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Angel and Apostle [Paperback]

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Item description for Angel and Apostle by Deborah Noyes...

At the end of Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel, The Scarlet Letter, we know that Pearl, the elf-child daughter of Hester Prynne, is somewhere in Europe, comfortable, well set, a mother herself now. But it could not have been easy for her to arrive at such a place, when she begins life as the bastard child of a woman publicly humiliated, again and again, in an unrelentingly judgmental Puritan world.

With a brilliant and authentic sense of that time and place, Deborah Noyes envisions the path Pearl takes to make herself whole and to carve her place in the New World. Beautifully written with boundless compassion, Angel and Apostle is a heart-rending and imaginative debut in which Noyes masterfully makes Hawthorne's character her own.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   294
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 10, 2006
Publisher   Unbridled Books
ISBN  1932961291  
ISBN13  9781932961294  

Availability  2 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 28, 2016 08:07.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Deborah Noyes

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Deborah Noyes is the author of HANA IN THE TIME OF THE TULIPS, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, as well as other books for children and adults. She also edited the young adult anthologies GOTHIC! and THE RESTLESS DEAD. Deborah Noyes lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Sophie Blackall is the illustrator of several award-winning picture books, including RUBY'S WISH by Shirin Yim Bridges, MEET WILD BOARS by Meg Rosoff, and the Ivy and Bean books by Annie Barrows. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Classics
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Classics
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical

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Reviews - What do customers think about Angel and Apostle?

"The angel and apostle of the coming revelation must be a woman... lofty, pure... beautiful and wise."  Nov 14, 2006
With the story of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter serving as her inspiration, Deborah Noyes recreates the life of Pearl, the "elf-child" of Hester Prynne and a father Hester has refused to identify. Meticulously reproducing the cadence and speech of the period (and of Hawthorne's novel), Noyes imbues her debut novel with energy and literary weight, continuing Pearl's story while remaining faithful to the original. Her inclusion of period detail and recreation of the religious beliefs and practices of the period give additional credence to her story, and the character of Pearl is free-spirited enough to strike a chord with modern readers.

Focusing on Pearl, not Hester Prynne, who plays only a marginal role here, Noyes reminds the reader in the first third of the novel of some of the key events from The Scarlet Letter. Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale is not mentioned by name here, though he is referred to as "Arthur" once early in the novel, and Roger Chillingworth, Hester's missing husband in The Scarlet Letter, becomes Dr. Daniel Devlin here, still Evil and trying to ingratiate himself with Pearl.

Noyes does more than simply update the Hawthorne story, however. Pearl, a free spirited child in a very repressed society, develops a strong relationship with Simon Milton, a blind boy a few years older, who delights in her company and in her desire to give him a more normal life as she explores the world with him. Pearl's irresponsibility on one occasion, however, eventually causes a rift, both with Simon and with his older brother Nehemiah, who has entrusted Simon to Pearl. The lives of Hester and Pearl change significantly when they accept passage on one of the Miltons' ships to England, where they remain till Pearl reaches adulthood and marries.

Investigating what constitutes a good life and dealing with the subjects of life and death, and salvation and sin, the novel explores universal themes within the colonial setting, but its focus on the passion of love and its aftermath give it a modern context. When Pearl begins to relive her mother's life within her own, the themes begun in Hawthorne's novel come full circle. Noyes's pacing and her exploration of behavior as a series of good acts vs. acts inspired by the Devil are consistent with Hawthorne. Lovers of literary novels will admire Noyes's careful reconstruction of a period and its beliefs, her care in reproducing the language and style of the period, and her development of the character of Pearl, a free spirit who grows up in a repressive theocracy. n Mary Whipple
I really, really wanted to like this book  Jan 31, 2006
I had just finished reading "The Scarlet Letter" for the third time when I saw the review for this book, a follow-up telling the fate of Pearl. I immediately bought it(though it was hard to local bookstore carried it, so I had to buy it on-line). Anyway, enthusiastically as I approached it, I found it very slow going. The author seems to take a lot of liberties with the original story (though, in her defense, she also seems to try to explain away these inconsistancies at the end of her book). I really struggled to make it through the whole thing. I did, and it was not without its rewards, but the parts were definitely better than the whole. Still, I will definitely read the author's next book. She's very insightful and serious and an excellent stylist.
A sad and poignant tale of ultimate enlightenment  Jan 11, 2006
"It was days before Mother finally answered my questions: 'Did I love you then? I loved no one, Pearl. No soul on earth.'"

Hester Prynne, scorned woman of THE SCARLET LETTER, speaks these words to her daughter at the beginning of ANGEL AND APOSTLE. She dutifully wears her "A," branding her an adulteress, forever atoning for a sin she did not commit. She wears it with something almost akin to a haughty pride. She is not one to make excuses, for she wants her child to understand the ways of the world. It is an unjust age Pearl is born to.

But how does a mother love this child, this unwanted child, who reminds her constantly of a shame that she will bear to her grave? A wild young thing, willful and sassy, a hard child to love in the best of times. It takes a while, but she does. She finally does.

Pearl narrates the story as she grows awkwardly through her adolescence. Fortunately, she has a fine and peculiar friend named Simon, a blind lad whose world Pearl falls into. They form a tender bond, fragile and strong at the same time. Their friendship, if that is all it truly is, sees them through many years --- and is the cause of many tears.

ANGEL AND APOSTLE is a journey through a harsh time when men kept a host of mistresses with society's tacit sanction, yet a woman would be in the stocks for one night's dalliance with a lover. A fallen woman, Pearl's mother carries her past heavily, while Pearl struggles reluctantly to womanhood. The daughter bounces between contempt and love for her mother, until at last she appreciates the injustices her mother endured, as she becomes a wife herself.

Written as Deborah Noyes envisions Nathaniel Hawthorne writing it, this small saga reads larger than its 304 pages. While a dark tale, sad and poignant, it is a tale of ultimate enlightenment.

--- Reviewed by Kate Ayers
(4.5) How far does the apple fall from the tree?  Sep 12, 2005
Noyes' novel, a post-The Scarlet Letter treatment of Hester Prynne's years raising her illegitimate daughter, Pearl, mirrors the arcane verbiage of the era, which begins, in this case, in 1649 New England. At that time, Pearl is a child of about seven years, half fairy sprite and half human, taking her cues from the righteous adults around her, who are given to stoning the less fortunate members of a society ruled by excessively rigid standards. Poor Hester is a shadow of her former self, living with Pearl in an isolated cottage, doing needlework for her betters and rushing to and fro to comfort the sick. Rather than teach her daughter the same independence that allowed her to rebel against a repressive society, Hester instructs the girl in the ways of the sinner, ever cautioning against spirit, imagination and individualism. It is hard to believe that this woman, now faded as a country mouse, ever had the passion to confront her own desires.

Early on, Pearl fastens her attentions on Simon Milton, a blind boy whose dying mother is attended by Hester. Simon's older brother, Nehemiah, allows Pearl to take Simon on outings, but when she fails to properly care for him, Pearl is banished in disgrace. She is, after all, only a child. Later, Prynne and her daughter are taken to England by the Milton's, where Hester walks freely without her badge of sin, the tattered red "A" that adorns her clothing in New England. Their lot is not much improved, as Hester places herself in bondage for the next seven years to a Milton family member. Even in England, mother and daughter are pursued by the enigmatic Doctor Devlin, a man Hester avoids but Pearl is drawn to, as he lurks menacingly through Pearl's youth in New England.

As a child, Pearl is far too precocious for her years, her language too sophisticated, hindering my appreciation of the novel at the beginning. But as Pearl matures, her thoughts turn to less maudlin persuasions, the opposite sex now of particular interest. At last perception meets reality and the character matches her rich vocabulary. Now that her fate is more her own, although still dictated by the prevailing religious intolerance, Pearl makes her own willful mistakes. However, as confused as an adult as she was as a child, Pearl is forever tangled in her mother's past, haunted by her father's identity, bound to the ghostly remnants of life in New England, a victim of the self-righteous, Bible-quoting individuals originally penned by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

It is always risky to write a sequel to a classic, a tale that stands because of the author's clarity and profound observations of cultural hypocrisy. Noyes does a more than adequate job of capturing the sounds and images of time and place, but in writing Angel and Apostle, Hester Prynne is robbed of her spirit and iconic status, left in the dust by a daughter who is the product of a confusing moral stasis that denies humanity in its rush to glorify the word of God. Perhaps that is Prynne's inevitable fate. Pearl must seek her own voice, find release from the morass she has created in her life and understand the meaning of forgiveness, for herself and others; more importantly, she must take on the burdens of motherhood to know the true heart of her own mother. What is even more frightening is Noyes prescience in crafting a modern morality tale, couched in Puritan New England, that fits just as well in the confusing moral stew of modern society. For this reason alone, centuries later, Angel and Apostle is chilling. Luan Gaines/2005.
a memorable debut novel, beautifully written  Sep 5, 2005

At the end of Nathaniel Hawthorne's timeless novel, The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne's daughter Pearl has been born, raised, and lives in Europe. Angel and Apostle begins when Pearl is a child in Massachusetts and follows her life through adulthood. Ms. Noyes weaves an enthralling account of what Pearl's life might have been in the mid-to-late 17th century. The character
and plot development are first rate as Noyes captures the true essence of Pearl's personality, life, and times.

Life has been difficult for Pearl and her outcast mother. Townfolk shun the dignified adulterous woman who wears the letter "A" over her heart like a badge of courage. These same merciless Puritans call Pearl "the devil's spawn." Their only kindness and support comes from a frail, gentle hearted
minister. Pearl is a precocious child blessed with a vivid imagination and her father's restless spirit. She loves the forests and seashore, the wild animals, and spends her days exploring the area around her cottage. One day she ventures near the home of a wealthy shipping family, the Miltons, and
meets their youngest son, Simon. Simon is blind. His older brother, Nehemiah, loves Simon but has always considered him a burden. Reluctantly, he allows Pearl to introduce Simon to the natural world she loves. The relationship between Pearl and the Miltons grows over time, and in the process changes the lives of everyone around them.

With quietly savage prose, Deborah Noyes takes Pearl to adulthood, marriage, and motherhood. We experience her life in America and England, the blossoming of love, and the heartbreak borne of passion and loss. Readers smell the sea, the bite of chill air, and live the very heartbeats of each character.
This book is a literary classic and highly recommended.


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