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A Quiet Belief in Angels by R.J. Ellory

A Quiet Belief in Angels (original 2007; edition 2008)

by R.J. Ellory

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8464110,632 (3.66)39
Title:A Quiet Belief in Angels
Authors:R.J. Ellory
Info:Orion (2008), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 396 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:fiction, to oxfam it goes

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A Quiet Belief in Angels by R.J. Ellory (Author) (2007)

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Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
This book starts when Joseph Vaughan's father dies. Joseph is 12 and hopes that his father has become an angel. That year the first little girl in his community is murdered. The book follows Joseph's life as he is touched by the horror of Hitler's war in Europe and the more local horror of the murders of young girls.

I have to say the plot was nothing like I anticipated. From the book jacket you are given to believe that the first part of the book will be about Joseph's childhood and the local murders. Then, 50 years after the killings cease, Joseph confronts his past. This is not accurate at all. The book follows all of Joseph's life linearly after the age of 12 years, with no break. Some years are admittedly summed up quickly, but the killings do not stop and Joseph is only about 40 at the end.

The beginning was well written and pulls you immediately into the story and inside Joseph's mind and heart. Admittedly the middle of the book began to drag a little for me, but at one point about 3/4 through I could not stop reading and finished it in one sitting. The ending was thoroughly engrossing and I had to keep reading to find out who the killer was. Your mind cycles through multiple suspects before the ending.

The weaknesses: I thought in the beginning Joseph was much too young to be thinking such deep and morose thoughts. And his later sexual affair with an older woman struck me as wrong on her end. The story itself was written very dark, with the characters acting and speaking a bit melodramatically. But overall a really good and engrossing story. ( )
  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
4* for this audiobook edition; 3½* for the book itself

Mark Bramhall's voice was excellent for this book. It intensified the brooding Southern atmosphere significantly for me! As for the story, this isn't the type of mystery I prefer but I found it well written and the perspective of a person living in a rural area in which a serial killer of young girls is operating was interesting. However, there were a few times when the first person narration by Joseph Vaughn described things he couldn't have known or seen or heard about later. Also, Vaughn's sense of responsibility or connection to the girls is not normal nor adequately explained. It is necessary for the way the author concluded the case & the book but it didn't feel natural. ( )
  leslie.98 | Feb 22, 2017 |
Joseph Vaughn's childhood is marred by murder of several local girls, all presumably at the hands of a single serial killer. These events color not only his childhood, but his entire life as he becomes obsessed with the crimes. He can't seem to catch a break, his life rocked time after time by tragedy. A gifted writer, Joseph eventually moves to New York City in an attempt to leave it all behind, but it's not that easy.

This was a really sneaky mystery. Ellory drops little breadcrumbs every so often, and just when you think you know what's going on, things take a turn. I was wrong about who the killer was, yet it all made sense in the end. The setting is also worked into the story very well... the attitudes of people due to World War II play a significant part, as well as the small town southern setting. The only fault I could find with the book was the writing style. It was stiff and sometimes stuffy throughout most of the book and tended to lessen the enjoyment of the storyline. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |

I loved the title and had planned to read this book for some time before I actually got to it.

I liked the story it self, for me it was a nice detective. Young girls are murdered in a small community, Joseph gets obsessed to solve the case and find the murderer. It had all the elements of a good thriller. I liked reading it.

But what I like most about these novels is the writing. I really like his style, it doesn't feel like you're reading a thriller when you look at the writing - it feels good. And I thought it has a wonderful title!

I've read multiple books by RJ Ellory, but I believe this is my favourite. ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
Another book listed in The Guardian's 1000 best novels http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/jan/23/bestbooks-fiction
and a week after finishing I'm still not quite sure what to say about it. Ostensibly, it's about a string of murders that take place in Georgia during the late 1930's & War years, but it's so much more than that.

The book centres on Joseph Calvin Vaughan, a young boy who is at school with the first of the girls to be murdered. As each girl is found, Joseph finds himself drawn deeper into the events and their aftermath, so much so, that for a while he is suspected of being involved. It's written from his perspective and flicks between the 'present day' where he has finally caught up with the murderer and his remembrances of all the events from the death of his father and how he got to the current situation. His life seems to be one trauma and set back after another, but somehow he keeps on 'keeping on', rising above it all and trying to 'start again'.

I'm really not doing this book justice - it is very good. You've got the murders and their aftermath, you've got the story of a boy growing up in the USA during the depression, war etc and how he overcomes all the setbacks that befall him, you've got small town politics and a whole host of well drawn and interesting characters. Definitely a book worth reading.
( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
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Wat we ons herinneren uit onze jeugd zullen we ons altijd herinneren - blijvende geesten, in ons geheugen gegrift, onuitwisbaar, ingeprent, eeuwig zichtbaar

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In 1930s Georgia, 12 year-old Joseph Vaughan hears of the brutal murder of a young girl, the first of a series of killings that will take ten lives in the subsequent decade. Compelled by fear and duty, Joseph and his friends establish The Guardians, a group of children determined to protect the people of Augusta Falls.… (more)

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