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The Guardian Angel's Journal Paperback – April 1, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Readers who overlook the uninviting title will be treated to a thoroughly original take on a familiar literary conceit. Margot Delacroix is dead as the story opens, but has become a guardian angel named Ruth, sent back to guard herself reliving her life, following the four rules of guardian angelhood: witness, protect, record, love. Ruth can affect what Margot does, a little. The life that unfolds, or re-unfolds, is harsh and filled with bad choices, but Ruth is there to give protection and nudges that may-or may not-be followed. Ruth is particularly anxious to better understand why her/Margot's teenage son ended up in jail for murder, and she sees a chance to make a difference, at great cost. Debut novelist Jess-Cooke, who lives in England, is a lovely writer; Ruth's narrative voice is compelling. The writer's fertile imagination generates a host of minor characters throughout Margot's life, all of whom have well-characterized guardian angels interacting with Ruth. The interplay of the planes of angelic and earthly existence is an insistent tease that reels the reader in and along. Jess-Cooke is one to watch. (Apr.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Carolyn Jess-Cooke was born in Belfast, Ireland, and is now a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Northumbria. She lives in Gateshead, England, with her husband and three children.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: GuidepostsBooks (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824948793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824948795
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,593,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carolyn Jess-Cooke was born in 1978 to a musical family in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is an award-winning author of poems and novels for adults, as well as four non-fiction books in the areas of Shakespeare, cinema, and film sequels. Her first poetry collection, INROADS, won the Tyrone Guthrie Prize, an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors, a Northern Promise Award, and was shortlisted for the New London Poetry Prize. Her debut novel, THE GUARDIAN ANGEL'S JOURNAL, was published in 2011 in the UK & Commonwealth (Piatkus), USA (Guideposts), and in 20 other languages. Her second novel, THE BOY WHO COULD SEE DEMONS, was published May 2012 in the UK & Commonwealth; Bantam Dell are publishing the US version in 2013.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Guardian Angel's Journal is one of the most original takes on the theme of angels that I've ever come across. While the notion of coming back as your own guardian angel boggles the mind at first, Jess-Cooke deftly sets up the rules of the world quickly and believably, allowing us to follow along the path of Ruth as she finds her sea-legs as a guardian angel. It's devastating to see the most private pains of Margot's life and it's amazing to me how Jess-Cooke manages to give both Ruth and Margot their own identities, personalities, points of view, and conflicting interests. I love Ruth's in-your-face approach to following God's orders to protect, record, watch, and love. Ultimately, this story is a truly unique coming-of-age tale that whispers to the reader the hope that, even at what we think is the end of the road, all is not lost. Everyone read this book!
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This book had me by the first page. The story line is very unique. An angel comes back to earth to save herself. The storyline was so different and so interesting. The descriptions by the author are vivid. When she describes the angels wings, which are nothing like one would imagine, your minds eye can see these magnificent creatures. Her storyline is spell-binding. The premises is we recall probably 5% of our life and this is what causes us to make the bad decisions we make. The angel sees herself being born as her drug addicted mother dies in birth. She watches her very rich college age father mourn the loss of his girlfriend but walk away from the baby because his world does not permit a baby from a drug addict. From there you see how her childhood shapes her life. It was an amazing read. I can definitely see this novel becoming a movie. It has all the elements someone would pay 10 bucks to go out and see.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The idea of guardian angels existing amongst the living is not in itself a particularly unlikely basis for a book. Surveys down the years have shown that a majority, across all religions, believe in guardian angels and a study in 2008 suggested that 55% believed that a guardian angel had intervened in their own lives. However, the breathtaking idea which is the basis of this novel is that Ruth comes back as guardian angel to herself or to be more exact, Margot who was her earthly embodiment.

Ruth follows Margot through her life from her birth. However, at the outset when she is given the task of becoming a guardian angel, she is given very little guidance - she is told in the first few pages of the book that a guardian angel should observe, protect, record and love and that is it. No more detailed instructions to work on at all. So Ruth is very much a trainee, learning on the job and finding her way around a spiritual dimension with its own rules and methods.

All this makes for compulsive reading. We have Margot, who has many challenges to meet in her life, and Ruth, who, of course is well aware of all of these and the life changing decisions Margot has made for better or for worse. The whole concept of being able to revisit and observe and possibly influence the pivotal moments in one's own life including the many mistakes along the way is a very thought provoking concept. Additionally we have all the interest of the spiritual dimension in which Ruth exists, as she learns more about it.

This is quite a combination, and is handled well by the author. This is particularly so considering that this is a first published novel.
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Format: Paperback
Margaret Delacroix has died. In a highly unusual and ironic twist, she has been assigned to be a guardian angel to herself but with the new name, Ruth. This, however, is no easy task as her job has four rules that must be followed in her mission. She must be a witness to everything Margot does, feels, and experiences. She must protect Margot from the forces attempting to interfering with the choices Margot makes. Third, she must keep a record, a journal, of all that happens; and fourth, she must "love Margot." The latter doesn't appear to be too daunting a task until the reader gets deeper into the story.

Margot has been born into a childhood of heart-rending suffering, abandonment, cruelty, and abominable experiences that make the reader cringe and sadly cause the divine light she was born with to gradually wane and almost disappear. Another way of saying this is that life's knocks have made Margot into a tough cookie who is extremely needy but who guards against any intrusion into the minute fragment of vulnerability left. So begins a life of alcohol, drugs, destructive relationships, and lack of vision that has been surrendered to the stronger elements around her.

What is particularly intriguing in this story is what one would call the proverbial battle between "good and evil," a stereotypical phrase this reviewer dislikes; but that is exactly what is transpiring between the guardian angels and demon angels surrounding most of the characters. This battle, for example, is depicted in the pattern of paralysis in a person's self-esteem that blocks freedom in any shape or form. Or perhaps it is an illness that takes hold and will not let go until death.
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