My Review of The Angel in my Well by Kevin Ansbro


I gave this book 5 of 5 stars on Amazon and Goodreads

I loved this wonderful book that author Kevin Ansbro said was inspired by his mum, Kathleen. What a beautiful, loving tribute to his mum! I had read Ansbro’s other book, Kinnara, which I loved and gave a 5 star rating, and now I love this book, his first, equally as well. He wrote it as he struggled with his mum’s slow demise from cancer and dementia. It was powerful, not overly edited, written from the heart and that is something every reader, I believe, will feel and respond to. I know I did because I went through something similar with my own beautiful mom who had Alzheimer’s.

Two story lines were interwoven: Joe, a 26 year old photographer, raised by his Gran after a tragic car accident left him orphaned at age one; and Imran, a young Muslim, alienated from his family and friends, despite their love and efforts to help him. The story began with the funeral of Joe’s beloved Gran. Grief-stricken, Joe barely engaged with life and friends, while his heart ached for a soul mate. Both Joe and Imran longed for a transcendent love, yet their paths took different courses that lead to a fateful encounter.

Through fantasy, Ansbro brought Joe’s Gran, Kathleen, to life as an incarnation of the delightful person she was before “her face became buckled by cancer and she was irretrievably lost in a confused fog of dementia.” Kathleen burst forth on the pages as feisty and mischievous, funny and outspoken, loving a bargain and hating to be conned. She was as charming as I imagined Ansbro’s mother, with an indomitable spirit that shone to the end though “she faded like a signal from a stricken ship.” Who would not tear up at that?

The story was a blend of humor and pathos, of acute observations and great insights into human psychology. Ansbro never succumbed to the maudlin but, like a master storyteller, drew out emotions. Some scenes were hilarious and made me laugh, while others spoke to human frailty, evoking emotions of longing and loss, of hope for the immortal soul, as described in one of the beginning quotes from Hans Christian Anderson’s the Mermaid.

There were themes of synchronicities and chance meetings that brought people together who were meant to be together. But there was sadness, too, of parental and marital love that couldn’t always save a person.

In his Acknowledgments Ansbro wrote that his wife, Julie, inspired Mary, the love of Joe’s life, and that was incredibly sweet and romantic. He also wrote that his Gran “left an indelible impression on everyone.” With this beautiful story and tribute to his Mum Kathleen, Ansbro left an indelible impression on me of a love that transcended time.





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