THE BELIEF IN Angels is a raw, haunting family saga that explores the darkest side of human nature—and the incontrovertible, uplifting power of hope. Jules Finn and Samuel Trautman know that sorrow can sink deeply—so deeply it can drown the spirit. these two wounded souls—one struggling to survive her childhood with her sanity intact, the other haunted by memories from his past—must decide: surrender to the grief that threatens to destroy them, or find the strength to swim for the surface.
"This is a story full of raw, sometimes harrowing, emotion. It's also the story of two characters, separated by a generation, who despite seemingly insurmountable odds have the resilience and courage to face whatever obstacles Fate selects to block their chances of attaining peace and happiness. Despite the grimness of the narrative this is a story where good does eventually find a way to triumph over adversity (evil) and first time novelist, J. Dylan Yates, has excellent descriptive skills and tells a story that involves the reader from the first page to the last."
"Yates shows much skill in description, characterization and dialogue, and she’s insightful about the mental state of abused children, as when Jules learns to compartmentalize: “I began to see my life in parts. When something bad, or weird, or crazy happened, like my father having a gun and threatening my mother, I’d say to myself: This is the part where my father points a gun at my mother’s head.”
Yates vividly evokes time and place, whether it’s Samuel’s childhood among the apple and cherry orchards in the Ukraine, the bleakness of a Cape Cod tourist town in winter or Wendy’s psychedelic decorating style. Well-written."
"Three cheers for J. Dylan Yates in her debut novel, THE BELIEF IN ANGELS, and for her plucky heroine, Jules Finn, as well. Before going off to college, Jules remembers a tumultuous decade of her life with her irresponsible, drug-addled, free loving mother; her abusive, selfish father; two brothers who cope with familial dysfunction in their own ways; and her grandfather, a Holocaust survivor who lives in the morass of his own past. What could be depressing becomes, with Yates’ skilled narration, a heart-rending but deeply optimistic and appealing story about finding oneself, and the power of love and loss to reshape lives."
"J. Dylan Yates' novel, The Belief in Angels, is an auspicious debut. The characters are well-developed, and their lives progress so realistically that the book reads like a memoir rather than a work of fiction. The Belief in Angels is beautifully written."
Join us on Sunday, November 23rd at 3PM as this wildly talented author reads from her new novel, THE BELIEF IN Angels
Growing up in her parents' crazy hippie household on a tiny island off the coast of Boston, Jules's imaginative sense of humor is the weapon she wields to dodge household chaos. But somewhere between routine discipline with horsewhips, gun-waving gambling debt collectors, and LSD-laced breakfast cereal adventures, tragedy strikes with the death of her younger brother--a blow from which Jules may never fully recover.
Jules' story alternates with that of her Grandfather Samuel, a man with a sad story of his own. Samuel, once called Szaja, is an orthodox Jew who lived through the murderous Ukranian pogroms of the 1920s and the Majdanek Death Camp--but whose survival came at a price that's haunted him for years.