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4.3 out of 5 stars33
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Now usually, I don't go for historical reads because they simply don't interest me. I didn't realise that this entire book was set in the past, from the 1950's through to the 1980's, and it doesn't at any point hit the modern day. At first, I expected that it would but around halfway through, I realised it wouldn't get there and I wasn't at all bothered by this. In fact, it was wonderful to read something so different, be swept away into Hollywood's real Golden Era with the glitz and glamour, and have this contrasted with the hardness of life in war time London too. Hyland has clearly done her research in this book, everything is written about in such a way that it brings things to life, making them jump out of the page, especially the character of Franny Fitzgerald, my favourite to read about of the whole book.

Franny begins as a naive young girl in Ireland, desperately in love with Sean, who soon gets her in the family way and abandons her. You feel so sorry for Franny straight away, she is just a young girl in love and has been left with something major to deal with alone, without the support that you get these days if you end up in a similar situation. However, she is a strong character and this really comes through in the book, right up until the story begins to change and take a darker turn. Her daughter Cara is also a wonderful character, a child completely lost in life, lost in the system and treated the way no child should ever be treated, yet she has a shining light come through all of the time, and you can't help but love her. As the story progresses and you see the other hardships that Cara has to face, you just want to stop the bad things happening to her, but Hyland writes them so well you feel like you are going through Cara's emotions with her.

The setting moves around, but I enjoyed this as it stopped the book from becoming too stagnant at any point. It begins in Ireland, moves over to London during the war time with Franny and her baby daughter, then over to the glitz of Hollywood when Franny decides she wants to become a movie star. I have to say I did find it hard to get my head around the decisions that Franny makes, especially as a mum myself, but it did make for very interesting reading. I really did love the scenes with Franny and her fellow actors, you could imagine their gorgeous dressed, flawless make-up and handsome men alongside them and it was great to read. The book well with the change of period of time, related to the reader the things that were happening and I didn't feel out of touch with anything at any time.

I have to say this book was an absolute joy to read, and I definitely recommend it to everyone! There are some shocking revelations throughout that really had me surprised, I didn't guess them at all which was fantastic, and they really did shock me. Hyland did well to lead us as a reader astray, and these twists just made the book even better. It's an excellent story with some fantastic characters facing really bad hardships that hopefully most of us will never have to go through, but it is a story of hope and acceptance, something Cara craves and you so badly want her to get. I loved everything about this book, and will definitely be reading it again in the future. Simply stunning.
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on 23 January 2013
At first glance it would be easy to dismiss Fallen Angels as chick-lit, but it is far from it! It could perhaps be classed as a family saga, telling the story of Franny and her daughter Cara. The bulk of the novel tells the story of Franny and her search for fame in post-war Hollywood. It is almost a historical novel, full of fascinating details about life at that time, but only to enrich the backdrop of Franny's story.

About two thirds of the way through the novel switches to Cara's story. At this point the pace of the novel switches building the tension to the climax at the end. The author manages to keep you second-guessing yourself till the end.

In conclusion, this is a novel that could comfortably sit in many different genres. It is highly enjoyable, and don't be put off by the cover! I couldn't put it down once I got into it, and now intend to read the author's back catalogue on the strength of this novel.
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on 11 September 2011
I really enjoyed Daughters of Fortune but feel Fallen Angels is a much stronger book. The plot has already been outlined by a previous reviewer so I will not go into detail. However, I will say that the glamour and glitz of 50s Hollywood have been imaginatively captured as Franny follows her dreams to become a famous actress. Her daughter Cara, whom she hopes to bring over to join her once she has established herself, is fated to remain on the other side of the Atlantic, as time after time she discovers reasons why she cannot admit to having had a past life as a single mother. Her tragic death in a car crash cuts short a promising career and leaves Cara not only motherless but alone in Ireland with her less than kind grandmother.

Cara goes through imaginable hardships but has an inner strength which sees her through as she grows from a child into a young woman. Eventually becoming a journalist, she often wonders about her mother's fate. And then an unexpected letter from America prompts her to investigate.

I loved the way the book started, putting a question mark in the reader's mind straight away. There were so many twists and turns, just when you thought the plot was going in a certain direction, it surprised you! A thoroughly good read, am looking forward to Tara Hyland's next book which I am sure will be well worth waiting for! Fans of Lesley Pearse will enjoy this.
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on 6 May 2012
This is a great story, with interesting characters, that keeps you want to keep reading, and it has some twists and turns. While it's difficult to understand how a mother can leave her daughter this puts things in to context of the era and you get to understand the emotions on both sides and the difficulties faced by each.
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on 31 October 2014
Tara Hyland has written another fabulous saga of a book, Fallen Angels is a gripping story full of mystery, emotional turmoil and suspense.
Set in the 1950/60's and featuring the Golden Age of Hollywood, I was entertained and captivated by the story from the very beginning, right until the final page. All the characters are well developed especially Franny and I really did not want this story to end. There are a few surprises and twists and turns in store too.
Tara's writing style reminds me of my favourite author Lesley Pearse, absolutely brilliant! It's been a while since Tara published a new book, I really hope she writes another one soon.
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on 5 May 2012
I so enjoyed this escapism glamourous show biz paperback, and also felt so sad about the child she left behind. It made me cry in parts, although I knew it was only fiction, things like this did happen during 1950s and 60s. It captured the era so well. The Grandmother was a little far fetched, but we are reading a female romance and beach read here. Dont know if I will buy more Tara Hyland in future as I think reading previous reviews they may be juvenile, however, I did enjoy Fallen Angels, as it brought back memories of my youth and how life used to be. It was a super book and kept me wanting to pick up when bedtime came.
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on 20 August 2012
I found this book a good read, however as others have said a bit predictable. I could second guess most of what was comming next which was a bit disappointing.
The stories from the orphanage reminded me of a film i had seen years ago about the magdaline sisters and their home for unmarried mothers, very similar.
I have to say i felt like Cara deserved a much better ending than she got, infact for a couple of days i was thinking "i'll go and read some of my book" only to remember that i had already finished. I somehow just didn't seem like and adequate conclusion.
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This is a completely different kind of read to the author's debut novel, and while they are both highly enjoyable, I think this one has far more of a plot.
It is the story of two women: Franny and her daughter Cara. Franny, the daughter of an Irish farmer, finds herself pregnant and alone in the 1940s. She runs away to London where she struggles to make ends meet, but eventually finds work and raises her daughter. When she gets the chance to realise her dream of being a film star, she returns briefly to Ireland to leave Cara with her now elderly mother. As Franny finds fame in Hollywood,she finds it increasingly difficult to send for her daughter to join her, and so Cara remains with her grandmother in an Irish village. As circumstances in Cara's life change, she finds herself in terrible hardship.
The story is cleverly written, with interesting twists, and an unexpected one at the end. The characters are well drawn, from industrious, tough little Cara, to Franny, a one time devoted mother whose head is turned by her success so that she forgets what is truly important, and Annie, the kindly woman in London who becomes a good friend to both of them.
I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it.
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on 20 November 2012
I wanted to read something different, so decided on this book and was blown away.
Its a beautifully written story taking you back in time. The jumping back and forth in time was done gently, as not to lose sight of what year you were in. The characters were brilliantly placed and were easy to imagine.

The only criticism I have is the description of the book was misleading as to what the story was about. As it was the last couple of chapters that Cara seeks the answers about Franny!
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on 30 June 2015
Amazing book - I really liked the cover lol ... so thought id give it a go !- I was blown away ive got to say! couldn't put it down, I was gripped from the start and I was surprised by some of the twists! really didn't guess them at all... one of the best books ive read to be honest and so much so that I went on the authors website and left her a message to say so!!!!! 5 stars form me !!!
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