Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Book Review: A Time of Angels by Patricia Schonstein

 Primo Verona is born with a gift of clairvoyance so strong that he is able to predict his own mother's death while still in her womb. Brought up on a rich diet of astronomy, philosophy, and storytelling, Primo accurately reads the futures of the local community who pay him in honey cake, tiramisu, and other delicacies. Pasquale Benvenuto is the owner of a beloved wine bar and delicatessen whose culinary reputation rests on recipes for the fruited breads and salamis his father taught him to make.

Together Primo and Pasquale form an easy friendship triangle with the beautiful Beatrice, Primo's wife and Pasquale's former girlfriend. But when Beatrice leaves her husband for her old love, Primo is devastated. He casts spells to spoil Pasquale's creations and to win back Beatrice -- but inadvertently conjures up an unexpected visitor.

This is not a new release, it's from 2005.  I got it from my library's ebook section so I could try out my new nook in a hurry.  The nook was awesome, the book, however, was not.

A Time of Angels starts out in post-World War II, about a group of friends and family, Italian Jews whose parents had migrated to South Africa.  Ms. Schonstein starts describing the characters and all the little details of their lives.  For my taste, she went into way too much detail, spending pages and pages about the Italian food one of her main characters, Pasquale prepares in his restaurant/deli. 

The book is very disconnected.  She jumped from character to character, back and forth in time until I was thoroughly confused as to who she was talking about and where they fit into the story.  Part of the problem is there wasn't much of a story at all.  A man loses his wife to his best friend while he is away on business, so he holes up alone in his house.  Then the Devil comes to live with him.

Ms. Schonstein had some interesting ideas with the different vignettes she wrote about and how all the characters coincidentally entertwined in each other's lives throughout the years.  That was really the only thing I enjoyed about the book.  Maybe it was just too deep for such a shallow mind as mine!

I give this 2 Bookworms


Paperback:  240 pages
Publisher:  Harper Perennial (November 29, 2005)
ISBN-10:  0060562439
ISBN-13:  978-0060562434

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