Newcomer Kathryn Maughan has created a grippingly emotional novel that will grab the reader from the first page. Did I Expect Angels? tells the story of Jennifer, a young, widowed mother, struggling to get through each day. She is still so wrought with grief, though 18 months has passed since her husband’s death, that she feels incapable to continuing to take care of herself and her daughter. Jennifer is on the brink of suicide, no longer sure of how to live, when she runs into Henry, an unlikely friend.
Henry has a story to tell and decides that Jennifer’s anguish on the night they meet is the sign he’s been waiting for. Both Henry and Jennifer simultaneously tell their stories of love and eventual tragedy, while forging a friendship they never thought possible. Each character’s story has its own twists and turns, resulting in quite the page turner.
I loved each character, though found my own special connection in Henry. He just seemed to have this ability to turn Jennifer’s life around through his own love story, even with the obvious sense of foreboding tragedy. I could just tell, if he was a person rather than a character, he would be such a kind, gentle soul. A man we could all use in our lives as a confidant.
I have two small, teeny complaints about the book, though overall I really did enjoy reading it. First, the cover creeped me out a little bit. I’m not sure if you can see it very well in the small picture, but the angels face is scribbled out with a pen or marker of some sort. I’m probably just overly sensitive (ha…story of my life), but it was a tad creepy. Secondly, Henry’s portion of the story was distinguished from Jennifer’s by being written completely in italic letters. It was somewhat difficult to read that type of print continuously, which was distracting to the story. I think it could have been done a bit better by simply alternating chapters or simply titling portions as Henry’s or Jennifer’s. Again, very small complaints, but it’s only fair to mention them!
Since I really don't read and review all that many adult novels, I'm glad the latest one I picked up was enjoyable! A great first novel from Maughan.