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The Angel of Blythe Hall: A Historical Novel Paperback – July 26, 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for the novels of Darci Hannah
 
“Absolutely fantastic! A beautifully written novel that draws you in from the first word and doesn’t let go until the last spellbinding page. I loved every minute of it. If you enjoy historical fiction with visceral historical detail, evocative gothic atmosphere, intriguing mystery, thrilling adventure, heart-tugging romance, and a mystical twist, you won’t want to miss this one.”—Monica McCarty, on The Angel of Blythe Hall
 
“The vibrant voice of Hannah’s heroine brings the lonely coast of Scotland very much to life.”—Lauren Willig, on The Exile of Sara Stevenson

About the Author

Darci Hannah, born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago and a graduate of Indiana University, has skied, paddled, sailed and hiked a good chunk of North America while toting her favorite, dog-eared works of historical fiction along with her.  As a self-proclaimed student of life who is "far from passing the test," Darci continued her self-education after college by indulging her passion for travel, history (Scottish history in particular), as well as her interest in those mysterious happenings, myths and tales that challenge the imagination.  Shortly after graduation, Darci married her college sweetheart.  It wasn't until after the birth of the couple's third son that she finally decided to combine her adventurous spirit with her life-long passions and put pen to paper.  Many years and rejection slips later, The Exile of Sara Stevenson, was finally published in 2010 by Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, followed by, The Angel of Blythe Hall, published in 2011.

It isn't surprising that Darci Hannah's works, combining her unique interests and storytelling ability, don't fit neatly into any one genre.  While being firmly rooted in history, they are unwinding journeys of adventure, romance, mystery and suspense that deftly bring the reader to the edge of belief and beyond. Hannah's stories are filled with palpable emotion, richly drawn characters, evocative settings, visceral historical detail and intriguing, unpredictable plots.  They speak to the romantic--to the adventurous soul looking to be whisked from the twenty-first century and transported to Scotland of the past.  Whether to a forlorn lighthouse teetering on the edge of Cape Wrath, or to the tumultuous Borders in the reign of James IV, Darci Hannah's inspired historical tales will continue to linger in the imagination long after the last page is turned.

Darci Hannah currently lives in Michigan with her husband and three teenaged sons. 
 
 
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345520564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345520562
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,678,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In 1481 at Blythe Hall on the Scottish side of the border, Julius saves his sister Isabeau's life when he kills the Englishman trying to abduct the Laird's daughter. When they enter the Hall, their father William praises his son and lectures his daughter for not letting go of her cur Rondo; as her action almost killed the siblings. William sees a vision of his late wife Angelique calling to him. The Laird turns insane while Julius is charged with treason and Isabeau sent to live at the king's court.

Elven years later, Isabeau returns home to claim Blythe Hall; Julius is there to greet her though he acts mad claiming he seeks some otherworldly power. The King follows as he is attracted to Isabeau's friend Marion Boyd. Sir George Douglas wants Isabeau, but though attracted she has doubts as she dreams of a golden guardian angel. When an enemy army storms the gates of Blythe Hall, Isabeau prays her Gabriel proves real and not just her imagination.

This is an odd fascinating paranormal historical thriller in which the story line never quite decides between fifteenth century intrigue and an intriguing fantasy as the mystical elements tend to disrupt the flow of a well written Scottish border tale. Still fans who enjoy something different will want to read Isabeau seeks her muse.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I agree with Harriet's review (Wow-can't believe I just said that) "odd" is a good way to introduce this book.
The setting is Medieval.
The heroine is a stunning beauty - in fact all the characters seem to be stunningly gorgeous.
The heroine has herself was too good to be true: She has a stereotypical name (Isabeau), beautiful, brave, kind, etc.....
The mix of genre's: part historical, part Angel fantasy/paranormal, part romance was intriguing.
I was not sure where the author was headed with the story, and there were some surprising plot twists that kept the book interesting.
I detracted one star because I think the book would have been better without the mystical/paranormal element.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The writing was that of a child. i was able to get through ten or fifteen pages but had to stop reading because the character's actions didn't match her thoughts or apparent personality and it seemed like it was going to be a waste of time. Other reviewers said as much and I have to agree with them. Not worth your time or money.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From the beginning, I have to say this book was hard to put down. It contain just enough fantasy, historical detail, and romance to make it a thoroughly enticing story. For half the story, as a reader, you honestly don't know who are the "good guys". Although often this tactic makes me feel dissatisfied, it is well-done by Hannah. Also although the explanation behind Gabriel's appearance is a little out-of-nowhere, as well as who he actually is, it didn't detract from the story. As well, this book does have some long paragraphs of back-stories that are a little unruly (which I recommend you skim). All in all, Hannah did a spectacular job making it all come together in the end creating a unique and dysfunctional family while leaving the reader with a slight (though acceptable) cliffhanger which I hope might be the beginnings of a sequel.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a book that I read for my book club. It is one I never would have chosen myself. Reason I joined the book club was to broaden my reading choices. I enjoyed it because it was a different kind of book than the usual mysteries I read. A good change.
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Format: Paperback
Darci Hannah is a topnotch researcher, and an engaging storyteller. The heroine of Blythe Hall is Lady Isabeau Blythe who has the grit of a modern woman, the trained grace of a Lady in the court of King James, and the spirit of a scifi teenager. The bad guys are creepy, and the good guys are stellar. Dante Continari and Julius Blythe are a dizzyingly schizophrenic and delicious combination of both. The secondary characters are rich, thick Scottish wool woven around the shiny armor and velvet of the gallants. Maybe fewer bodice-ripping adjectives for the next book, but I hope there's a next book already in the works. Well done again, Darci!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is yet another great read by this great author! She's another name on my list of favorites, so I can't wait for her next one! A beautiful historical adventure with a lovely protagonist. Highly recommended for fun, and to lose yourself for a while in the world Darci Hannah has created here.
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By B. Spangler on December 15, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I have to write a review of Angel of Blythe Hall if only because I feel like the rating is inflated. I enjoy this time period and a little mysticism does not scare me off, but I began this encouraged by the rating and the first couple of reviews. With only five reviews, that rating needs a little leavening.

As I did read through to the end, I had planned to give it 2 points, thinking if I finished it, it must have had some merit. However, while I did have some interest in the characters, finishing it was related more to the reviews and an expectation there was better coming. This was not the case, thus the 1-point rating.

In construction, it is not an enjoyable read. Paragraphs run on forever. There are pages and pages of tedious exposition and description I skimmed through. In story, it is frequently silly. An amazing amount is squeezed in over a very short span of time. Characters manage to survive grievous wounds and before intervention of any kind, function most vigorously. While under siege and in dire straits, the heroine is more interested in conversing with her soon-to-be lover, whose arrow she disrupts, than dispatching the attacker who has promised rape and plunder. Characters who never appear provide "deus ex machina" support. Too much happens with pin-point timing, bringing characters from far-flung locations together in the nick of time. Major plot points develop around otherwise smart people doing stupid things. Fully comprehensible tunes sung in the dungeon are heard throughout the castle yet a fight to the death later is not; anyway, I would have thought design supported NOT hearing what went on in the dungeon.

That's plenty and I could go on, but on top of all this, I could not escape the belief one character seems to step almost whole from Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles. If this book sounds interesting to you, your time might be much better spent there.
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