the mysterious happenings a room on the seventh floor of the Lion Park Hotel in London. I didn't care much for the first story, which is set in the present day and involves a rivalry between two sisters. The second two stories were more enjoyable, set in the 60s and 50s, respectively, and focusing on first the mother of one of the sisters'...more
Lynn
Fascinating, lyrical - the usual from this author. Three women all have a piece of a story. And it is a mesmerizing, haunting tale to be sure. Who was Michael Macklin? Who are the three angels- in the story or in reality? How to we choose who to love? Why does reality so often not matter in these choices? What place do random acts of kindness have in the stories of our lives? Do we every really know how we affect each others lives? What is redemption and who is worthy of it? So much to think abo...more
Ashley
I opened the cover of this book expecting to fall in love immediately. That has been the case for every other Alice Hoffman book I've read. Sadly, that's not what happened.

Somehow, Hoffman's usually fluid style fell by the wayside in this book. Not only are the chapters choppy, but the writing itself is, too.

She did this. She did that. The thing was this way. She liked the thing. The thing was good.

I considered that perhaps this style was a mechanism to convey a state of mind or an urgency, b...more
BizarreLibrary
Three stories weave together through strong women. Maddy and Allie Heller are sisters who turned out very different from one another. Allie is engaged to Paul, while Maddy seems to be drawn to him. This one man teaches them a lesson. Frieda Lewis finds herself friends with an up and coming rock star. He declares her his muse and she desperately wants to be with him. Bryn Evans is about to be married. Her past catches up to her in the form of her ex-husband, whom she is still in love with. Also,...more
Steve Lindahl
Alice Hoffman was recommended by a friend. I read The River King and enjoyed it, so I decided to try another of her novels. I chose The Third Angel because it had the highest rating among the Hoffman novels that were available through the NC digital library. I didn't like it as much as The River King but still feel it is an excellent book. Perhaps my fondness for The River King is due to the fact that it was the first of Hoffman's books I read.

Hoffman writes about love, but not in a way that car...more
Kp
I read The Third Angel because I loved The Dovekeepers, and I hadn't read any other Alice Hoffman books. This one did have magic in it, and that is usually mentioned in relation to Alice Hoffman. I didn't think it had the depth of The Dovekeepers, however. The story was good, and I enjoyed it, BUT I also found that all the connections to the past and the way the story fit together was almost TOO much, and it distracted me from being able to just get on with the reading. It seemed important to ke...more
Denise


4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and beautiful..., June 27, 2010
By Denise "DC" (Missouri, USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)
This review is from: The Third Angel: A Novel (Paperback)
I've read many of Alice Hoffman's novels and each is a story that lingers long after the last page has been turned and the book closed. This one is particularly haunting and I've found myself doing something I rarely do -- rereading the book from the opening chapter. Skimming to a particular segment and then leafing th...more
Marion Marchetto
This latest offering by Ms. Hoffman is a generational piece whose roots are in the 1950s. The backdrop for most of the story is the Lion Park hotel in London, a second-rate hotel that is haunted.

Our first encounter with sisters Maddie and Allie uncovers a betrayal by the younger sister who lives a care-free existence based on the fact that she believes that she was an unloved child. Allie, the older sister, has pretty much done what was expected of her because she has always been the caretaker;...more
Jennifer
This author repeatedly provides me with both ends of the extreme. Sometimes I adore the book by her that I am reading, purchase a copy of my own and read it again and again over my lifetime. Other times, I am completely disturbed and can't be rid of the thing fast enough.

I don't know what to think of this one.

I want to like it. I want to say I love it and that it's fantastic, but I'm not sure I understand it.

Perhaps it crosses too many paths, touches too many lives...

I was intrigued with the ta...more
Mary Taitt
Mar 26, 2009 Mary Taitt rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any adult, especially women
Shelves: literary-fiction
I just finished this book. It's the first book I've read in quite a while that I wanted to just start over and reread from the beginning, and I may do exactly that.

It's a sad book--lots of bad stuff happens. And it's a complex book.

I hope it's not a spoiler if I say that the books backwards in time to the lives of characters who appear in the first section. You learn to understand the reasons for some of what happens. Terrible things. The people all seem very real to me, like people I know well...more
Suzanne
The Angel of Life and The Angel of Death. We've all heard of these. But who is The Third Angel? Ahhh...he's the most curious one; the one who is saving your life when you least know she/he is by your side.

This is a fascinating read. It begins with 2 sisters; one who is very down-to-earth and the other one is a writer of children's books. Her mother tells her about the heron who is a bird that waits for the one he loves. When the daughter writes her book based on the heron, she writes it in such...more
Patty
I read this book because it was highly recommended by a couple ladies in my Book Group. This was my first foray into Alice Hoffman, and I must say, I enjoyed this book very much. Broken into three parts, three eras, and three intertwined characters, The Third Angel was a masterpiece of three sides to a similar story. Her character depth, and scope, and range of emotion was excellent. The people seemed very real with all their foibles and triumphs. I can't wait to read more of Alice Hoffman.


***S...more
Stacey
I thought I was going to hate this book until about 50 pages in, after which I hated to put it down. Unique and well-written story, and definitely worth the read. I loved how the characters' lives are woven together, yet not at all in an obvious or predictable way. My first Alice Hoffman novel, but certainly not my last.
Mellissa
This is a mesmerizing book that slowly and deliciously draws you into all its characters until you never want to let them go. It is actually three books in one, connected through the years from 1952 until 1999 via a London hotel. It provides a glimpse into the lives of interconnected women who make choices about men, both good and bad, and how these choices shaped their lives.

It is told from newest (1999) to oldest (1952), but it would not have had any less impact if the order were reversed. So...more
William Herschel
3 1/2 stars.

This book really wasn't that bad, it just seemed like an exact copy of another book I read by this author. They were both about love. Sister bonds. Cutting oneself and bleeding to seal deals. Slight mythical/fantasy component. Same type of characters. It felt like reading the same story basically.

The story had a backwards timeline on how it switched characters three times in the book. This was actually rather nice and interesting. I'm not sure if I will read another book by this auth...more
Grace
This is Hoffman's first book I've stopped reading before I was done.

I got about halfway through it, maybe even more, and I just decided I wasn't *enjoying* it at all.

The characters are hard to sympathize with. But the most offputting thing to me was her lack of an active environment. Her books usually take place in small towns, where the town...the buildings, the history...become almost like another character in the story. I just didn't get the same feeling from this urban London setting.

I will...more
Rachael Drullinger
As a general rule, I am a believer that a worthy book should, in some way, alter your life - touch you in some way that the story becomes part of you. The Third Angel: A Novel is not one of those books. After I concluded with the book, I couldn't help but feel robbed of the hours I spent reading it. It is not that I didn't like the ending - the ending was alright given the rest of the book. It was that I felt like it made no impression on my what so ever.I might as well have been reading an arti...more
treehugger
Really just an ok read. Had all the elements of a typical Hoffman novel: breast cancer, death, a little "magic", the ubiquitous animal motif (this one was birds), a strange sister-sister relationship, and unrequited love (with the apparently all-too-necessary deep discussion about the meaning of love and whether it even exists). No huge surprises, and I never was too invested in any of the characters. Wasn't even that interested in how everything tied together at the end..

Perhaps I've finally re...more
Stephanie
I will admit Im biased...Hoffman is my favorite fiction writer....This one pulls you in the gut and never leaves you......It reminds me of her other books, Blackbird House and The River King....The supernatural meets heartbreak, lost dreams, and hope in this multi layer love story of a novel...To be read slowly and savored..Jodi Picoult has said Hoffman is her favorite fiction writer...Unfortunately Picoult's novels are a knockoff version of Hoffman's books...Go for the original real thing and b...more
Lanie
I really enjoyed this book. One thing about Alice Hoffman is that she spends time with characters that may not be all that likeable, but the story is interesting, so you keep going. There are only a few writers I completely trust and Hoffman is one of them. We all know she's a great painter of words. I live in Massachusetts, and I love when her books have the New England setting. This one took place in London, which was the only disappointment, but I enjoyed each of the stories more than the las...more
Shannon
I picked up this book on a whim, after stumbling across it in a bookstore. It feels odd to say I was disappointed in it, considering I didn't really have any expectations other than thinking it sounded interesting. I guess my disappointment came in after the first section was so incredibly promising. I really loved the first section. I liked the second section less, and then almost completely hated the third section. In that section, I related most to one of the characters that I don't think you...more
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Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York...more
More about Alice Hoffman...
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“He stepped off the pavement like a man jumping off a bridge, as calm as a swimmer with an ocean out below. Lucy had known what he was going to do the instant their eyes met. She'd know what he intended because she would have done the very same thing if she'd had his courage. Nothing was going to break his fall.” 7 likes
“That was the way illness appeared in a house, in the corners, in between floorboards, on the hooks in the closet, along with the sweaters and coats.” 2 likes
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