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The Third Angel

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3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  8,879 Ratings  ·  1,239 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 maga
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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 8th 2008 by Crown (first published January 1st 2008)
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Practical Magic by Alice HoffmanThe Dovekeepers by Alice HoffmanHere on Earth by Alice HoffmanThe Probable Future by Alice HoffmanThe Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman
Best Alice Hoffman Novel
13th out of 34 books — 302 voters
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García MárquezThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe House of the Spirits by Isabel AllendeLike Water for Chocolate by Laura EsquivelLove in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
Favorite Magical Realism Novels
95th out of 891 books — 4,150 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Julie
Jun 10, 2008 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary-fiction
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
Maria
Mar 10, 2013 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Charlotte Castle
Dec 18, 2011 Charlotte Castle rated it it was ok
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
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Jennifer
Feb 04, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was ok
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
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Jaclyn
May 23, 2008 Jaclyn rated it liked it
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
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Mary
Aug 13, 2016 Mary rated it it was amazing
This book was a considerable departure from her stock cookie cutter settings mixed with enchanting magical quirkiness, which I have become addicted to. Even so, this is my favorite Hoffman book so far...very moving, a bit more complex and utterly gorgeous prose.
Marla
May 10, 2016 Marla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Three different stories that are interesting. A little harder to remember it is three different stories on audiobook especially if you are distracted when the stories switch.
Marika Gillis
Apr 20, 2008 Marika Gillis rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
"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
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Theresa Flores
Jun 29, 2015 Theresa Flores rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: with-review, owned
3.75 stars.

The Third Angel is about three women in love with the wrong men. Maddy Heller is in love with her sister's fiance, Frieda Lewis has fallen for a musician who will never choose her over his perfect fiance Stella, and Bryn Evans is set to marry another man whilst still in love with her ex-lover. We also meet Lucy Green and see how she connects all three different stories.

My second Alice Hoffman read! I love how this has a different tone with the first Hoffman novel I read so althoug
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Melissa
May 22, 2008 Melissa rated it it was ok
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,
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Lucy B
Aug 13, 2008 Lucy B rated it liked it
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
Amy
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
Emma
Feb 04, 2009 Emma rated it liked it
[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
Apr 20, 2008 Lynn rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Bruce Miner
Jul 28, 2015 Bruce Miner rated it it was amazing
This book is just one of many wonderful books by Alice Hoffman, the American (Canadian?) Queen of Magic Realism. It can easily be read by more mature young adults, concerning a young girl's (then young woman) journey through life , meeting friends (including a young, but not yet famous English lad on a train), lovers, teachers. In addition, I would recommend Practical Magic and a lesser-known book called Skylight Confessions. She has about eight YA titles I have not read, but intend to. She ...more
Grace
Aug 14, 2008 Grace rated it it was ok
Shelves: partial-reads
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
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Denise
Jun 27, 2010 Denise rated it really liked it


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
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BizarreLibrary
Jan 25, 2009 BizarreLibrary rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 16, 2012 Steve Lindahl rated it it was amazing
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
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Marion Marchetto
Aug 19, 2011 Marion Marchetto rated it really liked it
Shelves: alice-hoffman
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;
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Jen
Oct 15, 2010 Jen rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
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Nancy Baker
Oct 26, 2015 Nancy Baker rated it liked it
I have mixed emotions about The Third Angel. It is actually three short stories that become threaded and connected at the end. It is basically a story of love and life. If we are honest, love (and life) can sometimes be unconventional - which is how I felt about the storylines. Sometimes we don't choose who we are going to fall in love with, life and circumstances have a way of bringing two hearts together. This story dabbles in disappointments, hidden secrets, the heartaches that come with ...more
Azra Qizilbash
I really enjoyed this novel. It was like a trip to another surreal, spacey, other-worldly realm. Her words are poignantly poetic, emotion provoking and has a deep melancholy tone. Alice Hoffman has a gift for taking the reader into the deepest, darkest corners of the human heart, mind and soul, but does it in such a way, that it doesn't depress you. Just when you've lost all faith in a character or their unfortunate situation, the story takes a turn of redemption and finds a way back to renewing ...more
Jessica
May 20, 2009 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
I've read quite a few Alice Hoffman books and this isn't my favorite, but I would recommend it for a relaxing read. She tells the stories of three women in three long chapters, set in 1999, 1966 and 1952. The central characters in each story appear as peripheral characters in other stories and the three tales are connected by a tragic accident that occurs in a small London hotel. I particularly enjoyed the middle section about Frieda, a doctor's daughter who escapes her small town for a maid's ...more
Ashley
Feb 05, 2014 Ashley rated it liked it
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
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Mary Taitt
Mar 26, 2009 Mary Taitt rated it it was amazing
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
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Suzanne
Jul 08, 2010 Suzanne rated it really liked it
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
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Patty
Nov 18, 2013 Patty rated it really liked it
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
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Kit
Dec 27, 2015 Kit rated it really liked it
It's only fair to start with a disclaimer: Alice Hoffman is my favorite writer of all time. She's a great story teller and her use of language is so pitch perfect that it only takes a couple of pages before I am inside whatever new world she's invented for my exploration. Each time I read one of her books I am transported to another place and time where every day life falls away and all that matters is the story I'm living in. I try to make sure I've always got one of her books available for ...more
William Herschel
Sep 25, 2009 William Herschel rated it liked it
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
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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 ...more
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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.” 12 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.” 4 likes
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