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Angels and Echoes: A Novel Paperback – December 3, 2013
The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Dori Hartley is a native New Yorker, a writer, illustrator, actor and musician. Hartley started her writing career as a lyricist, penning tunes for Tears For Fears, The Goo Goo Dolls, Carlos Santana, Daphne Rubin Vega, Morcheeba and Patricia Kaas. Her lyrics inspired the writers of the HBO series, The Sopranos, to create an entire show revolving around her song, "Nobody Loves Me But You". Episode #11, "A Hit is a Hit", refers to Ms. Hartley's song as "the hit" which drives the plot. Her writing credits include essays for AOL's ParentDish magazine, where her controversial articles have each been featured on the AOL Welcome Screen. She received over one million hits in one day, on her autobiographical essay, "Rocky Horror 'Glee' Episode a Time Warp for Original Floor-Show Frank". Her work can also be found in Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, MyDaily and SEED. She attended Parsons The New School of Design, where she studied Illustration and Fine Art, and New Media at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Angels and Echoes is her first novel. She lives with her daughter and two cats, in South Florida.
Top customer reviews
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The characters will stay with me for a long time. Thank you Ms. Hartley for opening my eyes to what people are capable of, both the evil and the good.
My only critique is that the last third of the book was not as intense or detailed as the beginning. Olivia was flippant and not realistic in her response to Evan's extreme feelings before he confronted his mother. The other characters did not have the depth that they did in the first part of the book.
I will reread this book, although I don't think I want to cry like that again.
Bravo Ms. Hartley and may you and your daughter be blessed.
Though the book title and cover suggest an epic other-world fantasy, the storyline of this novel by first-time author Dori Hartley is rooted in something far more sinister - the horrors too often inflicted by humans on each other. Who needs vampires and demons when cheating husbands, abusive mothers, and murdering sons are all too happy to step out of the understudy's shadow?
And so the story goes in Hartley's gripping page-turner, "Angels and Echoes," a character study in how far one can be stretched in the directions of selfless love and pure evil before the deeds themselves catapult us into either angelic or demonic status.
From the first page, the reader is immediately thrust into the parallel storylines of New Yorker Olivia Lang and Kentucky-based Evan McQuayle, two protagonists each fighting their own demons that unfortunately know no cultural or geographic boundaries - breast cancer and child abuse.
I offer no spoilers on how their two very different worlds collide, but when they do, it is with a force so powerful that the reader truly won't see it coming. And once you see it, you won't want to look away even for a moment, no matter how difficult some passages are to read. It is as if the author grabs you by the nape of the neck and forces you to stare into the sun, never allowing you to break your gaze. Hartley is not afraid to display in grotesque, almost eye-blinding, color what many of us would prefer remain greyed out in the darkness.
But here's the thing - and this is a spoiler I don't mind sharing - goodness always wins in the end. It may not seemingly be in equal proportion to the horrors experienced, and it may not wrap up in complete storybook fashion, but this reader does believe that good always prevails. Through each of their own tragedies, Olivia and Evan offer each other - and their growing and strangely intertwining tribe of family and friends - unconditional love and redeeming hope in proportions that are truly life-saving. And let me be clear: this is not the blind, sugar-coated love of fairytales. This love is real, raw, flawed, gritty, sweaty. In a word, human.
Truthfully? I thank the author for displaying the violence and vulgarity in such epic, heart-breaking fashion, because it only heightens my awe of the perfect power of good to conquer evil in our lives - if we allow it to. And that is the key: whatever dungeon of misery we are plummeted into, whatever grave of despair we've dug for ourselves, most of us are not so far down that we can't help another up -- especially those who have absolutely no capacity for helping themselves. The power of good, though immense, needs our seemingly puny human actions and humble missteps to animate and propel it into action. As the pace picks up - and as this book so beautifully exemplifies - a force that great can only multiply and grow to outshine any shadow.
With such a richly painted canvas to feast our eyes upon, it's hard to believe that this is the author's first novel. It reads with the pace, thrill and intrigue reminiscent of Stephen King or Dan Brown. Lofty comparisons, but well earned. In fact, this reader put the book down only once, and I will tell you that the ending left me begging for more.
With all of its twists and turns, this universal story of good and evil - rendered anew in this author's deft hands - transforms rejection into redemption; betrayal into loyalty; manipulation into pure intention and grace. And, abuse into love.
Redemption. Loyalty. Pure intention. Grace. Love.
What a beautiful ending, yet these possibilities are always with us from the beginning.
In the end, Dori Hartley is a first-rate story teller, dare I say a literary angel, who delivers an important message about rejection and redemption. And I, for one, hope that her compelling plots and unforgettable characters continue to echo and resonate with all of us for many more books to come.
This story grabbed me from the first sentence to the dark climax to the beautiful ending.
It's a dark horror novel, but not in the way you expect a horror novel, there are no ghosts, no vampires, no demons, just the real horrors that happen to real people every day. The internal and external ones. And theres no Buffy to make the problems these people have go away, just their own will power to fight, survive and keep living.
I'd go so much further into depth about why I felt the way I feel about the two main charaters, but I don't want to spoil a single moment of discovery in this novel for anyone. I read it with out knowing a thing about it, and to me the discovery of each new detail is really part of the experiance.
On one hand I want this author to write a sequal because I was sad when I had to leave the world of these characters, I felt so much for them, but at the same time, I don't want her to write them anymore horrors.. I really do want to immagine them happily ever after. Hopefully Ms. Hartley will create us a new novel to read soon, she really has mastered the art of human darkness vs. the will to survive it.
After being pulled into this world and these lives that she created I can't wait to dive into the next one.
some people i know will not believe that this really happens... believe it, it is the sick history of children of every make and model... the sickness is everywhere and only by openning the "oh, that is just not possible here" can this be eradicated...
read this book...