BOOK CLUB: Transit of Angels

I originally received this book from the author Desney King to read and review and am very excited to now have the opportunity to share it with some of Beauty and Lace’s members.

Desney King is a recent addition to the independent publishing company Pilyara Press, which includes Jennifer Scoullar and Monique Mulligan whose works Beauty and Lace members have also had the opportunity to read and review recently. 

Transit of Angels is Desney King’s debut novel, 12 years in the making, and what a debut it is!

Angelica (known as Angel) is 34 when she receives the phone call that will change her life, her beloved husband Bill has been involved in a single-vehicle motorbike accident and is now in ICU. Her twin sister Estrellita (Essie) by her side she is forced to deal with the unimaginable, Bill’s injuries are so severe they are deemed incompatible with life.  At this moment, in shock and with her heartbreaking she must make the decision whether to honour Bill’s wish to be an organ donor.

King gently leads us through the process for getting consent from next of kin for donation as we meet Julianne, the hospital organ donor coordinator, the understanding that the next of kin is grieving and needs time to process what has happened and make a decision, while at the same time making it clear that time is of the essence.  Struggling with her emotions Angel realises that having his organs donated is what Bill would want, he was so clear about his decision and not to honour that decision would be to deny who Bill was.

Anyone who has experienced the death, whether expected or not, of a loved one will recognise that strange feeling of disconnect with the world, how it seems remarkable that the world keeps turning, and people’s lives go on as before when for you everything has stopped.  Many cultures have specific rituals around death which aim to honour the dead, while acknowledging and supporting the living, some cultures are better at this than others. Western society is often particularly bad at dealing with the whole death, dying and grieving process, as evidenced by our need to substitute words such as “lost”, “passed on” etc. for  “death” in order to somehow soften the blow.

Transit of Angels seeks to acknowledge the grieving process, and how over a long period of time the pain lessens and becomes bearable, while acknowledging that it never totally goes away and there will always be triggers that bring it rushing back.

Depending on your belief system, some may find the concepts that King utilises as she follows Angel’s path of dealing with her beloved husband’s death confronting and different to their own understanding and belief in what happens after death.  Whatever your religious views, King explores the grieving process in a compassionate manner, as Angel comes to believe the butcher bird that miraculously appears in her garden is a sign from Bill that he is still there with her, cares for her and supports the things she is doing to move forward.

As events unfold, we watch Angel gaining a greater understanding of herself, her place in nature and natures place in her healing process. Interwoven into the tale is the sub tale of Angel’s twin sister Essie and her partner Liz who, while providing support to Angel throughout her grief, are dealing with their own relationship dramas and traumas. And, in an acknowledgement that you can’t always rely on family in your greatest hour of need, we also meet Angel and Essie’s younger sister Sage, who, having found religion, refuses to expose her children to Essie and Liz’s “house of sin” and totally disapproves of all of Angel’s actions in her recovery process.

Transit of Angels is a beautifully written book which tackles, what for many is a very difficult topic, without getting schmaltzy.  Whether you believe that death is final, or that there is a heaven, or in reincarnation, or in life after death, providing you can suspend judgement on views that might not entirely accord with your own then you will both enjoy this book, and gain a great deal from it.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well written, thoughtful story, as well as anyone seeking to deal with their grief after the death of a loved one.

ISBN: 978-1-9258272-7-9 (paperback) / 978-0-6483089-5-9 (e-book)
Copy courtesy of Desney King

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Transit of Angels by Desney King. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

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