REVIEWED BY JEFF TAYLOR
(Victorina Press: 2022) by Wendy Beasley
I first came across this book last September, when Wendy contacted Suffolk Book League about the book’s launch in Bungay, an event we promoted on our Facebook group page. Wendy kindly sent me a copy and I’m glad she did, as it turned out to be a real page turner. This is the author’s second novel for adults. Wendy’s writing history is diverse, with books on dog training (she breeds border collies), a children’s book, and now two books for adults. Information on all these books can be found on her website https://wendybeasley.uk/
Wendy’s first novel for adults, entitled Beasts and Butterflies, takes on the subject of domestic and sexual abuse. Angel continues this theme with great force. The story is set in Brighton and the author uses the first person narrative to great effect, providing insight into the character of Lydia. Having been brought up in care, and learning to cope with rejection, Lydia finds solace with Leo, a fellow university student. They quickly marry and quite soon ‘she finds herself suffering a life of control, violence, and sexual abuse at the hands of a man she both fears and hates’. Things get even worse when she falls pregnant. Eventually Lydia frees herself from Leo, but her nightmare begins again.
I would recommend this novel for three reasons:
Firstly, it is extremely well written, with the author using the first person narrative very effectively. In the scenes with Leo, she creates tension between the day-to-day domestic details of Lydia’s life and the actuality of Leo’s all pervasive controlling nature. Overall, the writing just flows from the first page to the last. Secondly, there is a surprising twist, which for me came out of nowhere. And, thirdly, Angel provides a great sense of place. It should be on the bookshelves of all good Brighton booksellers, a good addition to the resort’s literary heritage.