Tuesday, January 31st 2012

Review: Coffee at Little Angels, Nadine Rose Larter.


Publisher: The Katalina Playroom
Publication Date: May 26, 2011
Received From: Author
Page Count: 188

Phillip, Sarah, Kaitlyn, Caleb, Maxine, Grant, Melanie and Josh grew up  in a small town where they spent their high school years together as an inseparable clique. But high school has ended, and they are all living their own “grown up” lives, each under the impression that their group has basically come to an end. When Phillip dies in a hit and run accident, Kaitlyn summons the others to all come back home, forcing a reunion that no one is particularly interested in partaking in.

Coffee at Little Angels follows how each character deals with the death of a childhood friend while at the same time dealing with their own ignored demons after years of separation. Events unfold as the group tries to rekindle the friendship they once shared to honour the memory of a friend they will never see again.

‘Coffee at Little Angels’ is a story of seven childhood friends who are thrust together again, as adults, when their mutual childhoodfriend’s life is lost following a hit-and-run incident. The group of friends grew up together in a small town and throughout their younger years, they were inseparable. At the time, life seemed so simple but when adulthood came, so did life’s pressures. As a result, the once close knit group grew apart and each are now living different lives in different locations, sharing the belief that their friendships have come to an end. This book is the heart-wrenching, honest account of what happens when these now strangers are reunited…

It is hard to believe that this is Nadine Rose Larter’s debut novel. The writing is what I can only describe as beautiful. Larter writes with what seems to be such ease and thought and as a result I was compelled to continue reading. There are numerous memorable quotes and I feel I have to give credit to a couple of them:

“Loving Sarah is like reading a particularly good book. That pressing and overwhelming need to just devour it as fast as possible is matched only by the need to savor it slowly and completely, lest it all come to an end too soon”. (pg. 15)

“Maybe you just feel love harder when you’re still a kid. Maybe time and age jade you and help to cushion the blow of passion in favor of sanity or self preservation”. (pg. 36)

These Are just two examples of what is a book full of inspiring quotes that speak the truth and that I am certain most readers will be able to relate to on some level. It is through her writing that Larter was able to create believable characters. The characters are the essence of the novel and despite the plot not taking centre stage, this does not deter from it being a great read.

In order to offer an understanding of the characters, whom differ from one another a lot, the novel is written in the viewpoints of the eight main characters: Phillip, Sarah, Kaitlyn, Caleb, Maxine,Grant, Melanie and Josh. The novel does not consist of chapters,however I felt this wasn’t needed as the alternating viewpoints wereblended together in a authentic and readable manner. Although on some occasions I have found that multiple viewpoints can result in confusion, this was not the case in ‘Coffee at Little Angels’. It allows the reader to gain an insight into each individual character,their lives and how they cope with not only the loss of a dear friend, but coming face-to-face with their past. Each character was someone I could relate to either myself or someone in my life. It was interesting to read about their lives, their connections to each other and how the reunion affects them. As the novel progressed, I was eager to learn more about each character.

The different reactions to the loss of their friend is what touched me the most. I applaud Larter for addressing that the grieving process is not one that is the same for everyone; it is a process that a lot of people have experienced in their lives and how a person deals with that can differ to how another person might.

Although I stated that the novel was more character driven than plot driven,this does not mean there is no action. Each of the friends has unfinished business and how this transpires is interesting to read. I feel that the characters make the novel what it is and without such unique, believable characters I don’t feel it would work. To sum up how I felt about ‘Coffee at Little Angels’, I offer one word:beautiful. The characters are beautiful, the writing is beautiful and the message that lies within is beautiful. An excellent debut novel from an talented Author. Nadine Rose Larter is one to watch out for –I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

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