Jacquelynn Luben's Reviews > Miss Garnet's Angel

Miss Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers
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Oct 03, 2011

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Read in September, 2011

At first sight, the latest book circle read - Miss Garnet’s Angel by Salley Vickers seems comparable with another book we read, Miss Pettigrew lives for a day, another story of an elderly or middle aged lady whose life we hope is going to be transformed.

It seems immediately like a feel-good book, and in fact, initially, things go rather too swimmingly for Miss Garnet. She seems to make friends so easily in Venice, one begins to wonder why she couldn’t manage it so well in the UK.

Perhaps this is all down to the magical qualities of Venice, which is a character in its own right in the book. Not having been there for a very long time, decades, in fact, I felt that a regular visitor would derive more enjoyment from the book that I did, for they would recognise more places, the churches, the restaurants, the bus numbers even, and so would feel they were there.

After the idyllic beginning to her trip, things begin to fall apart, and Miss Garnet experiences a number of mishaps and disappointments. She becomes interested in a guardian angel, which appears in various forms as she visits different parts of Venice.

Apart from Miss Garnet’s story, there are, in addition, two parallel stories, one, the biblical one of Tobias and the Angel and his eventual bride, Sara, and also that of Toby and Sarah. The similarity of the two sets of names rather heavily signposts the relationship between the two stories, and to add to it, there are some rather contrived episodes allowing misunderstandings to occur, which I found rather unsubtle.

Although very readable in parts, I thought that, like a recipe with too many ingredients thrown in the pot, there were too many stories, too many coincidences - too many flavours in fact, that did not always gel.


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