A Brush of Wings by Anne Regan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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A Brush Of Wings is a short story anthology from Dreamspinner Press that focuses on stories about angels. I found all of the stories in this book worth reading, some more than others. I’ll talk about each short and rate them individually.
Morning Glow by Taylor Lochland: 4 stars
Ben is a nurse and works long hours. He’s just been through a rough breakup that has taken its toll on him. His friend Alan always shows up in his life when he needs someone to talk to, but disappears just as fast. Ben confronts him and finds the reasons for his disappearances are more complex than Alan simply being a drifter.
This was a sweet story about old friends becoming lovers and a good way to start the anthology. The writing is strong, the story is sweet and sexy but not too heart-wrenching.
A Trail Of Feathers by Sarah Ann Watts: 3.5 stars
Daniel is mourning the loss of his lover Luke at the dawn of a new year. He meets Leo, a stranger who wants to take him home and melt away the layer of ice that Daniel has encased his heart in.
A sweet, heartwarming story about loss and moving on.
Heart’s Salvation by Reve Garrison: 3.5 stars
A statue comes to life in the form of an angel to help a mourning man move on from the tragic loss of his wife and daughter.
This sad but sweet story introduces the cliche of the angel becoming human to stay with his earthly lover. It’s a good story about moving on from tragedy and finding new love.
In The Hands Of The Gods by Jana Denardo: 4.5 stars
Set in Ancient Rome, Tiberius is a devout man who offers presents to his family gods. Meeting a stranger called Priscus, he falls in love and takes up Priscus’ offer to leave Pompeii. Just as well, since a well-known disaster is about to unfold…
In The Hands Of The Gods looks at a different kind of angel from the ones you know from Christian theology. It was a very clever historical story and it was a welcome break from some of the more typical angel stories in this collection.
A Voice In The Darkness by Patric Michael: 4 stars
Landon is involved in a car crash with his husband, Bryce. The two are about to adopt a child and have suffered much heartache. Dan guides Landon through the danger of their situation and reveals happy news to the couple.
A wonderfully sweet tale mixed with fear and heartache as Landon and Bryce are trapped in a terrifying situation. The flashbacks are well-written, detailing the couple’s difficult journey towards adoption and the ending is a wonderful twist which made me smile.
Some Comfort by S. Blaise: 2.5 stars
Mal saved Dale’s life in the Iraq war and Dale remembers a picture of an angel that hung on his wall when he was small.
This was a very short story compared to the others that didn’t really get off the ground for me. I didn’t connect with it as well as some of the others.
Ascension by R.J. Scott: 2.5 stars
Sabrael visits a closing bookstore to see the last in the line of the family he’d been watching for generations and falls in love with him.
I would have liked this story better without the others, but by this point in the anthology I was starting to predict some of the tropes that would show up in this story. Ascension wasn’t bad, but didn’t stand out.
Sariel by Mary Calmes: 4 stars
Jake Gray is invited on a trip to Italy, but when he gets there he finds that Dr. Pierce plans to offer him up as a sacrifice to a fallen angel. Jake is stronger than Pierce expects and forms an unlikely bond with the fallen angel, freeing him from a tortured existence at the hands of the wicked Doctor.
This story was a breath of fresh air in an anthology that was starting to become typical. Calmes really plays with the angel stereotype, creating an angel in a form the reader wouldn’t expect and also writing some incredibly sexy scenes. Jake faces his trial with courage and earns his happy ending. A great story.
The Platypus Learns Astrophysics by Matthew Vandrew: 2.5 stars
Jonas is an ass who is paid a visit by an angel, who has been commanded to touch him but cannot. He doesn’t realize God means he has to emotionally touch Jonas.
Another cliched story about an angel falling for a human and then becoming human to stay with his partner on Earth. Almost skipped this one, as it was overly long and brought nothing new to the table.
The Angel Blues by Cornelia Grey: 4 stars
Morgan loves the blues. He’s a cop who can’t believe he’s having hallucinations of an angel. The angel falls in love with Morgan and saves his life when a bust goes bad.
I liked this one. Fairly typical, but interestingly written with strong characterizations that make it stand out from the others.
Redemption by Clare London: 4 stars
Ziba is a fallen angel whose arrogance led him to be cast out. Unable to be forgiven, he has spent eternity trying to redeem others. Finding a fallen angel just like himself in the Arrivals Hall, Ziba takes in Abdiel and the two form a bond that can’t be broken by Abdiel’s true mission.
This was a great story with a strong sense of place. It didn’t rely on the usual angel tropes and the ending was somewhat surprising.
Herbal Tea by H.J Brues: 3.5 stars
FBI agent Douglas goes into a tea shop and falls for the owner, Justin, even though he’s been hurt before and betrayed by his partner. Justin is very protective of others and it leads him into trouble, but luckily Douglas has a job for him that’s perfect.
A short story with a surprising twist. My only complaint was that it felt somewhat insta-love, with Douglas falling for Justin almost at once.
The Tenth Avatar by Roland Graeme: 3 stars
Arun has a friend, Efrain, who is helping him adapt to life in the U.S. Torn between family and his sexual orientation, Indian-born Arun meets Jack and finds his perfect partner at the same time a statue of a Hindu god is delivered to his house.
A well-researched Indian flavored story to which the ending was somewhat obvious, but still worth a read. It would have rated higher if Arun didn’t sleep with his friend after he started dating Jack – it felt a little too much like cheating even if they hadn’t agreed to be exclusive.
Santangelo by Zahra Owens: 4 stars
Mike is attacked by a group of thugs and rescued by a doctor who is well-known at the hospital because of his adopted daughter Mia, who is slowly dying from a terminal illness. Gabe is reluctant to date again and Mike slowly weans the truth out of him – Gabe is HIV positive.
A very sweet story. I had to suspend my disbelief that a man diagnosed with HIV in 1991 would still be around today to enjoy antiretroviral drugs and a viral load of zero, but I’m no expert on HIV. I can’t imagine authorities would grant him custody of a child, either, but this was a lovely story regardless that really moved me.
The Archangel Of Castro by Diana Copland: 4.5 stars
Nick is a different kind of angel who helps young, homeless gay kids by giving them a place to stay. One such young man, Brian, has become the object of Nick’s affections but he has trouble believing that such a handsome young man would want his average looking forty-two year old self until one of his stranger customers, a man who dresses as an angel and calls himself Gabriel tells him that Brian is crazy about him and the two finally come together.
A really nice story to finish off the anthology about a man taking in homeless GLBT youth and falling for one of them. He doesn’t believe he deserves love but Brian shows him otherwise. This story was full of powerful, repressed emotions that finally come out into the open with a happy ending. This story left me with a warm fuzzy feeling at the end of the book.