Gabriel’s Angel, by Nora Roberts

January 22, 2024 Book Reviews 5 ★★★★

Gabriel’s Angel, by Nora RobertsGabriel's Angel by Nora Roberts
Published by Silhouette on 9/27/2005 (originally published 1989)
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Source: my personal collection
Purchase: Amazon | Bookshop | Barnes & Noble | Audible | Chirp
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four-stars
Also by this author: Dark Witch, Shadow Spell, The Collector, Blood Magick, Night Moves, Whiskey Beach, Jewels of the Sun, Tears of the Moon, Stars of Fortune, Tribute, The Search, Three Fates, High Noon, The Liar, Identity

Get cozy with this snow-filled love story about coming home and trusting your heart.

All artist Gabriel Bradley wants is solitude to work on his painting and recover from the loss of his brother. But when a very pregnant—and very beautiful—woman ends up at his remote cabin during a blizzard, desperate, alone and on the run, the modern-day Scrooge can't bring himself to turn her away. Despite her intrusion, Laura brings Gabriel the gifts of passion, hope and life—he just needs to find the courage to reach for them.

This book contains mature content and may not be suitable for younger readers.

A marriage of convenience

Gabriel’s Angel is an example of just how good category romance can be when it’s done well, within the strict confines of length and style imposed by the publisher. Gabriel, a reclusive artist on the run from grief, and Laura, a woman trying desperately to protect her unborn child, are both in pain from events in their recent pasts. Each needs something the other can give: inspiration, protection, understanding, healing. Their marriage may be one of convenience, but the attraction between them is real from the beginning, and the blooming of their feelings is believable. The well-worn plot device of the pregnant-woman-on-the-run works very well in Roberts’s capable hands; she manages to keep it from being a cliché, and doesn’t flinch from the realities of the abuse Laura suffered at the hands of her first husband. Both Laura and Gabriel find strength and healing through the other’s care and support, as well as through seeing them interact with baby Michael; their growth is also believable and moving. The ultimate resolution of Laura’s predicament, though it plays out across several scenes, was more than satisfying; I wanted to cheer when she finally stood up to her antagonist.

Gabriel’s Angel was originally a Silhouette novel (published in 1989), and those length limits I mentioned above are evident when you compare the book with Roberts’s non-category romances. Although I enjoyed the novel, I missed the depth; the wealth of vivid, everyday detail; the more complicated plot; and the complex, well-realized protagonists that are all characteristic of Roberts’s later, longer books.

Challenges: The Backlist Reader Challenge 2024

four-stars

About Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts was born in Maryland and educated in Catholic schools. She married young and worked as a legal secretary until her sons were born. In 1979, faced with a blizzard and “a dwindling supply of chocolate”, she sat down and began to write. ‘Irish Thoroughbred’ was published two years later. 30 years and over 210 books and novellas later, Roberts is one of the most popular writers of romance, romantic suspense, and (as J. D. Robb) mystery around.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • The Backlist Reader Challenge 2024

5 Responses to “Gabriel’s Angel, by Nora Roberts”

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      There’s definitely a difference, and you’re right. Category publishers like Silhouette and Harlequin dictate not only the length but to some extent even the structure and content. I’ve read some good category romance (mostly historicals), but I generally prefer books where the author was able to write to the length and depth that the story demands, rather than fitting it into the publisher’s requirements. Roberts, like some of my other favorite romance writers, successfully moved on to non-category books. She’s particularly good at romantic suspense and contemporary fantasy romance, and I have really enjoyed many of these, especially those written since. In the last several years, she has also branched out into fantasy with romantic elements.

      Gabriel’s Angel is a 2005 reprint of one of her stand-alone category romances; judging by the cover, the publisher tried to pitch it as a holiday book, but it’s really not. I did enjoy it as a quick, undemanding feel-good romance, though.

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