I've recently come across two novels with very similar titles. This isn't particularly uncommon. After all, if you search for books titled "Eclipse" at Gwinnett County Public Library you'll find them from four different authors. But because these books shared a title that was uncommon, and because each took the concept in such a different direction, I thought it might be interesting to talk about them together.
The Angel Makers
By Jessica Gregson
When the men of a Hungarian village leave to fight in World War I, their wives and girlfriends are left behind to cope with the absence. The days don't seem very different until a group of Italian POWs are housed near the village. Now the women to go the makeshift prison to do washing and cooking to barter what they can in exchange for a slightly better life. Perhaps it is inevitable that mixing lonely Hungarian women and lonely Italian soldiers leads to a few affairs. Some of the women are happier than they've ever been. But then the men begin to return from the war, and they can tell that the village isn't the same. When Sari's fiance comes back and discovers what's been going on he makes her life a living hell. She makes a choice, and she poisons him with the help of her friend Judit . She thinks she's gotten away with it, too, but then the first of the village women shows up asking for help with her own problems. Soon, Sari is providing poison for many women in the village, and husbands and other family members are dropping left and right. Based on a true story, this novel offers a glimpse into what a person in desperate circumstances may do, and how quickly the consequences of those actions can multiply.
By Nick Harkaway
Joe Spork is leading a quiet life as a clockwork repairman in a modern version of London with a slightly revisionist and steampunk-inflected history when he stumbles into a plot to destroy the world. Sound complicated? Well, it is and it isn't. The story in Angelmaker is indeed as intricate as a clockwork bumblebee, and yet you're led through each turn of the gears until you can see the whole design laid out before you. You'll meet an English gangster, a smitten watchmaker, a fickle French genius, a WWII superspy, a sect of mechanically-minded monks, a nun with a past, a librarian with a collection of false teeth, a shockingly successful serial killer, the best lawyer you've ever seen, an ornery blind pug, and three women named Bethany. Among others. They all come together to tell a story about saving the world from seeing the truth and thereby destroying the planet. It turns out that with one you get the other. Through it all you'll be compelled to follow the story of Joe Spork as he learns about the family he thought he had, the person he didn't think he could be, and the things he learns he must do. If you don't want to bother with the book, try the audio version. It's a treat.
To request either of these books click the titles or covers above.
Review by Danny Hanbery