By Terri Schlichenmeyer
Every day, a battle rages inside you. Basically, you’re a nice person. Your parents raised you well. You know the difference between right and wrong. But now and then, life becomes like the cartoons of your youth: a little angel-you whispers a good deed in your right ear, while a little devil-you hollers for nastiness in the left. You fight hard to hear the good, but sometimes, it’s more fun to be oh-so-bad. And sometimes, the war between good and evil is completely out of your hands.
In the new novel “Angelology” by Danielle Trussoni, the battle has waged for millennia.
When Evangeline Cacciatore was dropped off at St. Rose Convent in New York at the tender age of 12, she never questioned her father’s reasoning. After her mother disappeared, Evangeline’s father wasn’t the same and though her heart ached for answers, Evangeline moved on with her life. Once she was old enough, she became Sister Evangeline of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, keeper of library and mailroom at the convent.
When a letter arrived beseeching the nuns to allow access to their archives, Sister Evangeline knew that Sister Philomena’s answer would be “no.” Still, when the handsome author of the letter showed up unannounced at St. Rose’s, his request intrigued Evangeline.
As a researcher, Mr. Verlaine was looking for clues to a puzzle that began with cryptic, post-war correspondence between a Mother Superior and a wealthy woman. On behalf of a strangely wizened client, Verlaine needed to know how these women came to know one another.
In her twilight years, Sister Celestine found old memories and odd comfort in her isolated convent room. Arriving at St. Rose’s in 1944, her life was never really with the other sisters. She was there only to wait for Evangeline to ask the right questions. She prayed that she could protect Sister Evangeline before it was too late.
In a 1940s apartment in Manhattan, Percival Grigori was in terrible pain. Once the powerful heir to the Grigori line, his wings had been magnificent and his strength, unmatched.
But now, suffering from a disease for which no one knew the cure, Grigori waited. Somewhere lay the instrument that would restore him. Someone had it. And when it was found, his race would return to their former glory.
Though there are timeline errors and some eye-rolling predictability here, and though this book is sometimes too long and detailed, I was stunned at the overall complexity and brilliance of this novel.
Trussoni builds many layers into this Dan-Brown-ish tale, and while they mesh together in the end, be warned that this isn’t a novel to attempt when you might be distracted.
Steeped in Biblical dogma, mythology, history and classic literature, “Angelology” is vast, and demands complete attention through lush, dark writing and characters that are oddly cold.
If you’re looking for a novel you can really bury yourself in, I think you’ll truly like this one. Nowhere near light as a feather, “Angelology” is pretty darn good.