Angel Sister, the beautifully molded and eloquently crafted novel by author Ann H. Gabhart is worthy of more than five-stars. If I could give this a "priceless" or "epic" or "must read" I would, and I will.
After the first couple of pages, I was hooked completely and drawn into this powerful novel about a family; not just a family, but a family from the Depression Era. The dry, and hot, backdrop of a Kentucky summer is wonderfully and majestically written. I felt like I needed to fan myself because of the heat permeating from the pages. The summer days, long and so full of hot moisture is a surprising character in this novel. From morning until late in the evening, Gabhart does an amazing job with using the Kentucky landscape as her canvas. She beautifully painted in each aspect. I could see, smell, and feel every summery stroke.
Not only did Gabhart use Kentucky as a character, she used the setting of the Depression Era. The Merritt family may not have been in a dire situation (financially speaking) but she created a sense of panic in the background. Each reader will feel the desperation of the time. The Depression is subtlety spoken of, yet boldly represented.
The main stars of Angel Sister are the members of the Merritt family. Each character is beautifully written and richly depicted. There are three character point-of-views: Kate (the middle child), Nadine and Victor Merritt (the parents). I, at first, wasn't sure how I would like hearing from so many characters, but I loved it in the end. Each voice is needed in order to tie this story together. Without one, Angel Sister would be incomplete.
Kate Merritt, the young fourteen-year-old daughter of Nadine and Victor, is the glue that holds this family together. She takes it upon herself to keep her family running smoothly. She knows there are struggles with her father, mostly because of his alcoholism, and takes responsibility for keeping her family functioning and helping her mother. Gabhart amazingly wrote a strong character, yet kept Kate's essence young. She had adult responsibilities, but she still remained young at heart. I loved how while doing the dishes, Kate was dying to go outside and play with the neighborhood kids.
Also, Nadine and Victor's chapters were filled with flashback sequences. From when they met as children, when they fell in love as teenagers, their marriage, war, children, and up to the present, Victor and Nadine's precious romance is unfolded. I so loved reading their history. The flashbacks richly, texturally, and complexly added to the depth of Angel Sister. Gabhart smartly wrote in enough of Victor and Nadine's history when the story called for it. The readers will appreciate the sneaks into this couple's story. A great and epic romance!
To conclude, a young little girl named Lorena Birdsong is sent to this family to help them heal. She's a precious little character that everyone will fall in love with. Fall in love with Lorena, and then fall madly in love with Angel Sister, just the way I did.
One of the best novel's I've ever read!
It is 1936 and Kate Merritt, the middle child of Victor and Nadine, works hard to keep her family together. Her father slowly slips into alcoholism and his business suffers during the Great Depression. As her mother tries to come to grips with their situation and her sisters seem to remain blissfully oblivious to it, it is Kate who must shoulder the emotional load. Who could imagine that a dirty, abandoned little girl named Lorena Birdsong would be just what the Merritts need?
In this richly textured novel, award-winning author Ann H. Gabhart reveals the power of true love, the freedom of forgiveness, and the strength to persevere through troubled times. Multidimensional characters face real and trenchant problems while maintaining their family bonds, all against the backdrop of a sultry Kentucky summer. Readers will be drawn into the story and find themselves lingering there long after they've finished the book.