BOOK CLUB: Transit of Angels

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I originally received this book from the author Desney King to read and review and am very excited to now have the opportunity to share it with some of Beauty and Lace’s members.

Desney King is a recent addition to the independent publishing company Pilyara Press, which includes Jennifer Scoullar and Monique Mulligan whose works Beauty and Lace members have also had the opportunity to read and review recently. 

Transit of Angels is Desney King’s debut novel, 12 years in the making, and what a debut it is!

Angelica (known as Angel) is 34 when she receives the phone call that will change her life, her beloved husband Bill has been involved in a single-vehicle motorbike accident and is now in ICU. Her twin sister Estrellita (Essie) by her side she is forced to deal with the unimaginable, Bill’s injuries are so severe they are deemed incompatible with life.  At this moment, in shock and with her heartbreaking she must make the decision whether to honour Bill’s wish to be an organ donor.

King gently leads us through the process for getting consent from next of kin for donation as we meet Julianne, the hospital organ donor coordinator, the understanding that the next of kin is grieving and needs time to process what has happened and make a decision, while at the same time making it clear that time is of the essence.  Struggling with her emotions Angel realises that having his organs donated is what Bill would want, he was so clear about his decision and not to honour that decision would be to deny who Bill was.

Anyone who has experienced the death, whether expected or not, of a loved one will recognise that strange feeling of disconnect with the world, how it seems remarkable that the world keeps turning, and people’s lives go on as before when for you everything has stopped.  Many cultures have specific rituals around death which aim to honour the dead, while acknowledging and supporting the living, some cultures are better at this than others. Western society is often particularly bad at dealing with the whole death, dying and grieving process, as evidenced by our need to substitute words such as “lost”, “passed on” etc. for  “death” in order to somehow soften the blow.

Transit of Angels seeks to acknowledge the grieving process, and how over a long period of time the pain lessens and becomes bearable, while acknowledging that it never totally goes away and there will always be triggers that bring it rushing back.

Depending on your belief system, some may find the concepts that King utilises as she follows Angel’s path of dealing with her beloved husband’s death confronting and different to their own understanding and belief in what happens after death.  Whatever your religious views, King explores the grieving process in a compassionate manner, as Angel comes to believe the butcher bird that miraculously appears in her garden is a sign from Bill that he is still there with her, cares for her and supports the things she is doing to move forward.

As events unfold, we watch Angel gaining a greater understanding of herself, her place in nature and natures place in her healing process. Interwoven into the tale is the sub tale of Angel’s twin sister Essie and her partner Liz who, while providing support to Angel throughout her grief, are dealing with their own relationship dramas and traumas. And, in an acknowledgement that you can’t always rely on family in your greatest hour of need, we also meet Angel and Essie’s younger sister Sage, who, having found religion, refuses to expose her children to Essie and Liz’s “house of sin” and totally disapproves of all of Angel’s actions in her recovery process.

Transit of Angels is a beautifully written book which tackles, what for many is a very difficult topic, without getting schmaltzy.  Whether you believe that death is final, or that there is a heaven, or in reincarnation, or in life after death, providing you can suspend judgement on views that might not entirely accord with your own then you will both enjoy this book, and gain a great deal from it.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well written, thoughtful story, as well as anyone seeking to deal with their grief after the death of a loved one.

ISBN: 978-1-9258272-7-9 (paperback) / 978-0-6483089-5-9 (e-book)
Copy courtesy of Desney King

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Transit of Angels by Desney King. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

34 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Transit of Angels

  1. Transit Of Angels, the debut novel and Pilyara Press ebook by Desney King is an emotionally charged and very moving story about grief, survival and ultimately about life. It is written in a mesmerisingly raw and real way, and I could not put it down!

    Her descriptions are so incredibly vivid and her language and imagery so evocative that you are easily transported whether to a sterile, hospital ICU ward, a terrace in Annandale or surrounded by nature at a remote bush retreat on the Hawkesbury.

    It was with some trepidation that I began to read this book, as the description of the ICU and the sad, helpless feelings of grief Angelica experienced, brought back memories of my own. Needless to say I spent a good third of the book with tears streaming down my cheeks! Happily though my tears and the story itself proved to be extremely cathartic.

    The way Angelica coped with her grief, looked for signs that there is still a spiritual connection to her loved one and ultimately the joy she finds in continuing to live was very comforting. I highly recommend Transit of Angels.

  2. I absolutely loved “Transit of Angels” and read it until the wee hours of the morning two nights in a row. I didn’t realise that it was Desney King’s debut novel: it is so well written and captured me from the get go. Apparently it was 12 years in the writing. Personally I think those years were well spent
    The novel centres around Angelica and the loss of her husband: Bill. What is often thought by many to be an ending actually ends up being a beginning: a time of healing and raw humanity, of stepping outside your safety zone and embracing concepts previously alien and inconceivable
    Angelica’s journey is interspersed with the interactions and views of friends and family. By the time I scrolled to the end of this Ebook I felt like I was among friends. I cried, I smiled, I empathised. I loved how Angel grew and blossomed and found her new place in the world
    Thanks so much to Beauty and Lace and Pilyara Press for the opportunity to read and review this book. I can’t wait to see the next offering from Desney King. Please don’t make me wait 12 years

  3. Transit of Angels by Desney King
    I was hooked from the first page!
    With tears in my eyes I read as Angelica watched her young Husband, Bill lying in the hospital bed after a devastating motorbike accident, not knowing if he would live or die.
    Having to make decisions she never thought possible as she watched the dreams of their future slip away.
    This is such a beautifully descriptive story full of emotion and grief through the eyes of 34 year old Angelica. It is raw and real as she navigates her way through everyday life in a way she had never imagined.
    She relishes but at times also pushes away her support network of twin sister Essie and her partner Liz and then later friends Andrea, Jane, Clyde, Hayden and clairvoyant Sally.
    She tries to ignore the horrible and unwelcome opinions of younger sister, Sage and her husband who have very different beliefs and want to make them heard.
    After suffocating in the City but not ever wanting to leave the house that she and Bill had made their home she makes the life changing decision to move to the country, living closer to her twin sister. She also starts to feel Bill all around her. This leads her to look closer in to spirituality and look for signs that those she loves but are no longer with her are still close and helping her discover her new path.
    This is such a beautiful book of loss but also finding yourself.
    Thanks so much to Beauty and Lace Bookclub and to Desney King for the opportunity to read this book.

      1. Thank you Beauty & Lace and Pokhara Press for a copy of this book ‘Transit of Angels’ by Desney King.

        This story is a truly emotional, wrenching , transformational story that grabs you and doesn’t let go. It explores the depths of grief, difficult decisions and people, as well as the transverse beauty. Somehow, this story does all of that and yet is not a depressing book. This amazing book put me in that ‘awkward’ position a reader occasionally gets with a truly splendid book: you want to keep reading as it’s so good but, conversely, you don’t want to keep reading as you know that it’ll end.
        I can’t wait for Desney King’s next novel!

  4. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Pilyara Press for the opportunity to read Transit of Angels by Desney King.
    The book starts dramatically with Angelica ( Angel) and her sister Essie watching Angel’s husband Bill clinging to life in the ICU. He has had a motor bike accident and is not expected to survive. With no chance of recovery Angel has to make the tough decision for his life support to be turned off, and his organs donated, as he had wished.
    Angel’s life as she knew it has ended.
    She looks for “signs” from Bill. A new addition to her garden, a butcher bird brings her comfort.
    Angel has friends and family around her, some are supportive and some are not.
    The book is Angel’s journey through grief, healing, and new beginnings.

    This book is a must for anyone who has suffered any loss. The seeking of answers as to why, the courage to change your attitude and move forward.
    A great read.

  5. Transit of Angels by Disney King.
    A truly amazing story with characters one could only love! Angelica, Essie, Liz, Bill, Hayden and Clyde!
    A unique path of grief and how it can change Angelica’s life so significantly. It wanders to the realm of unknown spiritual paths, soul searching and raw deep emotions.
    I cannot explain enough to give this story the justice it deserves! It has effected me so much. It’s so very moving, emotional and beautiful.
    A must read!

  6. Beauty & Lace Bookclub. 17th October, 2020
    Thank-you Beauty & Lace for giving me the chance to read & review ‘Transit of Angels’ by Desney King.
    This is a story about love, hope and of letting go, but to get there you need to get through the first few chapters which just tear your heart out – make sure to have the tissues handy. Angelica’s life changes dramatically when receiving a phone call about her husband in a motorbike accident, she is then dragged almost unwillingly through the process of ICU and having to make decisions to honour Bill’s wishes. Fortunately, her twin sister Essie is there by her side with support.
    Time goes onwards as does the grieving process for Angel, at times she is lost for the future and others there are glimpses of what the future could be. Her path for dealing with grief is at times alternative but for her it is healing, allowing Angel to accept the past but to move forward into the future. An unexpected turn of events really shows a new pathway for Angel to follow which will be enriching and rewarding.
    An emotional story that truly reflects what it is like to go through the grieving process, yes time does heal the rawness of the pain but the memories will always be treasured, a really good read.
    Thank-you ‘Beauty & Lace Bookclub’ and Desney King for allowing me to read & review Transit of Angels’.

  7. Thank you for allowing me to read this wonderful first novel.
    I enjoyed it very much, feeling that I was with Angel as she travelled through the differing states of mind leading to her recovery.
    All the characters were believable and interesting. It’s amazing what you can learn from different people and their beliefs.
    It’s also wonderful what the relationship between dog and master can do.
    I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an engrossing and different story.

  8. I didn’t enjoy “Transit of Angels” very much. There is not really anything specifically wrong with the novel; I think I was just completely the wrong audience for this. For me, there was too much “woo woo” stuff, and not enough genuinely emotionally compelling material.

    As the novel opens, Angelica is sitting by her husband Bill’s bed in the ICU. Within pages Bill has died. The remainder of the novel focuses on Angelica’s journey through grief to a point where she is moving forward again.

    Although King clearly has a good understanding of grief, she doesn’t convey it in a visceral way. I felt we were always two steps removed from Angelica’s feelings.

    I am a lover of fantasy and science fiction novels. But here the mystical elements simply irritated me. I found them unconvincing and not helpful to understanding Angelica’s path to equilibrium. I suspect that appreciation of this novel will turn on your reaction to this element: if, like me, you struggle to engage with it, then the novel is ordinary and not very interesting. If you engage more strongly with it, you’ll likely enjoy it more.

    There is not a lot of action beyond Angelica’s emotional struggle. So if you feel distanced from it, and irritated by the mystical elements, as I was, then this novel doesn’t have a lot to offer you.

  9. Thanks for your honesty, Lorraine.
    I agree – clearly, Transit of Angels is not the genre you generally read or enjoy. And it’s good that you felt free to express your opinion.

  10. Thank-you Beauty & Lace for giving me the chance to read & review ‘Transit of Angels’ by Desney King.. I had to take my time reading this, as it resonated with me, and the loss of my own husband under tragic circumstances, in a profound way, and certainly brought on the tears.
    Angels life was torn apart in an instant, after 1 phone call, her husband had been in a horrific accident.
    I love the way the story included the important topic of organ donation, and having to say those final goodbyes and let go of the hand of the one you love so much.
    Completely lost in her grief, family and friends encourage her to try and move on, and she is offered a country cottage to live in, where she can heal.
    I think we all look for some sort of sign that our loved ones are around us, and the sighting of a special bird on a regular basis, brings her comfort.
    Along the way, a chance encounter will change her whole future, and in the early stages, trepidation, and from some family and closest friends, disappointment and disgust, but ultimately will being her even closer to one sister and her lesbian lover.
    There is lot’s of spiritual seeking and enlightenment for Angel as well, and she makes some wonderful like minded friends along the way, all part of her healing process.
    Some may find this book definitely not for them, depending on your own spiritual, and life after death beliefs. I on the other hand, did practically all that Angel did, and looked for any sign that my husband was near, even a few years after his death. Angel also finds that grief is not a ‘get over it quickly’ event, but there are triggers years after, that can bring back many memories of the love she has lost.
    I absolutely loved this book, and to anyone who is unsure, give it a go. Read it with an open mind, and even if your spiritual beliefs differ, look at it as one womans journey, through shock, disbelief, devastating decisions and loss, to be gently pushed forward, into new opportunities, friends lost and friends gained, but ultimately, working forward, working through her grief, and to ultimately , find peace.

  11. I’m so sorry about the loss of your husband, Lynn. But deeply moved that Transit of Angels resonated so profoundly for you. I hope you, too, have found peace, and gentle ways of living with your grief.

  12. Transit of Angels is author Desney King’s debut novel and it didn’t disappoint.
    We meet the main character Angelica, known as Angel, in an ICU next to her much loved husband Bill, who is on life support after a serious motor bike accident. Desney sensitively and realistically steps Angel through the pain of realising Bill isn’t going to recover and then making the decision to donate his organs. But it is the emotional rollercoaster journey that follows as Angels navigates intense grief and loss, loneliness and recognition of a life changed forever, that is so beautifully captured and written. The emotion is raw and painful and had me reaching for my tissues more than once. As Angel finds ways to keep Bill close in memory and spirit, she reconnects with family and friends and slowly finds a life path of her own, reminding us that even in the face of the greatest of tragedies life goes on and hope and happiness can be restored.
    A really beautifully written and powerful novel which I couldn’t put down. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Pilyara Press for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this book. I look forward to reading more from this talented author.

  13. This story engaged me from the very first page and I felt deeply for Angel as she dealt with the agonising decision about organ donation and saying goodbye to her beloved husband. It was if the grief was pouring out of the pages. For me, though the remainder of the story fell a little short compared to this intense beginning. I think there were many areas where the spiritual indications of life after death could have been further developed. I felt that I wanted more from the references to Shamanism, mediums and near death experiences which could have been more deeply entwined into the story line. Nevertheless, this was an enjoyable read with food for thought. The journey through grief can be long and painful and people find their own individual ways to meet the challenges along the road. Well done, Desney for having the courage to touch upon spiritual matters which can often be met with strong resistance and judgement. Thank you for the opportunity to review your work.

  14. Thank you, Carla. Yes – it’s a fine line, isn’t it? And grief is a unique and lonely experience for each of us.

  15. Transit Of Angels is the debut novel of Desney King and what a debut it was!
    I am truly honoured to have been able to read this amazingly well written book.
    Angel is so young to have to face life as a widow and Desney is very gentle as she takes us through what happens when a loved one is an organ donor.
    When Angel cried I cried for her.
    Over a year later and Angel gets the opportunity to move away to a lovely house out with nature to try and grieve, move on.
    The rest of the book takes us further into Angel’s grief and how she copes with it.
    It is so well written that I could truly see the story happening as if it was right in front of me.
    I was also able to put myself in Angel’s shoes as I read further and further in.
    I highly recommend this book. I did cry a lot while reading but that’s just me, I am able to put myself in others shoes.
    Thank you so much for allowing me to review this book.
    Desney King, thank you so much for writing such a beautiful novel.

  16. Make sure you dont start reading this on public transport or a cafe, the beginning is so emotive and heart breaking. You’ll need a box of tissues.
    Angelica loses the love of her life due to a tragic accident. Her life turned upside down not knowing how to go on until she puts a little faith in signs and feelings. A different approach to dealing with lifes challenges.
    She uproots herself and goes on a quest to seek understanding, peace, a new resolve. And her fight to come back from grief was rewarded with a gift.
    Quite the touching warm fuzzy kind of story. I really enjoyed reading it. Well worded and described to help readers see whats going on. Thanks to Desney King for a good read and Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity.

  17. Transit of Angels is a beautifully written debut novel by Desney King.
    The book tells the story of Angelica (Angel) who loses her husband, Bill in a tragic motorcycle accident. We follow Angel’s process of healing through the grief from having to make decisions of whether to donate his organs to how to get on with day to day life after the shock passing of a loved one. She has her sister and friends to help her with the process but often she pushes them away whilst also trying less orthodox methods of healing. Overall this is a tear jerker of a book that I’m sure many readers would relate to. Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Desney King for my complimentary copy.

  18. Such a beautiful book and not a predictable story which was great.
    I had tears when Bills brother Neil met up with Angel and then again at the letter he sent her, so moving.
    I was taken aback at certain events and felt Angel had real peace within herself on her journey of grief.
    Loved the community who gatjered around her too, very uplifting.
    Thanks for this wonderful book, I loved it!

  19. I was honoured to be chosen to read Transit of Angels I could feel the raw pain of loss coming off the pages and numerous times I was wiping tears away that I didn’t realise I was losing. Angelica is so young when death turns her life upside down and as many of us know death will do that especially when it’s your spouse and you’ve been robbed of your life together. I found it hard to put this book down but it was one I could relate too. I can’t wait for Desney King’s next book

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