Miss Garnet's Angel and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Buy Used
Used - Very Good See details
Price: 2.01

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Start reading Miss Garnet's Angel on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Miss Garnet's Angel [Hardcover]

Salley Vickers
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 4.35  
Tankobon Hardcover --  
Hardcover, 3 April 2000 --  
Paperback 5.59  
Audio, CD, Abridged, Audiobook, CD --  

Book Description

3 April 2000

‘Miss Garnet’s Angel’ is a voyage of discovery, a novel about Venice but also the rich story of the explosive possibilities of change in all of us at any time.

Julia Garnet is a teacher. Just retired, she is left a legacy which she uses by leaving her orderly life and going to live – in winter – in an apartment in Venice. Its beauty, its secret corners and treasures, and its people overwhelm a lifetime of reserve and caution. Above all, she’s touched by the all-prevalent spirit of the Angel, Raphael.

Twinned with her journey is that of Tobias. The father, growing old and blind, is determined that his son, accompanied by an appropriate companion, should recover the family debt and allow his father to die in peace. The traveller, masquerading as a merchant – by common legend – is Raphael.

The two stories interweave with parents and landladies, restorers and priests, American tourists and ancient travellers abounding.

The result is an enormously satisfying journey of the spirit – and Julia Garnet is a character to treasure.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First edition edition (3 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002261154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002261159
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 867,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Salley Vickers' subtle, witty style and clear-eyed observation of human nature has been compared to Penelope Fitzgerald and Barbara Pym. She has worked as a university teacher of literature, specialising in Shakespeare, and in adult education, where she specialised in the literature of the ancient world. She is a trained analytical psychologist and lectures widely on the connections between literature, psychology and religion. She divides her time between London, Venice and the West Country.

Product Description

Amazon Review

There is something very old-fashioned and reassuring about Sally Vickers' novel Miss Garnet's Angel. The themes, self-discovery and redemption have the air of a bygone age, despite the novel being set in contemporary Venice in a world of holiday apartment lets and Pizza Express-funded restoration works. Julia Garnet is a middle-aged woman who has been practising economies of the spirit for years. Hers is a closed-in world, dusty with Marx's theories and when her friend and flatmate of 30 years dies Julia decides to spend the six winter months in Venice to recuperate from her loss. Miss Garnet is a dignified, brusque heroine and Sally Vickers' prose is likewise unruffled and controlled. Miss Garnet's epiphanies are as quiet and subtle as the "oro pallido" (pale gold) light in early Italian Art because, of course, art plays a part in this Venetian tale of emotional reawakening. Julia is moved by the depiction of Raphael in Guardis Tobias and the Angel: "something rusty and hard shifted deep inside Julia Garnet as she stood absorbing the vivid dewy painting and the unmistakable compassion in the angel's bright glance." She falls in love with Carlo, an art historian with crinkly eyes, white hair and a moustache. There are trials and tribulations to be undergone, Julia must unlearn all her old regimented ways of life, and this brings about heart ache and hurt. However, Vickers handles this with delicate sympathy, giving Julia Garnet a new sensitive view of the world, and the reader a resonant story of transformation. --Eithne Farry


'Subtle, unexpected and haunting.' Penelope Fitzgerald

'Very kind, very funny.' John Bayley

'Writes like a haunted angel.' The Times

'Rich, complex and haunting…she makes the ancient story as riveting as Miss Garnet's own adventures.' Sunday Times

'The sort of novel I really enjoy.' John Bayley

‘Reveals itself as a surprising exploration of the mysteries of imagination and faith.' Joanna Trollope, Daily Telegraph Books of the Year

'A refreshing, gentle story.' Anita Brookner, Spectator Books of the Year

'A subtle, witty tale.' John de Falbe, Spectator Books of the Year

'Delightfully affecting.' Julia Neuberger, Independent Books of the Year

'Destined for a long life.' David Sexton, Evening Standard Books of the Year

'If you like Penelope Fitzgerald or Barbara Pym, try Salley Vickers.' Sunday Telegraph

'Original and delightful.' Woman's Journal

'It is a triumph.' John Julius Norwich

'All lovers of Venice should read this book.' Spectator

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
`Death is outside life but it alters it: it leaves a hole in the fabric of things which those who are left behind try to repair.' Thus opens the novel.

Julia Garnet and her long-standing companion and flatmate Harriet decide to retire from work together, on the same day, but when two days later Harriet unexpectedly dies, Miss Garnet decides it is time to take a trip abroad and settles upon six months in Venice. Cautious, dignified and unadventurous by nature, Julia is also a virgin and inexperienced in matters of the heart. Venice is quite a revelation.

Julia discovers feelings of passion for the first time when she comes across the Guardi panels in the Chiesa dell'Angelo Raffaele (Church of Angelo Raffaele), which depict the Apocryphal story of Tobias and the Angel. As she views the paintings ...'Something rusty and hard shifted deep inside Julia Garnet', and she goes on to make further emotional discoveries through her friendships and discoveries in the city of Venice. Julia discovers that for the first time in her life she is able to befriend others, and counts among her friends a couple she accused of queue jumping the taxi rank on her first day, a young boy, Nicco, the unsuitable and overly-attentive Carlo, a couple of young English church restorers, and a charming priest.

The ancient Jewish story of Tobias and the Angel is deftly interwoven amongst Julia's story of re-awakening and discovery. Tobias undertakes his journey of ancient times as Julia travels in the present day, and there are subtle threads between them.

Quite a surprise and not at all what I was expecting, `Miss Garnet's Angel' is a breath of fresh air to read.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a new take on death in Venice 20 Oct 2005
Following the unexpected death of her friend, Miss Garnett starts a new life in Venice - at an age when most would be settled and unchangable.
She is transformed by the beauty of her new surroundings, and sheds the inhibiting skin of her old life.
It is wonderful to read a story centred around someone over retirement age, that is not bleak, but life affirming.
The story has a number of unexpected turns, with several finely drawn characters, and a depth of history founded on the Book of Tobit.
Only one character - Toby - diappoints, with unconvincing description and dialogue.
This book is worth reading more than once, and would be a wonderful choice for taking on holiday to Venice.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Towards an epiphany in Venice 25 Nov 2007
By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A repressed spinster in her fifties, retired from her career as an uninspiring school teacher, a communist and anti-religious, Julia Garnet travels to Venice, falls in love with it (devotees of Venice will relish the evocations of the city), is gradually thawed out by its beauty and stimulus and by people she meets there. She has rented an apartment in the Campo Angelo Raffaele, behind the church dedicated to that angel. She gradually comes to learn the story of Tobias and the Angel Raphael and indeed to show increasing interest in it; and she is also drawn closer and closer to Catholic imagery and to a Catholic priest.

Salley Vickers intersperses her narrative with instalments, with some additional inventions of her own, of the Book of Tobit in the Apocrypha. With each instalment she adds a little more to the account in the Book of Tobit. At first these additions amount to very little, but the later ones are based on research that has been done which has found that the Book of Tobit (written during the time when the Jews were living under Persian rule) probably has Zoroastrian roots, and each subsequent instalment veers further and further away from the original.

One has the feeling that Julia's experiences in Venice should have some bearing on the story and vice versa; but it is difficult for a long time to see what these might be. For much of the book, the inserted instalments relating to the Book of Tobit seem to have no relevance, either directly or indirectly, to the passages on either side of the insertion - only towards the end do they converge.

Julia meets an English pair, a young man and a young woman, who are restoring the masonry in a chapel (invented by Salley Vickers) which also has a sculpted Raphael and also a painted panel of him.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written 15 July 2004
By A Customer
I didn't know what to expect from Miss Garnets Angel, I half anticipated an antiquated read, fairly stereotypical but potentially heart-warming. An old lady, art and Venice suggested to me a sedate book, good to read but nothing new. The reality was very different.
The subtlety and delicacy of the writing, the way the story is so well crafted, the strands of the older Tobias story woven in seamlessly stunned me. Salley Vickers does indeed eulogise over art and architecture but she's also not afraid to add a harsher realism to the story. Miss Garnet is not some ephemeral creature steeped in a life of sorrow she's a real, solid character.
This was a book I read slowly so as to not miss anything, I set aside time in the day to read it and made sure everything was quiet. Usually I snatch at books and gulp them down, taking every opportunity to read but I found I didn't want to with this book.
The quiet sadness of Miss Garnet, the lyrical descriptions of the paintings and Venice and the poignant and well-crafted ending make this a gem of a book.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 years later even better than the first
Second read, 8 years later even better than the first
Published 9 days ago by sally knight
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Quite enjoyable tour round Venice.not much else!
Published 11 days ago by Marshall Robshaw
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Unusual, perceptive and well-written.
Published 13 days ago by Anne
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is a very uplifting exploration of loneliness and uncertainty in a lovely place
Published 21 days ago by Urban
3.0 out of 5 stars I have to agree with the reviewer 'Sara Louise' about ...
I have to agree with the reviewer 'Sara Louise' about this book disappointing.The book has huge potential but the author loses the reader along the way by failing to edit out... Read more
Published 1 month ago by noddy
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it because it was 'different' in many ways
I belong to a book club and Miss Garnet's Angel was recently selected as the book of the month. I enjoyed it because it was 'different' in many ways ... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Senior
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful - in the true sense if the word
Stunning work of fiction that leads one to a silence and appreciation of the light and half light that Vickers uses to weave her magic. Read more
Published 2 months ago by lgr26
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting tale
I enjoyed this book very much, I learnt more about Italy and there was enough ' magic' to make the story touching whilst still being believable.
Published 2 months ago by Catherine Dorn
5.0 out of 5 stars Angelic recommendation
A dear friend of mine recommended this novel, and I am very glad that she did, as it would not have been one that I would have usually considered reading. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Duke of Sheffield
5.0 out of 5 stars Miss Garnetts Angel
An amazing sense of place, describing the Venetian setting in an economical and yet evocative manner. Read more
Published 2 months ago by tina price
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category