Angels in the Architecture
Is love enough to heal their family?
Emelie and Liam have a happy life with their five-year-old adopted son, Ben. Emelie, an artist, adores mothering Ben, but as he grows into childhood, she longs for a baby. An accident brings this desire to the forefront. Spending her studio time drawing and painting an imaginary baby, Emelie slips into believing that the baby is real and in need. She tries to hide her struggle from her beloved husband Liam and Ben, but soon it overtakes her.
Liam delights in being a dad and loves his orderly life with Emelie and Ben. No matter what, Liam can't give up his hard-won stability. When Emelie slides out of touch and family life no longer feels predictable and safe, his fears push him to rigid control. Ultimately, Liam sweeps Ben out of Emelie’s orbit, even as she is recovering her health and equanimity.
Pushed into opposition by unconscious forces, Emelie and Liam struggle to grasp how their loving family unit became so unrecognizable. Emelie, finally well, is determined to get her family back, but the road toward reconciliation is full of obstacles. Out of sync, each must grapple with the meaning of family and their deepest desires.
Can Emelie and Liam find their way back together?
This story of a contemporary family from the Canadian Maritimes touches on issues of parental devotion, the trauma of infertility, and the effort to hold a family together when unanticipated changes threaten to tear them apart.
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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Angels in the Architecture is a work of fiction in the women’s fiction and interpersonal drama subgenres. It is suitable for the general adult reading audience and was penned by author Leslie Ann Costello. The book follows a married couple, Emelie and Liam, after a tragic accident destroys their family. As their mental health deteriorates in the face of trauma, Emelie pushes for another baby whilst Liam tries to hold onto normality until he can suddenly do so no longer. As the two break away from each other, they must seek out what they truly need and find the definition of family that makes sense to their new reality.
The trauma at the center of this story is the kind that sends a fracture down the heart of a family, changing everyone it touches as the reality of it sets into daily life. Leslie Ann Costello’s prose creates a beautiful and bittersweet depiction of the sudden yet slow process of anguish as it corrupts the things that are good in a person’s life until they struggle to recognize themselves in the mirror. As is often the case with tragedy, one incident seems to be followed by another in a cascade of upheaval, and as Emelie and Liam slowly learn throughout the story, it is only through great effort and vulnerability that salvation can be found. Overall, Angels in the Architecture paints a poignant image of two people having their lives changed by hardship, the approaches that people take to try to feel in control of desperate times, and the hope of recovering something of the happiness you once knew.