Title: Dirty Angel
Author: Barbara Elsborg
Length: 320 Pages
Category: Paranormal Fantasy, Contemporary, Angels/Demons
At a Glance: I loved the entire concept of this story. The author’s interpretation of heaven and hell, good versus evil, was unique and just a pleasure to read.
Reviewed By: Lynn
Blurb: Dying Sucks
Particularly when you discover there really is a hell. Aden thinks there’s no way he can avoid going down, but when an angel and demon can’t agree over his fate, Aden is given one more month to gain redemption. He doubts he can find a way to become a better man in so short a time. But it’s worth a try, right?
Particularly when you can’t shake free of an obsessive ex. Brody might be managing to hold down his job as a vet, but his personal life is a mess. If he doesn’t pull himself together soon, he’s going to be sliding downhill too fast to stop.
One wet night, on a dark country lane, two worlds collide and destinies change forever.
Review: Our two main characters, Aden and Brody, are at a crossroads in their life. One is sent back from death to redeem himself, and he’s got a month to do it. Is he going to end up in heaven or hell? The other is trying to get his life back from an abusive ex-boyfriend. Both Aden and Brody must change the direction their lives are heading. In a nutshell, they are fighting eternal damnation.
I’ve read Barbara Elsborg before and really enjoyed her stories. Reading the blurb, I knew I had to read this one. I love angsty, broken characters. It’s not their pain that I love, but their road to recovery. I appreciate their journey, witnessing their discovery of self-worth and inner strength, and hopefully, finding some happiness. While I usually like the darker reads, they’re not for everyone, so please take heed before diving into this book. Dirty Angel contains rape, incest, explicit references to childhood sexual abuse, statutory rape, and physical violence. There are few authors out there who can write these kind of stories and make them stick. Barbara Elsborg is one of them.
Aden makes no excuses for his past behaviors: stealing, meaningless sex, the basic shut down of all emotion. As we learn the details about his atrocious, disturbing sexual and verbally abusive childhood, his demeanor and outlook on life start to make a lot of sense. I really felt for this character. He comes across as uncaring and abrasive, but what he really needs is someone to love him. It’s something he’s never known. There is a turning point when Aden finds out the details on how he died. It was heartbreaking. I can’t give spoilers, but I will say this; Aden isn’t the lost cause he thinks he is.
Brody, on the other hand, had loving parents, has a brother who loves him. He went to school to become a veterinarian and has a steady job—the total opposite of Aden. What he does have is a warped sense of what a loving relationship is really all about. Walking away from his ex after thirteen years is the hardest thing he’s ever done. And while he still believes he loves his ex, he just can’t take the abuse anymore.
What I loved most about this book was the slow buildup to Aden and Brody’s relationship. The way the author brought two damaged people together was realistic. It was frustrating to watch these two get in the way of their own happiness, but it was also so true to real life. The self-doubt and unworthiness these two men felt because of their past experiences definitely held them back from each other. But, it was oh so worth it to see the end result. Love is never easy.
As with most of Ms. Elsborg’s stories, there’s a little mystery thrown in. Brody’s ex, Matt, apparently didn’t get the memo that the relationship was over. There are some “holy shit” moments and things that come to light that I didn’t even see coming. I hated that Aden and Brody had to deal with the crazy, but it also brought them closer together. It made their bond stronger. In the end, it was all worth it.
I loved the entire concept of this story. The author’s interpretation of heaven and hell, good versus evil, was unique and just a pleasure to read. I really enjoyed the inner dialog with both characters, I felt it gave the reader a little more insight into their actions on page.
Overall, this is a romance with dark elements. If you’re looking for an easy read with happy-go-lucky characters, this isn’t a good pick for you. If you’re wanting to go on a journey with two broken characters who have to fight for their HEA, then I say read this!! I was not disappointed!
You can buy Dirty Angel here: