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No plot, shallow characters
on June 21, 2004
I've been rereading all the JLs (so far, I've finished 18 in a month), and "Glorious Angel" is just as I remembered it 10 years ago: unappealing, passionless, and actually quite tedious. It is one of JL's first books, and it is obviously a pedestrian effort. The "love" dialogue is beyond cheesy and the love scenes are tepid. Worse, it has a meandering plot that starts with Angela's crush on Bradford as a child (why she likes him, I'll never know), then moves on to a rags-to-riches story with Angela losing all of her Southern white trash talk (which was actually quite charming), to a forced separation based on a rumor of incest that really never seemed to upset Angela other than to make her run away from Bradford. The best part about this book is that it sets up Hank Chavez's story in "Heart of Thunder," which is a million times better. In fact, only a single year separates the publication of "Glorious Angel" and "Heart of Thunder," but somehow JL's writing style, sense of character, and dialogue improve tremendously during that short time period. Which makes me suspect that "Glorious Angel" was written long, long before its publication date and published without the benefit of editing, rewriting, etc. That's too bad. "Glorious Angel" could have been much better had JL spent some more time playing up the passion and personalities between Angela and Bradford and less time on fluff like matchmaking in Texas and the pointless assassination attempts on Bradford's life (as an example of how silly this book is, Bradford is tied to a chair in a burning house and his fear of death gives him He-Man strength to break through the ropes, no knife or anything, to escape. Wow!). If you are interested in Wild West romances written by JL, I highly recommend "Heart of Thunder," "A Heart So Wild," "Once A Princess," or "Savage Thunder." I do not recommend "Glorious Angel" unless you want to read it as a prequel to "Heart of Thunder."