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#418 ~ Angelina’s Bachelors

Angelina’s Bachelors by Bryan O’Reilly

Published by: Gallery Books

Published on: August 2011

Page Count: 384

Genre: Women’s Fiction

My Reading Format: Audiobook review copy sent to me by the narrator

Audiobook Published by: Tantor Audio

Narrator: Xe Sands

Audiobook Length: 7 hours 22 minutes

Available Formats: Paperback, eBook, and Audiobook


My Review

Angelina nearly has a charmed life. She and her husband Frank may not have much, but they are deeply in love. They have a strong network of community and Frank’s family. Angelina has lost her family, but her in-laws have taken her into their hearts as their own. Even charmed lives, however, are fragile. They didn’t yet have the children they wanted to have when, so much earlier than would seem possible, Frank passes away in the night of a heart attack. Angelina is hit a double blow when, just after the funeral, she learns that the company she works for is going out of business. Without her husband or a job, Angelina was at a loss. In a frantic fit of grief, Angelina spends an entire night cooking everything edible in her house. In sending out the excess food to friends and family, a chain of events is set into motion that leads Angelina to her destiny.

Angelina’s Bachelors is a sweet story. Angelina is a charming, genuinely nice heroine who, in her mourning, stumbles into her future with an open mind. Her natural cooking abilities enable her to nourish single men in her neighborhood. They, in turn, nourish her spirit. Sometimes it is refreshing to visit a world that is at its heart simply nice. It left me with a warm feeling each time I listened. As the novel progressed, some fairly predictable conflicts arose, but the way in which they were addressed were typically satisfying. There was one instance, however, where the resolution, even with its Catholic twist, was a touch too Roma Downey for my taste. The first half of the novel was stronger for me for this reason. Still, it didn’t dampen my opinion of the audiobook because I didn’t pop it into my car stereo to be challenged. I chose to read it when I did because I wanted a comfort read and Brian O’Reilly delivered exactly the type of read I wanted.

Brian O’Reilly is an Executive Producer for Dinner: Impossible on the Food Network and it shows. Angelina’s Bachelors is full of good food and Xe Sands brought out even more flavor. I am no foodie.  In print I normally skip over descriptions of food. In fact, I’ve yet to check out the recipes included on the first disc of the audiobook. The way in which she narrated Angelina’s menus, however, kept me interested, entertained, and left me hungry. Listening to this audiobook while eating your lunch can make even the most incredible sandwich taste not just ordinary, but kind of soggy. Outside of the food, Xe Sands did a good job of bringing Angelina, her bachelors, and their Philadelphia neighborhood to life through voice differentiation and tone. Having also listened to her narrate Fire and Ice, it was interesting to compare her approach to two very different types of spicy reading.

After reading some tough novels at the start of the year, Angelina’s Bachelors was like drinking a rich cup of hot chocolate on a crisp winter day. Despite the little issues that niggled at me, I appreciated this novel for just what it was, a heartwarming tale of a close knit Italian Catholic neighborhood and family creatively dealing with an unexpected loss. I recommend this novel to anyone who needs a little hug in their day.

6 Comments

  • At 2012.04.03 07:49, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

    I love books that feel like a hug on a dreary day!

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    • At 2012.04.04 13:13, Xe Sands said:

      You know, that’s a perfect description for this book – a hug on a dreary day.

    • At 2012.04.03 10:13, Xe Sands said:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this comfort listen :) Someone asked me what time period I thought it was set in, and honestly, I’m still not sure. There’s an innocence and sense of neighborhood that seems a throw-back to earlier times, but there is also some technology mentioned that suggests a more modern timeframe.

      • At 2012.04.06 14:39, Meg said:

        I’m enchanted with the cover and love foodie fiction — and it sounds like this would be a great one on audio!

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        • At 2012.04.21 19:10, Emily said:

          I could use a little hug in my day! I just may read this :)

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          • At 2013.01.01 09:57, Xe Sands ~ Baby, It’s Cold Outside! said:

            [...] have listened to three of Xe’s titles, Angelina’s Bachelors: A Novel, with Food by Brian O’Reilly, The Silence of Trees by Valya Dudycz Lupescu, and Fire and Ice by Anne [...]

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