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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,814 ratings  ·  278 reviews
Writing stories that are extravagant and fanciful, fifteen-year old Angel retreats to a world of romance, escaping the drabness of provincial life. She knows she is different, that she is destined to become a feted authoress, owner of great riches and of Paradise House . . .

After reading The Lady Irania, publishers Brace and Gilchrist are certain the novel will be a
Paperback, 252 pages
Published April 6th 2006 by Virago (first published 1957)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,814 ratings  ·  278 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
***Just to be clear there are two Elizabeth Taylors. One is the famous actress, and the other is the British writer. Elizabeth Taylor the writer has been mentioned by several accomplished writers as one of the most underrated writers of the 20th century. Let’s do something about that, shall we?***

 photo Elizabeth-Taylor20writer_zps5kynx8jz.jpg
Elizabeth Taylor

”It seems to me that what Elizabeth Taylor does is to de-romanticise the process of writing and show it to us close up, so that we are aware of that if ten percent of the process is
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Friendless, and unhappy at home, the eponymous Angel of this book goes to her room, refusing to ever go to school again, ever to leave her home again, until she writes her first novel. And she does. At 16. It is the product of a life un-lived, a delusional mind in progress. There are long words, not all used correctly. There are factual mistakes -- like opening champagne with a corkscrew. Roman and Greek deities get mixed. Prepositions end sentences. But there is romance. She finds a publisher ...more
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
In my feeble attempt to raise the dismal 11% of books read by authors of the fairer sex to a more politically sensitive number this is the fourth book in a row I've read by a woman. I hadn't heard of Elizabeth Taylor (the novelist) until just a couple of months ago when New York Review of Books re-issued two of her novels, this one and another one. Because NYRB make their books look so pleasing I was immediately interested in checking her out. On some recent AIFAF I came across a copy of Angel ...more
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: elizabeth-taylor
4.5 stars
This is one of Taylor’s better known novels and one of her least typical. It tells the story of a life from adolescence to old age and death. Angelica (Angel) Deverell is a writer, one of the greatest she believes and is also completely lacking in self-awareness. Taylor is parodying a certain type of late Victorian or Edwardian romantic author (Marie Corelli or Ouida). Her work is overblown and sensational and the critics hate it: however for a time the public loves it.
We get a sense
Jan 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this an odd book with an odd protagonist, though its oddness is not what left me unsure of what it all 'meant'. I don't usually go looking for meaning, but I thought maybe I should and then I glanced at the ratings of my GR friends who've read this and wondered why my reaction was different from theirs.

Angel's main, unchanging trait is her unrealistic view of the real world. From the first time we see her, she is living in her head. Because it is the Edwardian age, I suppose, she is
Helene Jeppesen
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Angel is quite a character, and this is quite a journey to go on. Those are the two things that come to my mind when thinking of this book.
This story is about Angel whom we meet when she's 15 years old. Angel is a very stubborn and egoistic girl who has no considerations as to what others might think and feel. All she cares about is herself and her wishes. Angel's biggest wish is to become a writer, and so she begins to write her first novel at the age of 15.
This is one of those novels that
May 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Taylor's (not that one) Angel is a fascinating book. The novel, a start-to-finish analysis and description of a commercially successful but critically panned woman author, intricately portrays the main character's and the characters in her orbits' insecurities, despondence, and fragile self-delusions, the kind that hurt to break.

Early in the book Angel, a child living with her mother above her family's general store, gets busted for telling fanciful lies to neighborhood children. Her
Sherwood Smith
May 19, 2010 added it
Shelves: fiction
This peculiar novel, perhaps too analytical to successfully work as satire, is a very chilling book for writers to read. This is the story of Angelica, who as a difficult teen was constantly telling stories in her head, bettering her own life in her imagination, or imagining others' lives. Her relatives, who have no interest in books or creativity, are appalled--they think she's a liar, a poser, dangerous.

How many writers have had to endure that attitude? In spite of Angel's difficult
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-britain
This was a delightful character study that I thoroughly enjoyed all the way through. Meet Angelica Deverell, a poor, working class girl who lives mostly in her head (which is full of dramatic, romantic daydreams), and has no empathy for other people.

Angelica (Angel) decides that she wants to be a famous novelist, and although she does not read and has shown no interest in literature previously, she relentlessly works towards her goal. The story starts out in 1900, when Angel is 15, and follows
Eric Lundgren
Nov 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Taylor (the midcentury British writer) has had the misfortune of sharing a name with one of the twentieth century’s biggest celebrities. A clear-eyed, morally incisive novelist overshadowed by her cinematic namesake: Taylor would probably be the first to chuckle at the irony. Her wonderful 1957 novel Angel is a novel about the delusional echo-chamber in which a lot of people live–writers in particular–and it strikes its characteristic tone from the very first sentences:

“‘into the
4.5 stars
In A Room of One's Own (1928), Virginia Woolf described the emerging woman writer of the 20th century as theoretically confined to writing in her drawing-room - sometimes secretively, hampered literarily by patriarchy and hindered creatively by her inexperience of the world.
Elizabeth Taylor (1912-1975), whose own literary work had been influenced by Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen and E.M.Forster, would model a version of the 20th century woman writer with her offbeat protagonist Angelica
No, not that Elizabeth Taylor – she of the ostentatious makeup and jewelry; that many-times-married friend of Michael Jackson. Perhaps you haven’t even heard of English novelist Elizabeth Taylor? Born in my current hometown of Reading, Berkshire, she lived from 1912 to 1975 and worked as a librarian and governess before marrying and turning to fiction. She wrote 12 novels and four books of short stories (many published in the New Yorker), collected in one volume by Virago Press in 2012.

Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Published in 1957 Angel is Elizabeth Taylor's seventh novel.
It tells the life story of fifteen year old Angel Deverell, who decides to drop out of school to write her first novel 'The Lady Irania'.Rubbished by critics the book sells really well and soon Angel is leaving her home town with her mother and buying her own home in the country.
Angel is any thing but an angel and treats people terribly.Even at a young age she is a true narcissist in the making and will stop at nothing to get what she
Roz Morris
How have I never come across this author? I'm now going to hunt for her other novels.
I first came to the book because I saw the film. The film surprised me because it was rather inept, despite an accomplished cast, which made me suspect there was a lot more nuance in the original. The introduction by Hilary Mantel reinforced that. I wasn't disappointed.

Angel, the eponymous central character, writes overblown romances that sell in vast numbers and provoke eternal derision from most of the
Gumble's Yard
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
Angel(ica) Deverell lives with her widowed shopkeeper mother in a non-descript Midlands town, visited by her mother’s sister almost lifelong maid to the mistress of a nearby manor house. To escape her everyday life Angel invents fantasies to herself based around the manor house and her connection to it. At her private school (paid for by her aunt to better her) she gets in trouble first for an over-elaborate story which the teachers are convinced she has plagiarised and much more seriously for ...more
Mela sixteen, experience was an unnecessary and usually baffling obstacle to her imagination.

It was a phenomenal study of personality like Angel, the heroine.

"A holiday wouldn't do any good, or make any difference. I should have to take myself with me."
"And what is so very wrong in that," he tried to sound robust, but the change in her disconcerted him.
"It is myself I need a holiday from," she said.

I confess, I truly didn't like her. She annoyed me and made me angry. I can't bear such persons.
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was both funny and sad. Angel is a totally delusional and self-centred teen who becomes a writer of terrible but popular romances. She is so blinkered that she misses or misinterprets almost everything that happens around her. But because of this she brings out the protective instinct in just enough people that she is never left alone.

And I suppose the same thing happens with readers - most seem to hate her, but some of us are charmed despite being able to see right through her.
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: virago, middlebrow
In Angel, Elizabeth Taylor has created a rather repugnant, but absolutely fascinating character.

Angel is rather unusual for an Elizabeth Taylor novel, in that it follows the life of the title character from the age of 15, when she decides that she is going to become a famous writer, to the end of her life. She is a horrible person who is narcissistic and totally selfish. She hates her life, living with her Mother in a flat above the shop the family run. Her Mum and Aunt spend their money on an
Bam cooks the books ;-)
#book-vipers-book-hunter: ANGEL

This book has wrapped itself around my life in a way no other book has. I looked for it after reading an interesting quote from it in Buried in Books: A Reader's Anthology. Elizabeth Taylor (1912-1975) was an English author born in Reading, Berkshire, who wrote in the mid-1900s and seems to be so little known today that finding a copy of this book required a bit of a search: there were no copies in our library system and only used copies seemed to be available
Oct 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is very different to any of Elizabeth Taylor's work. I have only read 3 of her novels - and have another 2 TBR - but this stand out as being quite a departure from the others. On the back it is described as a tour de force - and was published in the Virago Modern classics series back in 1984.

Read for the yearlong Elizabeth Taylor read-a-long on Librarything and my own month of re-reading. I first read it not that long ago – in October 2010. I didn’t expect to have a different reaction
Shawn Thrasher
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Somewhere towards the end of Angel by Elizabeth Taylor, the character of the same name says (coldly): "I am never embarrassed." That could be the leit motif of one of the most embarrassingly hideous and fascinating (a friend described her as "odious" which is perfect) characters I think I've ever read about. Really, she is awful. Terrible. Horrible and hateful. Yet, and yet, strangely attractive. Kind of (tritely) like a train wreck, you just can't stop reading about her, to see what awful ...more
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Friendless and lonely, 15-year-old Angelica 'Angel' Deverell escapes into a world of imagination. Refusing to return to school, she dedicates herself to writing a novel. Despite the novel being overblown, full of inaccuracies and savaged by critics, Angel is convinced of her genius and the popularity of her novel with readers brings financial success.

Angel is a brilliantly monstrous creation who captures the reader's attention. She has no sense of humour, and allows nothing to penetrate her
Karen Mace
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this one! The character, Angel, is one of those 'love to hate' people as I found her fascinating and repugnant in equal measures! She had a unique outlook on the world and never seemed to care much for the opinions of others but there was a bit of charm about her and the way she was so blinkered in her views Those around her were saints in dealing with her ways, and I loved seeing the slightly darker personality - not everyone in the world is an 'angel' and i think the author ...more
Angel Deverell is the daughter of a shabby widowed shopkeeper, living in a back street in a provincial town. To escape from her dreary life, Angel begins to write: novels which she sees as great literature, but which are in truth extravagant, melodramatic, fantastical schlock. She becomes a bestseller and a wealthy woman, living in a world of her own creation.

Doesn't this sound like the setup for an excellent satire of the early 20th-century Ethel M. Dell/E.M. Hull school of novelists? It would
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, virago
Elizabeth Taylor is a hugely underrated author in my view. Angel is a dark entrancing tale of a working class girl's who transcends the circumstances of her background through her fiction. She becomes wealthy and famous but is unable to make genuine emotional connections with those around her and lives in a fantasy removed from the actual nature of what is happening. The story of Angel is a masterpiece of the rags to riches romance that turns as sour as the green gooseberry jam Angel presents to ...more
Lady Drinkwell
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The protagonist of Angel is one of the least self-aware and most unappealing characters you can imagine. In spite of, or perhaps because of not having any real talent, but by dint of sheer determination and audacious self-belief she fulfills her dream of becoming a best selling author. And again in spite of, or perhaps because of, a total lack of sensitivity she gets what she wants emotionally. She spins tales of which one of them is the tale of her own very unreal life, her life is what she ...more
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Angelica Deverell is a hard person to spend time with - this goes for all of the characters in the book and also for the reader. Initially the appeal is the comic absurdity (and it is VERY funny at times). However, I found as the book went on that the total integrity of Angel's character along with the extraordinarily realistic rendering of her personality by the author, made me feel increasing empathy and she ended up being the most "real" character I've ever come across (view spoiler) ...more
Aug 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book about Angel's determination to write and to achieve her dream life. It was an achievement to make reading about this character so enjoyable, as Angel wasn't a character you could love or empathise with. I really look forward to reading more of this author's work.
May 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature
Mid 20thcentury novel about the life of a horrible author of very popular quite horrible romances. I loved how it was about literature, romance literature and book fashions, the most powerful part of the book was the beginning, about writing and starting to write.

I am probably biased due to personal taste, since I am very fond of satire, I kept thinking this book would have been so much better (to me only probably) if it had been real straight satire. What I loved were precisely the over the
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Angelica Deverell is fifteen and living in a drab town. She is living in cramped conditions over a corner shop which her mother owns. Angel suffers from grandiose tendencies and she escapes her unsatisfactory reality by inventing fantasies and living mostly in her dream world. She spends one evening writing in an exercise book and decides that she has found her vocation as a famous writer. She finds a publisher who is intrigued and a little appalled at her writing style. The critics hate it, but ...more
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Elizabeth Taylor (née Coles) was a popular English novelist and short story writer. Elizabeth Coles was born in Reading, Berkshire in 1912. She was educated at The Abbey School, Reading, and worked as a governess, as a tutor and as a librarian.

In 1936, she married John William Kendall Taylor, a businessman. She lived in Penn, Buckinghamshire, for almost all her married life.

Her first novel, At
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“With Theo’s help and Nora’s acquiescence she had begun, oysterlike, to coat over, to conceal what could not be borne as it was. The letter was not mentioned again.” 1 likes
“looked a lost, pathetic thing, like all old letters; the moment it had matched had gone so long ago.” 0 likes
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