4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
There can be a sweet delight in a safe, well-written story of romance. In Wounded Angels by Chuck Miceli, the author has created just that. This novel tells the story of Maureen and Frank. We first meet them as roller-skating sweethearts, before World War II changes everything. The novel follows Frank and Maureen as he goes to war, and comes back, with various issues coming back with him. Together, they build a life. The pair raise two daughters, with the conflict in Vietnam coloring their daughters’ lives, just as WWII did for them. But they carry one, and grow closer and more in love. Inevitable things happen, as no couple is together forever and someone has to pick up pieces.
Miceli does a great job of creating layered imagery throughout the story. His descriptions are so skilled that you can fell the cold on your nose and the texture of the hand-written letter in your fingers. The story bounds forward, covering decades as the couple ages and raise their family. Not an easy task but the plot keeps pace and doesn’t lag or linger.
The biggest draw of the story, for me, was authentic emotion. There is love oozing from the pages. For each other. For the family the star characters created. For the life they have built. When you have that much perfection, some disaster can only be around the corner. And there is a lot to be thrown at these two over a lifetime. Different backgrounds. War. What is left in Europe when soldiers return and what other dark shadows come back with them. And then. the ultimate challenge. The moments of loss are heart-breaking.
Miceli is more than capable of juggling these years and characters. I loved the inclusion of different writing styles, such as journal entires and letters, to bring interesting perspectives. I would have enjoyed more if these offerings. The story flows well, briskly, and is deftly edited. There are only a few fiddly bits. I would have preferred a bit more dimension from our Maureen. She stated to annoy me, she was so perfect. The change from her abject loss to bright-eyed optimism seemed abrupt after such a prolonged time without any progress. There was some late addition of characters that seemed a bit forced. But, when it comes to Doris, she’s a force of nature herself, so that seemed spot on. She was an injection of brisk, jolting energy. And the plot made it necessary to keep her closed up until later in the story. The early dialogue seemed a bit stilted. This could be the author finding his flow, or an accurate attempt to try and capture 1940’s speech patterns that may sound formal and stiff to modern ears.
Overall, a 4 out of 4 star read. Even if a little romanticized, it presented a beautiful love and lovers, and made me want to find a special someone with whom I could share morning eggs and coffee.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon