Small Angels by Lauren Owen is a paranormal fantasy horror novel and her sophomore effort. I listened to the audiobook, which clocks in at just over fourteen hours and is narrated by Daphne Kouma, Tamsin Kennard, Rebecca Lee, and Eleanor Yates. Chapters alternate between a present storyline and “ghost stories” told from varying perspectives.
Ten years ago Kate befriended four sisters who lived near a magical wood that harbored a malicious ghost. But an event drove the girls apart for years. In present day, Chloe decides to rent a charming old church in the village where Sam, her fiancé, and his sister Kate grew up. And she starts to notice things that she can’t believe are real. The woods are coming alive again.
My favorite part about this book was the atmosphere that the author was able to create. I especially liked her descriptions of the woods. I also liked the casually queer main characters.
I tend to be a fan of literary fantasy, and the prose in here can be kind of dense. The pacing was a bit off, too. The end was pretty solid, but the beginning was a bit meandering. Listening to the audiobook helped me get through the book, since the narrators all did a great job.
I think this book was a bit mismarketed. It seems to have been shopped around as a horror novel, but its more a fantasy novel with horror elements. If you’re into paranormal fantasy with gothic horror and ghost stories, you might like this book.
Tropes in this book include: small town legends, paranormal, ghosts, dual timeline, multiple POVs
CW: murder, body horror, gaslighting, physical child abuse, hanging
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