Once upon a time, there was the wandering soul of Morgann, an 8th century Irish calligrapher-monk longing to be reunited with his soul mate. Deirdre was his forbidden love, a witch with whom he wrote a coveted book.
Under her spell, the souls of the star-crossed lovers travel from bodies to bodies until they find each other. Eventually.
That became his quest: unearth her new body and trigger her memory, for she is clueless about whom she once was. Unfortunately their story didn’t get a chance to become a fairy tale yet it still turned out as a famous urban legend referred as The Black Angel Book.
Twice upon a time, not so long ago, there was me, rational and devastated Rose. I needed to get a grip, said my French mum after my year of numbness due to a painful break-up that led me to cut my wrist daily, to feel something, anything.
So she sent me off to the free-spirited village of Provincetown, Massachusetts, to spend the summer with my American relatives. And just like that, I wasn’t myself any longer. Because someone pulled me out of the darkness and bewitched me, somehow.
I couldn’t wait to jump his bones… but why was he holding back?
He couldn’t wait to welcome me into his world… but was I ready to question my convictions and acknowledge that my self-inflicted cuts were now healing in record time?
How could I have imagined he was longing for his own unorthodox fairytale to come true? Frantically.
Received an ARC from the author for an honest review.
Okay, before I get into the plot and characters I will say this.
The writing is beautiful. The internal conflict that Rose and Virgil go through is portrayed in a very real. Physical self-injury, self-deprivation, are both powerful themes in this book. Rose is going through a severe depression, where her only relief is through cutting her wrist. We find this out at the very beginning. When she is around Virgil, it happens less frequently. One thing I liked that the author did was show the physiological issues from Rose’s prior break up. I think it is important that people realize how serious of an illness it is. It is just as serious as anorexia or bulimia. Just because one’s life may seem well on the exterior doesn’t mean the illness or compulsion are not there. They don’t just go away. They can be a constant throughout someone life. That is a very really situation. I give major props to Hope for demonstrating such a serious topic in an honest light.
There are only a few chapters from the POV of Virgil, but within those you can feel the self-loathing he has for himself. Virgil’s soul, which possesses Morgann (the Monk’s) soul, has been on this quest– to find his soul mate and to rid of the evil that he was destine to find and destroy – for so long that it puts a toll on him physically, emotionally, and mentally. Rose brings balance, but he doesn’t feel as though he deserves that emotional peace. I feel bad for the guy because even in the beginning he is fearful that Rose (or whomever his Soul Mate may be within) will not find him attractive. He is constantly keeping people at a far distant because he doesn’t believe he deserves their companionship or kindness.
Other things I enjoyed within the story were the suspense of “who is the killer.” There is a killing spree going on in the New England area and we keep bouncing around who it may be. There is also other characters I enjoy and their constant dynamic with the stories overall progress. Rose’s cousins, Jade (Virgil’s companion) and Bruce. I like Bruce. He creeped me out at the beginning, but he started to grow on me.
Okay, so there were a few things I wasn’t the biggest fan of. First was the jumping of Rose’s attraction to Virgil. It felt like she was picking the pedals off a flower and going: ‘I like him, I like him not, He likes me, He likes me not.’ It was driving me nuts! I didn’t enjoy the constant descriptions of every little thing. I was able to skip pages and still understand what was going on and where they were. I am not a fan of extreme details within a scene. That is the fun with books. To get a vague picture and as the reader we fill in the blanks. Rose was constantly going on and on, of what she was doing. We got it after the 5th time of Rose explaining her routine. I didn’t think it was relevant to repeat multiple times in with the story Rose’s classes were every afternoon, and that her family wouldn’t be home in the evenings because of the restaurants. I felt like that was beaten into us in every chapter.
I think the overall premise is cool. The concept of having to seek out your love throughout time. It had a Laruen Kate “Fallen” series vibe to it. Just a little more mature and many more sub plots going on.
I have been informed by the author, that I was given an early draft of the book. She informed me, “for the detailed parts, I agree with you and have actually edited some of the chapters to shorten certain scenes and have Virgil POV every five chapters. The storyline doesn’t change but the pacing probably does.” Please take note of this when choosing to read. I read a version that was much more detailed. The copy available has been cleaned since that time.