The Third Angel

( 90 )

Overview

“Alice Hoffman is my favorite writer.” –Jodi Picoult

Alice Hoffman is one of our most beloved writers. Here on Earth was an Oprah Book Club selection. Practical Magic and Aquamarine were both bestselling books and Hollywood movies. Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, and People magazine, and her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in the New ...

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Third Angel

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Overview

“Alice Hoffman is my favorite writer.” –Jodi Picoult

Alice Hoffman is one of our most beloved writers. Here on Earth was an Oprah Book Club selection. Practical Magic and Aquamarine were both bestselling books and Hollywood movies. Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, and People magazine, and her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in the New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, Kenyon Review, Redbook, Architectural Digest, Gourmet, and Self.

Now, in The Third Angel, Hoffman weaves a magical and stunningly original story that charts the lives of three women in love with the wrong men: Headstrong Madeleine Heller finds herself hopelessly attracted to her sister’s fiancé. Frieda Lewis, a doctor’s daughter and a runaway, becomes the muse of an ill-fated rock star. And beautiful Bryn Evans is set to marry an Englishman while secretly obsessed with her ex-husband. At the heart of the novel is Lucy Green, who blames herself for a tragic accident she witnessed at the age of twelve, and who spends four decades searching for the Third Angel–the angel on earth who will renew her faith.

Brilliantly evoking London’s King’s Road, Knightsbridge, and Kensington while moving effortlessly back in time, The Third Angel is a work of startling beauty about the unique, alchemical nature of love.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Is there an American novelist who understands the complicated and mulitfacted nature of love in all its manifestations — romantic, familial, platonic — better than Alice Hoffman?... Some critics have minimed the complexity of Hoffman’s work by refering to her as a romance writers. Well, Hoffman is a romance writer, but then so were Flaubert, Proust, the Bronte sisters, and Jane Austen. The Third Angel is indeed a romance, but one of intricacy and pathos, with characters beautifully, believably and empathetically drawn.…The Third Angel represents yet another strong, visceral and deeply, darkly moving tale of love and heatbreak, tragedy and redemption from a writer whose keen ear for the measure struck by the beat of the human heart is unparalleled. The Third Angel is an intense, provocative and throughly affecting novel.”
The Chicago Tribune

“Like Michael Cunningham’s ‘The Hours,’ Hoffman’ s tale weaves the stories of women at key moments in their lives with revelations both stunning and inevitable.”
— The Pittsburgh Post Gazette

“Its realism, combined with a refreshing lightness and its success in portraying emotion with empathy, draws the reader into a deep involvement with the books’ appealing yet flawed characters. Each woman faces up to her challengers in her own way, proving that everyone in the end is responsible for his or her own destiny.”
— The Economist

“Hoffman’s luminous language bounces us into accepting not only coincident but also its consequences.”
— The Boston Globe

“Alice Hoffman paints her books in big strokes and bright colors, with slashes of romantic reds and blacks. She’s a teller of fairy tells, well-worn or new.”
— The Columbus Dispatch

“With a graceful nod to the power of redemption, Alice Hoffman reminds readers we are all hurt and broken, stumbling through life and fumbling for love, but sometimes we can still find out way to where we want to go.”
— Charlotte Observer

“Headstrong women, reckless love affairs and a liberal dusting of the supernatural are the pleasurable trademarks of an Alice Hoffman novel….Her passionate storytelling and intense characters make a deeply personal connetion that should bewitch old fans and new readers alike.”
People Magazine (A “People Pick,” 4-stars)

“Un-put-downable….The Third Angel soars….an unforgettable portrait of the depth of true love.”
—USA Today

“Hoffman makes vivid and new the realization that grace, beauty, and forgiveness can arise out of the most devastating situations.”
Elle

“Alice Hoffman’s richly layered novel, The Third Angel, is one of her best.”
More

“Hands down, this captivating book is one of Hoffman’s best. It follows three women’s lives as they flow together and apart, tributaries linked by the same tragic love story and mysterious ghost. You’ll want to start it again as soon as you’re done.”
Redbook

“A book that’s hard to put away completely. Even long after it’ s finished, you may find its characters sneaking, like ghosts, back into your head.”
St. Louis Post Dispatch

“These stories capture the fleeting happiness of doomed, misguided love.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Elegant and stunning….Hoffman interweaves the three storioes, gazing unerringly into forces that cause some people to self-destrut and others to find inner strength to last a lifetime.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“One of her best…an exceptionally well-structured, beguiling, and affecting triptych of catastrophic love stories….Not only is Hoffman spellbinding in this incandescent fusion of dark romance and penetrating psychic insight, she also opens diverse and compelling worlds, dramatizes the shocks and revelations that forge the self, and reveals the necessity and toll of empathy and kindness. Hoffman has transcended her own genre.”
Booklist (starred review)

The Third Angel places Hoffman at perhaps the pinnacle of her bountiful literary talents.”
Bookpage

“A mesmerizing tale of the human condition….sure to please Hoffman’s fans and win over new readers.”
Library Journal

The Third Angel is brilliantly crafted, deeply moving, and utterly enchanting. I loved these characters for their complexity, their unpredictability and for the way they showed subtle and shifting nuance in human nature. One of the best things about Alice Hoffman's writing is that she grounds you in detail and also frees your imagination to soar to places it has never been—often simultaneously.  Reading her is immensely satisfying—and addictive!”
— Elizabeth Berg, author of The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted

More Praise for Alice Hoffman:

“Alice Hoffman is my favorite writer.” —Jodi Picoult

“With her glorious prose and extraordinary eyes . . . Alice Hoffman seems to know what it means to be a human being.”
—Susan Isaacs, Newsday

“Alice Hoffman takes seemingly ordinary lives and lets us see and feel extraordinary things.”
—Amy Tan

“Hoffman’s characters, male and female, tend to be defined by the restless, lonely ache of what’s missing in their lives, which becomes clear only when they fill the void with something either unexpectedly right or horribly wrong. Along the way, Hoffman seems to wriggle into their skin, breathe their air, and think their thoughts.”
Entertainment Weekly

 


Polly Morrice
For readers, sniffing out the parallels between the stories slightly obscures one of the pleasures of reverse narrative—its sense of inexorability, of every action tending toward a certain conclusion. Deftly and quietly, Hoffman tucks in the plot strand that ties together her tragic love stories; but following its thread isn't what keeps readers turning the pages. That honor goes to the young Frieda of the novel's middle section, in part because her brave, direct character is more appealing than insecure Maddy and sad, silent Lucy, and in part because she moves in a time and place many of us might have liked to witness—one where fans screamed to have a glimpse of John Lennon and an air of exotic possibility touched even young hotel maids, who, in their thick eyeliner and minidresses, "looked like a horde of Cleopatras when they went out en masse."
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

In this elegant and stunning novel, veteran heartstring-puller Hoffman (Here on Earth; Seventh Heaven) examines the lives of three women at different crossroads in their lives, tying their London-centered stories together in devastating retrospect. High powered New York attorney Maddy Heller arrives in 1999 London having had an affair with Paul, her sister Allie's fiancé,; she must now cope with the impending marriage, and with Paul's terminal illness-which echoes the girls' mother's cancer during their childhood. Hoffman then shifts to heady 1966 London and to Frieda Lewis, Paul's future mother, who falls for a doomed up-and-coming songwriter knowing he will break her heart. The narrative then shifts further back, to 1952 and to Maddy and Allie's future mother, Lucy Green. A bookish 12-year-old wise beyond her years, Lucy sails with her father and stepmother from New York to London for a wedding. There, she becomes an innocent catalyst to a devastating event involving a love triangle. Hoffman interweaves the three stories, gazing unerringly into forces that cause some people to self-destruct ("There was no such thing as too much for a girl who thought she was second best") and others to find inner strength to last a lifetime. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

In a haunted London hotel, the lives of three women intersect across time. A jealous sister cheats with her brother-in-law to-be, a chambermaid beguiles a rock star by composing an original lyric, and a 12-year-old girl is enlisted as go-between for doomed lovers. In each vignette's time warp, the hotel ghost conducts his nightly seventh floor rampage. Hoffman's unsettling and compelling 20th novel weaves the sadness and loss of ordinary people coping in extraordinary ways into tensile strength. The book and audio share the same haunting cover art depicting the fragile third angel who anonymously walks among us to give us aid. Reader Nancy Travis is able to unravel the threads of interlocking plot pieces without drawing the spotlight, allowing the story to outshine the voice reading it. Essential for fiction collections. [Hoffman's Here on Earth was an Oprah Book Club selection in 1998.-Ed.]
—Judith Robinson

School Library Journal

Once again, novelist Hoffman (Skylight Confessions) weaves a mesmerizing tale of the human condition, this time examining the nature of love. Set in London, her new novel tells the story of three different women, tangentially connected. The book's first part focuses on self-absorbed Maddy Heller, who has always coveted her sister Allie's life. That obsession continues when she has an affair with Allie's terminally ill fiancA©, Paul. The second part travels back in time to follow Paul's mother, Frieda, as she becomes involved with an engaged and tragic rock star. The final section concerns Maddy and Allie's mother, Lucy Green, who was in the middle of a fraught love triangle many years before having the girls. Each of these women has lost her faith and each searches for the one angel on earth who can renew it for her. A solid story with a haunting plot line and interesting characters, this latest novel is sure to please Hoffman's fans and win over new readers. Recommended for all public library fiction collections.
—Nanci Milone Hill

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Reviews
A ghost in a down-at-the-heels London hotel ties together three tragic romances in Hoffman's latest (Skylight Confessions, 2007, etc.). Though all three episodes are strongly conceived with complex characters, the connecting material includes carelessly repetitive plot devices (warring sisters, cancer-stricken mothers), highly improbable links among the major figures and a seriously overused blue heron. The "third angel" metaphor is also heavy-handed, but at least has a tangible connection to the plot. In addition to the Angel of Life and the Angel of Death, Dr. Lewis tells his daughter Frieda, there's a Third Angel, "who walked among us, who sometimes lay sick in bed, begging for human compassion." Frieda passes along this insight to Allie, who marries Frieda's dying son Paul during the summer of 1999 in the novel's first section. Though Allie's furiously jealous younger sister Maddy does everything she can to destroy the wedding-including sleeping with Paul, who's trying to convince his fiancee that he doesn't deserve her-nothing can kill the love that blossoms in Allie as Paul's illness grows mortal. Section two moves back to 1966, when 19-year-old Frieda has fled her father's plans for her to become a doctor and gone to work as a maid at the Lion Park Hotel. Frieda falls in love with Jamie, the junkie rock star in Room 708, and writes him two songs: "The Third Angel" and "The Ghost of Michael Macklin." The latter is about the specter introduced in the book's opening pages, when Maddy hears shouting in Room 707 and learns that something terrible happened there in 1952. In fact, it was Maddy and Allie's mother, then 12 years old, who witnessed the incident that created the ghost, anoutgrowth of yet another doomed wedding. The particulars are recounted in the closing section, which features another cluster of full-bodied characters. By now, however, the piling up of disasters and coincidences has become ridiculous. Some moving material about love and loss, swamped by authorial excess. Agent: Elaine Markson/Elaine Markson Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307405951
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/3/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 400,363
  • Product dimensions: 5.22 (w) x 7.88 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

ALICE HOFFMAN is the author of nineteen novels, two books of short stories, and eight books for children and young adults. Her work has been published in more than twenty translations and in more than one hundred foreign editions. She divides her time between Boston and New York City.

Biography

Born in the 1950s to college-educated parents who divorced when she was young, Alice Hoffman was raised by her single, working mother in a blue-collar Long Island neighborhood. Although she felt like an outsider growing up, she discovered that these feelings of not quite belonging positioned her uniquely to observe people from a distance. Later, she would hone this viewpoint in stories that captured the full intensity of the human experience.

After high school, Hoffman went to work for the Doubleday factory in Garden City. But the eight-hour, supervised workday was not for her, and she quit before lunch on her first day! She enrolled in night school at Adelphi University, graduating in 1971 with a degree in English. She went on to attend Stanford University's Creative Writing Center on a Mirrellees Fellowship. Her mentor at Stanford, the great teacher and novelist Albert Guerard, helped to get her first story published in the literary magazine Fiction. The story attracted the attention of legendary editor Ted Solotaroff, who asked if she had written any longer fiction. She hadn't -- but immediately set to work. In 1977, when Hoffman was 25, her first novel, Property Of, was published to great fanfare.

Since that remarkable debut, Hoffman has carved herself a unique niche in American fiction. A favorite with teens as well as adults, she renders life's deepest mysteries immediately understandable in stories suffused with magic realism and a dreamy, fairy-tale sensibility. (In a 1994 article for The New York Times, interviewer Ruth Reichl described the magic in Hoffman's books as a casual, regular occurrence -- "...so offhand that even the most skeptical reader can accept it.") Her characters' lives are transformed by uncontrollable forces -- love and loss, sorrow and bliss, danger and death.

Hoffman's 1997 novel Here on Earth was selected as an Oprah Book Club pick, but even without Winfrey's powerful endorsement, her books have become huge bestsellers -- including three that have been adapted for the movies: Practical Magic (1995), The River King (2000), and her YA fable Aquamarine (2001).

Hoffman is a breast cancer survivor; and like many people who consider themselves blessed with luck, she believes strongly in giving back. For this reason, she donated her advance from her 1999 short story collection Local Girls to help create the Hoffman Breast Center at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA.

Good To Know

  • Hoffman has written a number of children's books, including Fireflies: A Winter's Tale(1999), Horsefly (2000), and Moondog (2004).

  • Aquamarine was written for Hoffman's best friend, Jo Ann, who dreamed of the freedom of mermaids as she battled brain cancer.

  • Here on Earth is a modern version of Hoffman's favorite novel, Wuthering Heights.

  • Hoffman has been honored with the Massachusetts Book Award for her teen novel Incantation.
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      1. Hometown:
        Boston, Massachusetts
      1. Date of Birth:
        March 16, 1952
      2. Place of Birth:
        New York, New York
      1. Education:
        B.A., Adelphi University, 1973; M.A., Stanford University, 1974
      2. Website:

    Read an Excerpt

    I.

    The Heron's Wife

    1999

    Madeline Heller knew she was reckless. She had flown to London from New York two days ahead of schedule and was now checked into her room at the Lion Park Hotel in Knightsbridge. The air was still and filled with dust motes; the windows hadn't been opened in months. Everything smelled like cedar and lavender. Maddy felt hot and exhausted from her travels but she didn't bother to turn on the air conditioner. She was madly, horribly, ridiculously in love with the wrong man and it made her want to lie there on the bed, immobilized.

    Madeline wasn't stupid; she was an attorney in New York. She was thirty-four years old and had graduated from Oberlin and NYU Law School, a tall woman with long black hair. Many people thought she was beautiful and smart, but none of those people mattered. They didn't know her. They had no idea she was a traitor to her own flesh and blood. They would never have guessed she would throw her life away so easily, without thinking twice.

    There was good love and there was bad love. There was the kind that helped raise a person above her failings and there was the desperate sort that struck when someone least wanted or expected it. That was what had happened to Maddy this past spring when she'd come to London to help plan her sister's wedding. Allie hadn't even asked for her help; it was their mother, Lucy, who'd told Maddy she should go to London and assist with the preparations; she was the maid of honor after all. And then when she got there, Allie had already taken care of everything, just as she always did.

    Allie was older by thirteen months. She was the good sister, the perfect sister, the one who had everything. She was a writer who had published an extremely popular children's book. When she walked down the street people often recognized her, and she was always willing to sign scraps of paper for someone's child or present a fan with one of the bookplates she carried in her purse. Once a year she came back to the States to give readings for what had become a perennially popular event where children dressed up in bird costumes. There were nine- and ten-year-old cardinals and ducks and crows all waiting on line to have their copy of The Heron's Wife signed. Maddy sometimes accompanied her sister on tour. She couldn't believe all the fuss over a silly children's story, one Allie had pinched from a tale their mother used to tell. Technically, the story belonged to Maddy as much as it did to her sister, not that she'd felt the need to write a book or change it inside out to suit herself.

    The story was one Lucy Heller would tell down by the marsh where the girls had grown up. Lucy's own mother, the girls' grandmother, had waded barefoot into a pond in Central Park to talk to a huge blue heron. She didn't care what people thought; she just went right in. She'd asked the heron to watch over Lucy and he always had. Now Lucy had asked him to protect her own girls and he had come to live in their marsh in Connecticut.

    "How can a heron watch over a person?" Maddy had whispered to her sister. She didn't have much faith in stories, even though she was only eight years old. In that way, she was very much the skeptic her mother had been.

    "He can have two separate lives," Allie was quick to say, as though the answer was simple, if only Maddy could unwind the mysteries of the universe. "He has his heron life up in the sky and his life down here."

    "I'm glad he can help us both," Maddy said.

    "Don't be ridiculous." Allie was always so definite and sure of herself. "The blue heron only has one true love."

    And so it came to be in Allie's book. There was a woman who married a man she loved. The couple lived in a house that resembled the one on the marsh where the sisters had grown up. There were the same tall silver reeds. The same inky black sky. The bride and groom resided in their house made of sticks and stones for nearly a year, in happiness and peace. And then one day, when the man was out fishing for their supper, there was a knock on the door. The woman answered and there was the groom's other wife, a blue heron come to look for her missing husband.

    "How can you stand all these children around?" Maddy had asked at an especially crowded reading. They had runny noses. They were germ filled, noisy, and rude. And did they have to laugh so loudly? It was earsplitting.

    In Allie's book, the heron wife was wasting away. Her feathers were falling out. She hadn't eaten a mouthful since her husband had left.

    One of us wins and one of us loses, but which will it be? she asked the bride at the door.

    "They're my readers. I want them to laugh."

    Allie was the one who always came home for visits, but at long last Maddy was to be her sister's guest. Frankly, she'd avoided coming to London; she said she was too busy, but it was more than that. She didn't need to see how perfect Allie's world was. Finally, there was no getting around it; there was a wedding to attend to, after all. A wedding where Maddy would once again be the sidekick, the bad little sister who couldn't follow rules, who even as a grown woman was still afraid of ridiculous things, thunderstorms and mice, traffic jams and airplanes. She would most likely be made to wear a horrible dress of some dreadful synthetic fabric while her sister glowed in white silk or satin. Second-rate, second-best, the dark side of everything. She never believed men who told her she was beautiful and she shied away from friendships. She did her work and kept to herself, the sort of woman who could stand idly by while children removed a butterfly's wings or buried a toad in the mud. What people did on their own time was none of her business. Cruelty, after all, was a fact of life. It wasn't up to her to set the world right. That sort of thing was her sister's concern.

    Because Maddy was only in London for a long weekend that April, arriving on a Thursday and departing late Monday, she and Allie had raced directly from the airport to the dressmaker's so that Maddy could have her fitting. They'd been close as children, but had grown apart, and were now as different as sisters could be. Allie, however, had done her best to try and choose a dress that would suit Maddy: blue silk, flattering, showing off Maddy's figure. As for Maddy, she hated the dress, but she kept her mouth shut. She had decided she would try to be the agreeable sister for once in her life. She even agreed to taste potential wedding cakes when they were done with the dresses. That was why she was here. To help her sister.

    They went to the baker's and tasted half a dozen confections, but the buttercream frostings were too heavy and the chocolates were too rich. Allie hadn't seemed satisfied with anything. She said she thought wedding preparations were a waste of time. In the end, she chose a plain yellow cake that had been made from her own recipe. She hadn't really needed Maddy after all.

    Maddy was still in her compliant mode. "Good decision," she said. "Plain is the way to go. Less chance for anything to go wrong."

    Not that she believed in that particular philosophy when it came to herself. Plain was good for Allie, not Maddy. Maddy was greedy and she always had been. She used to steal from her sister, headbands, jewelry, T-shirts. If this had been her wedding cake, she would have wanted mousse and jam and chocolate and brandied apricots and spun sugar. There was no such thing as too much for a girl who always thought she was second-best.

    The day after the cake-tasting adventure, both sisters were curled up in bed with stomachaches under a comforter. They wore pajamas and socks. When they were children, they hadn't needed anyone but each other; it felt that way again for an hour or two as they sipped cups of tea. But there was no way to regain what Allie had ruined when she'd left home. When it came down to it, they really had nothing in common anymore. It had been seventeen years since Allie had gone to college in Boston. She went off to London in her junior year, returning only for a week or so at a time. She'd deserted Madeline, left her alone in the big house in Connecticut with their parents, who had reunited after several years of leading separate lives. The Hellers had no close neighbors and Maddy had no friends. She was standoffish in the way that lonely people often are. After her sister left, Maddy grew more isolated. Even when she went off to Oberlin, she was the only one who came home for Winter Term or spring break. When Allie's letters arrived, Maddy refused to read them. Instead, she went out to sit in the reeds. On days when the sky was clear she would sometimes see the blue heron who lived there. She had read that most herons live in pairs, the larger male and the more delicate female, coupled for life, but this one was alone. He was far off, across the water. She often called to him, but he didn't seemed to hear her. He never once looked her way.

    Allie's flat off of Bayswater was airy but nondescript, not at all Maddy's style. Nothing to envy. Simplicity once again. Allie's wardrobe was full of wool and cashmere in shades of gray and navy and black. Practical clothes that were well tailored. Maddy knew this because she'd sneaked a look in the closet while Allie was in the shower. She felt as though there was a mystery about her sister, some essential detail that would explain her superhuman abilities to do the right thing. She didn't find any clues in all her searching, although she did discover that the single splash of color in the closet was a sheer pink blouse, a birthday present sent by Maddy last fall from Barneys. She couldn't help but notice that the store's tag was still attached.

    The day after the wedding cake fiasco, they went out to lunch with the bridesmaids, even though they still had stomachaches. There was Georgia, Allie's best friend, who was the art director of the publishing company that had published Allie's book. Suzy, a transplanted Texan who had been a student along with Allie during junior year and had married an Englishman. She was now the mother of nine-year-old twin girls, so ensconced in her adopted city that she had a lilting British accent. The third friend, Hannah, taught hatha yoga and lived in the same building as Allie. Allie had been one of her students, and still took a class once a week. Hannah was very tall, and she wore white for nearly every occasion. She looked like a cat, as if she could stretch out and bend in two.

    "At last, the little sister!" Georgia cried when Allie and Maddy arrived at the luncheon. Allie's friends gathered around to greet Maddy. It was a nicer restaurant than Maddy had expected; small vases of flowers with name tags marked their places at the table. The other bridesmaids told Maddy that they were jealous because she was the only one wearing sky blue silk—they were all in almond-colored linen.

    "Yes, but you'll be able to wear those suits for other occasions," Allie explained when her friends complained. "That's why I chose them. Maddy likes extravagant things."

    True enough. The other women had noticed that Madeline was overdressed for the occasion; she was wearing a peacock-colored silk blouse and long silver and opal earrings. Well, people could think she was vain if they wanted to; it wasn't a crime to have good taste, after all.

    "Maybe that's why she's never come here to see you before," Georgia guessed. "She's been waiting for the big dress-up occasion so she can show off."

    "I haven't come because I work," Maddy said.

    "And the rest of us don't?" Georgia wasn't one to back down.

    "I didn't say that."

    "You didn't have to. So what is it you do that keeps you so busy?"

    "I'm an attorney," Maddy said.

    The other women exchanged a look.

    "Is there something wrong with that?" Maddy asked. "Some comment you'd like to make?"

    "Well, she's here now," Allie said to her friends. "That's what's important."

    All the same, there was a chill at lunch after that. Allie's friends were polite to Maddy, but no more. They discussed things she didn't understand, television series she'd never heard of, books she'd never read. She was once again, by choice or design, the outsider in her sister's life.

    When she went to the lavatory, Georgia and Suzy were there. Maddy swore they shut up as soon as they saw her.

    "So what's Paul like?" Maddy asked of the bridegroom-to-be as she washed her hands.

    She definitely wasn't imagining it: Georgia and Suzy exchanged an odd glance in the mirror.

    "Decide for yourself," Suzy said. She sounded extremely Texas, someone you wouldn't want to cross.

    "You're her sister," Georgia added as she reapplied some lip gloss. "I'm sure you can make your own judgments."

    "They didn't like me," Maddy said to Allie after lunch. Not that it mattered. She didn't care what people thought of her. She was like her grandmother in that way. She did as she pleased, no matter the consequences. She would have waded into a pond in Central Park if need be. Maddy and Allie had decided to walk home from the restaurant. It was spring after all. They cut through Hyde Park, which was so green they couldn't help but think of home, all of those reeds in the marsh, all those places to hide.

    "Of course they liked you," Allie said. "Don't be so insecure."

    No one else would have guessed Maddy was insecure. But Allie knew she had been a thumb sucker, a blanket holder, a little girl who had been frightened of spiders, afraid of the dark, terrified of mice. Allie would often have to crawl into bed beside Maddy and tell her a story before she could fall asleep. It was their story, the one about the heron, the one they had shared before Allie claimed it for herself and put it into a book.

    "Paul will probably hate me, too."

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    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 90 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted April 25, 2008

      A MOTHER AND DAUGHTER'S BOOK REVIEW

      Alice Hoffman is amazing. My seventeen year old daughter and I have read all her books. The Third Angel links lives of people through a hotel in London. Her words are so important that my daughter writes down some of the books thoughts on love and life. She gave us yet another gift to share- we both treasured this book. Although my favorite will always be Turtle Moon. My daughter's is Green Angel.

      5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted February 7, 2010

      Gorgeous

      This book is amazing because you can read it over and over and always have a different perpective and notice something different. I love the style of this book because you can read the chapters completely out of order and still get the same overall appeal but in a completely different way. However, I will warn you that it might take a little to get started and it might be frustrating at first because it's a little hard to get into for the fact that you can read any chapter first and it will all make sense. The books characters aren't underdeveloped, but you'll see the need to jump from one person to another, to one timeline to another and so forth. It will all make sense and you'll be begging for more.

      3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted January 1, 2010

      I Also Recommend:

      Will touch your very soul!

      This is one of those mysterious hauntings that works backwards to solve the case of WHY. Wonderful puzzle pieces, complex, soulful characters, very believable, multi-faceted love,in the 1950's and 1960's time period, all to tantalize you and keep you reading till all hours of the night. ENJOY! WELL WORTH YOUR PURCHASE!

      Some others that took my very breath away...RAINWATER and EXPLOSION IN PARIS and BEAUTIFUL CREATURES...

      3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted June 17, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      I Also Recommend:

      The Ghost of Michael Macklin

      This offering by Ms. Hoffman is a generational piece whose roots are in the 1950s. The backdrop for most of the story is the Lion Park hotel in London, a second-rate hotel that is haunted.

      Our first encounter with sisters Maddie and Allie uncovers a betrayal by the younger sister who lives a care-free existence based on the fact that she believes that she was an unloved child. Allie, the older sister, has pretty much done what was expected of her because she has always been the caretaker; first when her mother had cancer and later when her fiance suffers from the same disease. She realizes only too late that she truly loves her fiance and moves swiftly to makes things right only to lose him too.

      Freida, the fiance's mother, takes up the middle of the book. Her story is set in the 1960s and brought back for this reader 'the look' that was so popular then in London: overly made-up eyes, short mini-skirts, high boots, swingy music, free love, etc. Hoping to escape from the dreariness of a rural youth she makes her way to the Lion Park hotel where she works as a maid. Soon, though, she becomes the muse for a rock-star wanna-be who is hooked on drugs and has a very Paris Hilton-like girlfriend. In the end, Freida puts all of the very trendy and drug-filled life behind her and returns to her rural home where she marries the boyfriend who had gone on to college. She goes on to nursing school herself and lives a very fulfilling life in spite of the ghostly happenings that populated her time working at the Lion Park.

      The thread that sews it all together is Lucy Green. Lucy is the mother of the two young women we first met at the outset of the story. Inadvertently she is the one who caused the problems that have brought about the haunting of the Lion Park's seventh floor. Having witnessed the deaths of the people involved she withdraws to a secret place inside herself just as she did when her own mother passed away. It takes love in all its simple complexities to bring Lucy into her own once more.

      This book is a very easy read despite the complexities of the characters we meet. I read it in two sittings and would have accomplished it in one had I not fallen asleep at nearly two in the morning.

      I give this story four stars simply because I've enjoyed some of Ms. Hoffman's other offerings more.

      Note: you're bound to fall in love with Millie.

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted May 31, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      Depressing but well written

      Once again, I have read an Alice Hoffman book with great admiration for her writing and her style, but find the story much too depressing. I love to read and continually have a store of books waiting in the wings and particularly enjoy great writers. However, I look to books as an escape from reality, not a chance to wallow in the miseries of others. This series of short but related stories is one disaster after another.

      2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted September 9, 2008

      Different type of book

      this book was set up weird because it included three seperate stories and while reading it i wasn't sure how they connected to eachother, but when i finished it it all clicked together to make an amazing story. Its unique and thats what makes it so great. THe storyline and characters are captivating and i didn't want it to end. overall it was a great book!

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted May 3, 2010

      Interesting book

      I really enjoyed this book. It's a little hard to get into at first, but the simplistic writing style eventually got me engrossed in the story. My favorite section was the first part, "The Heron's Wife," but I felt that just as I was getting into it, the second section began and it started to get a little hard to keep track of all the characters and how everyone was connected. Maybe I liked the first part best because I have a sister and we're very close. The characters were well-developed, which makes it easier for the reader to understand their motivations. I liked that the book was not chronological, but I thought this technique was confusing. After I finished the book, I had to go back to the first section in order to understand the ending better. All in all though, this is a beautiful story about love and betrayal and I highly recommend it.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted March 7, 2010

      more from this reviewer

      Unique with an unusual writing style

      This book has an unusual writing style which keeps you reading well after you should be asleep. The characters were well portrayed, both adults and children. Emotions were very descriptive as well as the background to the story. I will be looking to see what else this writer has written, as her refreshing twist of writing captured my imagination.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted November 24, 2009

      One of my favorites

      I have enjoyed Alice Hoffman in the past but her books tended towards the depressing so I picked up this one hesitantly but fell in love with it. It's a wonderful story about the different ways people love one another. Her characters are complicated and humanly flawed. The story is so artfully written that it could be read backwards as well as forwards. I often pass along books to people when I am finished with them but this one is staying with me.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted September 27, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!

      Alice Hoffman does not disappoint here...she delivers a quirky slice of life. Her characters are real.....the pain and joy they experience are your own as you weave through her story....wonderful

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted September 3, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      Excellent book, stellar writing and plot

      I haven't read all of Alice Hoffman's books, but I can easily say that this one is my favorite so far. Three-part plot, interweaving characters, tense story line, realistic emotions and dialogue. A little bit mysterious and special. If you like Hoffman you will love this book.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted August 1, 2009

      I Also Recommend:

      You'll Never Forget This One!

      This book was incredibly moving and quite unforgettable. There were several times I could feel the pain and love right alongside the characters. I became so involved with the characters that I was sad to see the book end. This was this first book I read by Alice Hoffman, and the day I finished the book I went to the store and bought two more of her books. I can't wait to read them!

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted July 22, 2008

      Don't Get It and Don't Care

      I'm not disappointed as I haven't read anything by this author and so had no expectations.I read it for my book club. Definitely a dud.I thought there was little theme to the book - the interwoven stories way too far fetched. I don't get the point- if there was one to get - and I disagree about the characters being well drawn - sorry - I thought they were shallow and poorly drawn. I would not recommend this book - and DEFINITELY not on audio - way too confusing.

      1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted July 19, 2008

      wonderful

      this is just a wonderful and lovely book filled with beloved people like everyday life. What sets it apart, however, is how the writer approaches each individual's struggle and brings them together in the end. I highly recommend it.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 14, 2008

      I am a fan for life

      Satisfaction Guaranteed!! A beautifully written story. Definitely one of Alice's best. You will love the characters that are so real and vunerable. What a boring place my world would be if I could not read the amazing words of Alice Hoffman.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 14, 2008

      Best one yet!

      I have all of Alice's books and think this is the best one yet. The stories of three woman and how they are linked is a can not put down book. Can not wait for the next book

      1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 26, 2008

      Hoffman is Magical again

      If you're an Alice Hoffman fan, this book will not disappoint you. Once again she is able to tell a story, bring her characters alive with feeling, and touch our souls. So simple, and yet so heartful, and mystical.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted January 19, 2014

      more from this reviewer

      Great book!

      This book was so heart warming at times and yet heart breaking at times. The relationship between the characters was so intriguing

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    • Posted January 8, 2014

      interesting intertwining of stories-i loved it!

      interesting intertwining of stories-i loved it!

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted November 7, 2012

      Excellent read, love Alice Hoffman

      This book is well written, complex, intricate, and a fun read.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 90 Customer Reviews

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