Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Visiting Angel - Paul Wilson

It was great to have the opportunity to read and review this novel for ‘newbooks’ magazine.

Patrick Shepherd works at a halfway house helping the residents try to straighten out their lives, and he has himself had a troubled life, struggling through after experiencing the death of his mother at a young age, leaving him and his brother Liam orphaned and ending up in Providence House orphanage, where the boys run into some cruel fellow occupants. Now adults, we learn that Patrick has heard of Liam’s apparent passing away in New York. The brothers have had little contact for many years, and Patrick has scant information from which he has cobbled together a picture of how his brother may have been as an adult, having looked to him as a hero who has achieved things with his life. Then one day a man calling himself Saul arrives at the hospital, Patrick becomes involved and is shocked to discover that Saul is the spitting image of his supposedly deceased brother Liam, however Saul claims to be an angel sent to save certain people.

The identities of the other troubled souls whose lives Saul will touch arise as the book progresses. I enjoyed this book and found it to be an enlightening read, it slowly reveals the steps forward that the characters are enabled to make in their lives through the courage that Saul instills. I particularly liked the characters of Patrick and Sarah, both working hard in the world in their daily lives to do good for others, but both with immense inner pain and past hurt that needs mending and dealing with in order for them to live more fulfilled lives in the world and not be held back from living more fully. Of Patrick it is said that ‘all his life he had dreamed of flying above the rooftops with Liam, freed from the fear of things that kept him earthbound.’

With the character of Liam/Saul the author brings a magical dimension to the tale, a special man who touches lives in a certain way in just a brief time. There are some beautiful passages in the novel, and some clever imagery regarding heights and fears, which serves to illustrate how Patrick has gone through life. I think different readers would take different experiences away from reading this novel; it may affect people in different ways. It is certainly thought provoking and a reading group would have a fair amount to discuss here.


  1. This sounds like a really intense read. Great review!

  2. Thanks Dana, it was certainly an interesting idea to explore in a novel.


Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and leave a comment. It's great reading your comments and I really appreciate them :)