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The Third Angel

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  10,938 ratings  ·  1,436 reviews
In The Third Angel, Hoffman weaves a magical and stunningly original story that charts the lives of three women in love with the wrong men: Headstrong Madeleine Heller finds herself hopelessly attracted to her sister’s fiancé. Frieda Lewis, a doctor’s daughter and a runaway, becomes the muse of an ill-fated rock star. And beautiful Bryn Evans is set to marry an Englishman ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 8th 2008 by Crown (first published January 1st 2008)
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3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,938 ratings  ·  1,436 reviews

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Jun 10, 2008 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
Oct 17, 2012 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
Charlotte Castle
Dec 18, 2011 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
Jan 29, 2011 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
Jul 27, 2015 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.
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
May 23, 2008 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
Jan 25, 2012 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 13, 2008 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
Rissa Flores
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, with-review
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
Apr 15, 2008 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,
Aug 05, 2008 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
Lucy B
Aug 11, 2008 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
Dele Haynes
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Third Angel by Alice Hoffman (Fiction) Hoffman's book is another telling of her lovely stories about the lives of three young women whose lives intersect over three different decades. Each has her own story of a major change in her life that revolves around a particular room in a hotel in London.
Each of these three women has become involved with the wrong man. Each has her own story, yet over the decades they are interconnected to each other.
Alice Hoffman does a wonderful job of mixing a
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In The Third Angel, I was reminded of how much I love Hoffman's writing, as it is quite beautiful, lyrical, and thought-provoking. I can just get lost in her writing. The Third Angel tells the story of 3 different women, who are all in love with men that they really should not love. The 3 are mostly unconnected, although Hoffman weaves the stories together to a small degree in that they are set in different generations yet all cross somehow. And I loved that it was set in London, just a fun sett ...more
Anna Lumpkin
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
i inhaled this book, like i always do with alice hoffman's books. her mind is so magical and i'm thoroughly immersed into her stories every time i read them.

i loved how ah weaved all of the women's stories into each other. you weren't sure exactly how they were all connected until the end and i was surprised by a few things i wasn't expecting. if you're looking for a story of love (and love gone wrong), loss, and just a touch of magic, you've come to the right book. :)

i'll always remember the
Jan 21, 2014 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
Apr 15, 2008 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 abo ...more
Bruce Miner
Jul 28, 2015 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 make ...more
Jan 12, 2013 rated it liked it
I wasn't sure I was going to like this book in the beginning. But I stayed with it and I'm glad I did. By the end, Hoffman has totally grabbed you by the heartstrings. The format was a little bewildering because I read the audio book, which didn't mention the fact that there are three intertwined stories, each with its own title. But eventually it all makes perfect sense and is utterly delicious. I'd give it a strong 3 1/2 stars.
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
It took me a while to warm to this book. The book is divided into 3 separate stories, each set in a different decade, in reverse chronological order. As you read, you figure out that the characters are interconnected. Reading the first story, I was unimpressed. I almost didn't want to continue. I didn't like any of the characters and the writing seemed choppy and disjointed. But as I continued in to the other sections, I started to appreciate the how the stories and characters were related. I fo ...more
As always, Alice Hoffman has created a beautifully written tale of love with a bit of magic woven in. This one is in three parts, basically three different stories of women in love with the wrong man, but somewhat connected nonetheless. Not all of the women are completely likable, but their stories still grab you.
Judy King
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sad and quiet, twelve year old Lucy is chain reading The Diary of Anne Frank during the 1952 crossing to London and the wait in a London hotel amid the activities of the wedding of Bryn, the sister of Lucy's new chilly step-mother.

Lucy's story over 40 years is the tie for this beautiful tale of three women to the wrong men. There's the doctor's daughter who runs away, becomes a maid in Lucy's hotel and loves a rock star. There's Bryn, who is marrying for money, but still loves her ex, and Maddy
I wish it was written backwards. Also- disappointed I was expected to think that these three women's lives intertwine SO MUCH and they NEVER figure it out themselves? No way, no how. C'mon, Hoffman. C'MON.
I loved almost all the characters in this novel except one, Frieda. And even though isn't understand her motives, I was still interested in why she made her bad choices. Her sister's love story made me cry, it was so touching and sad. I was hoping the novel would continue with her story, but it jumped to other characters we had briefly met before, and what their lives and losses were like.
In fact, I'm thinking now that this novel was about love and loss, and the many ways it happens to us, and
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn't really warm up to this book until about halfway through and then I loved it.
Jun 26, 2010 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
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
Steve Lindahl
Jun 16, 2012 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
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Alice Hoffman is my favorite author. There are three separate stories, yet they are connected. Easy to read and keep me turning the pages.
Jan 25, 2009 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
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Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The Rules of Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. She lives near Boston.
“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.” 14 likes
“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 makes mistakes.” 6 likes
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