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SMALL ANGELS by Lauren Owen

A wedding in a small English village attracts a malicious spirit, forcing deep secrets to surface–a hypnotic tale of sisterhood, first love, and hauntings.

As a teenager, Kate found a safe harbor from her parents’ constant fighting in the company of the four Gonne sisters, who lived with their strict grandparents next to Small Angels, a church on the edge of dense green woods. The first outsider to ever get close to the sisters, Kate eventually learned the family’s secret: The woods are home to a capricious, menacing ghost whom generations of Gonnes had been charged with stopping from venturing into the village itself. But as the sisters grew older, braver, and more independent, bucking against the family’s burden, the bulwark began to crack, culminating in a horrifying act of violence that drove a terrible wedge between the sisters and Kate.

Chloe has been planning her dream wedding for months. She has the dress, the flowers, and the perfect venue: Small Angels, a charming old church in the village where her fiancé, Sam, and his sister, Kate, grew up. But days before the ceremony, Chloe starts to hear unsettling stories about Small Angels–and worse, she begins to see, smell, and hear things that couldn’t possibly be real.

Now Kate is returning home for the first time in years, for Sam and Chloe’s wedding. But the woods are coming alive again, and Kate must reconnect with Lucia, the most troubled of the sisters and her first love, to protect Chloe, the village, and herself. An unforgettable novel about the memories that hold us back and those that show us the way forward–this is storytelling at its most magical. Enter Small Angels, if you dare.

Title : Small Angels
Author : Lauren Owen
Format : Physical
Page Count : 480
Genre : Contemporary/Gothic Horror
Publisher : Tinder Press/Headline Books
Release Date : August 2, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★

Micky’s 4 star review

Creepy gothic horror wrapped in the now
A small village
Legend meets reality

I got an invite to Chloe and Sam’s wedding thanks to the team at Headline, I will be sending my apologies because the wedding that brought the old tales to life in this story scared the life out of me at times. I have been dipping my toe into more creep and mild horror this year and Small Angels really did test my mettle in terms of what I could cope with.

The story is told from a range of POVS, but they’re slowly and gradually introduced; they’re not overwhelming and easy to follow. The idea of the Gonnes, the tales of the past, the church and eventually the things that Chloe experienced had my hairs on the back of my neck on end.

Kate was something of a pivotal character, building from small beginnings into the centre of how things evolved. She had a tight connection to the Gonne sister. Her role in the plot was crucial and atmospheric. How Kate’s character linked with Laura, then Harry kept me reading and the reveals eventually came.

The blurb for this book says come if you dare and I would second that statement, only if you dare!

Thank you to Headline books for the exceptionally beautiful arc.

3.75 stars, rounded up.