There are some things I know for sure:
1. I died . . . a long time ago
2. Even in death I was always aware of him.
3. Love has a way of making even angels choose to leave their heaven above.
Since he was a child, Brandon Dees has not been happy at home. His father is relentless concerning Brandon’s future and his step-mother is a mistress-turned-step-mother who stepped into Brandon’s life within months of his mother’s passing. There have only ever been two places where Brandon has felt at home and truly accepted, at his grandmother, Leona’s home and in front of the stone angel at the cemetery. In the moments when Brandon cannot turn to anyone else, cannot trust his thoughts and feelings with anyone else, he knows he can count on his grandmother and his angel as both will accept and understand him and not betray his confidence.
When Maura Davis stumbles out of the cemetery on a cold, rainy night she does so into the path of Leona Dees. With no clue about how she got there nor where she came from, Maura accepts Leona’s help. In an instant, Leona and Maura accept one another and know instinctively they were meant to find one another. At just 17 years old, Maura must have a guardian and in the absence of her parents, Leona takes steps to make her arrangement with Maura permanent. Over the course of the summer, Maura and Leona settle into a comfortable routine and as the summer turns into the fall, Maura is ready to start school.
Brandon and Maura’s first meeting doesn’t really go as either plans. Brandon, in an effort to protect his grandmother seriously offends Maura and Maura, tired of defending herself does her best to avoid Brandon and salvage her hurt feelings. Brandon is nothing less than a gentleman and when the first opportunity arises, he apologizes to Maura and the two start fresh. Once Brandon and Maura decide to give one another the benefit of the doubt, their friendship blossoms and they become virtually inseparable. Within weeks, the two are a couple and it seems as if everything is as it should be. As we all know, nothing is ever as it should be in the world of fiction 🙂
As the weeks go by, Maura begins to remember bits and pieces of her life and as those pieces come together to create a true image, she is blown away and completely disbelieving. To make matters far, far worse, Maura is terrified to reveal her suspicions to anyone for fear of being deemed not only bat-crap crazy but removed from Leona’s care. Being taken from Leona also means being taken from Brandon and some things simply aren’t acceptable. What no one sees coming are the lengths Brandon’s parents are willing to go to separate the kids and protect Leona’s fortune. What transpires in the last few chapters of the read changes absolutely everything!! Leona and Maura discover a great many truths in the local archives, Brandon’s parents show their true colors, and one very nasty kidnapping goes all kinds of sideways.
The Bottom Line: Stone Faced Angel is a read I am totally pissed I let linger on my TBR for so long. From the opening line to the closing line I was sucked in and totally consumed by this story. Though I figured out most (there are a few things I didn’t see coming!) of the plot twists pretty early on, I simply didn’t care that I knew what was going to be revealed. The story twists and turns and at every turn I found myself rooting even more vigorously for Brandon and Maura. Tucked in around Brandon and Maura is a cast of characters that are fully developed and multi-faceted. There’s a fine mix of the totally likeable (Leona and Jamie) and the totally detestable (Brandon’s parents!) throughout. McKean’s writing style tends toward the steady, evenly paced and it is well-suited to this particular story. Additionally, the inclusion of Maura’s past via her memories enhances the read and adds another dimension to the read. Last but not least is the gut-wrenching ending. Are you freaking kidding me??? Though Stone Faced Angel doesn’t have a traditional cliff hanger ending, it is very clear that Brandon and Maura’s story is far from over and I, for one am more than ready to see how this whole thing plays out.