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Author: Manette Ansay
Genre: Women's Reads
Rights: UK & Comm excl Canada
Pub. Date: 1st June 2008
From the author of Vinegar Hill, the million-copy bestseller and Oprah Book Club pick, comes a haunting and eloquent story of small town life.
'In a little Wisconsin town about a hundred miles southwest of the town where I grew up, a misfit boy was kidnapped by a group of high school kids who, later, would testify they'd merely meant to frighten him, to drive him around for a while. Somehow they ended up at a river, somehow the boy was shoved, he jumped, he slipped - accounts vary - into the icy water. The kids told the police that they never heard a splash; one reported seeing a brilliant flash of light. All night, volunteers walked the river's edge, but it was dawn before the body was found in a barn a good mile from the bridge. The owner of the barn had been the one to discover the body. "It was," she said, "as if he were just sleeping." And then she told police she believed an angel carried him there.'
Many citizens of Ambient, Wisconsin, believe the old tales of an angel living in the Onion River that runs through the heart of their town. So when Gabriel Carpenter vanishes one night at the river's edge after being accosted by troublesome teenagers, he is presumed drowned. Yet the teenagers all tell a different and conflicting story, and when Gabriels lifeless body is found in a barn a mile away no one in this quiet Midwestern community can agree whether a miracle or a hoax has occurred. But as the story spreads, and curious tourists overrun the town - some skeptical, others reverent, still others angling for financial gain - one fact becomes certain beyond any doubt: life here will never be the same.
'A writer with a gift for persuasive and shapely narrative...With "River Angel", Manette Ansay has moved beyond her prior mastery of the family scene to a lucid, eloquent representation of the commingled and conflicting lives of a town.'New York Times
'Wonderful...I feel an overwhelming compulsion to thrust River Angel into people's hands and insist: Read this! Now!...Not many writers can top Ansay's insight into character.'Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
'Warmly recommended, a wonderful novel.'Library Journal (Starred Review)