Author: Rebecca Chance
Bad Angels is a lot of things and one of them is. not what I was expecting, though having said that I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting.
This is a novel that brings together many disparate elements for quite a vibrant and extremely extravagant tapestry. The one thing that ties all of the players in this narrative together is their residence, or time spent, in Limehouse Reach, the super luxurious Canary Wharf apartment building. Limehouse Wharf is attached to the Four Seasons Hotel and houses the Canary Clinic, renowned for first class cosmetic surgery.
Limehouse Reach is the height of modern technology, and no expense spared. The Canary Clinic owns some of the apartments as places where the celebrities recovering from their time in the Canary Clinic can hide out until the evidence of their visit has healed. The other apartments are owned by the mega-rich of different nationalities. These apartments are not primary residences, they are one of a few properties the owners retain scattered across the globe so coming up to Christmas there aren’t many people in residence. The people staying in Limehouse Reach are loaded, to say the least, and the staff are accustomed to exuberant displays of wealth.
Money is quite a recurring factor in Limehouse Reach; either you’ve got it by the freezerload or you understand and value it having worked your guts out to save it after growing up with very little. There is nothing understated about the extravagance of Limehouse Reach but even that was completely outdone by the overwhelming display of wealth in the penthouse suite.
The story is broken down into days and covers the 9 days from December 22nd to New Year’s Eve and ends soon after we see the characters herald in the new year.
Chance has told this story in the third person following multiple protagonists, which made me extremely grateful for the third person narration. That way when I got totally involved and skimmed over chapter headings without noticing who we were focusing on it didn’t matter.
I enjoyed this book , it didn’t rock my world and there were scenes that I was less than completely comfortable reading but having said that it still kept my attention and had me wanting to see how it would all come together.
The opulence and decadence was at times overwhelming and difficult to imagine, simply because never in my life am I going to be in a position to squander millions that way. I can’t imagine how employees could handle watching that level of spending without some discomfort. Working in a luxurious 5 star establishment has them in contact with the wickedly wealthy on a regular basis and the expectations are higher so they are looked after better financially than if they were working in a less exclusive place but there would still be a point where it just looks vulgar, I would think.
The dedication page refers to ‘bonkbusters’ which, I must say, I think is a fabulous word. So I went in expecting a story brimming with bonking, and found myself surprised. Bonking there certainly is, and there is quite an abundance, but not as much as I was expecting. Bad Angels is definitely a character driven story with bonking interspersed to help us get to know our characters better, and it really is quite telling.
The diversity contained in this story extends to the bonking which is quite graphically detailed and raised the heart rate and a blush or four, as well as some uncomfortable moments; though these are not in the places I would have expected. There is a little of everything in that respect – girl on girl,boy on boy, girl on boy, multiple participants and quite sadistic.
Limehouse Reach is quite empty in the lead up to Christmas with most of the owners off holidaying in more exotic locations than London so we have an almost empty luxury apartment building with staff in the lobby doing very little, 2 patients of the Canary Clinic, their nurse, a Japanese family and a Russian oligarch with his entourage of bodyguards. The building is over 40 stories so it seems like it would be quite creepy and ghost town like on most floors.
Bad Angels follows Andy the concierge, Melody the young actress recovering from restorative plastic surgery, Jon the enigmatic second Canary Clinic patient, Aniela the Polish nurse, Grigor the wealthy and powerful Russian and his deranged wife Dasha.
Melody, Jon and Aniela are hiding out at Limehouse Reach and both patients form quite a bond with Aniela as they spend quite a bit of time together.
Andy is given extra responsibilities this holiday season and made the ultimate Christmas elf when he shows his exuberance for the season to the equally Christmas spirited Grigor. This brings him into much closer contact with guests and residents than normal, it also allows him to ‘do’ Christmas on behalf of Grigor and with no limits. I can not even begin to comprehend the expense but to an extent I can identify with the essence and the spirit in which Andy undertook these added responsibilities.
There were moments of beauty that caught me by surprise and that I think offer insightful social commentary. One in particular in the later stages of the book with Jon reflecting on something he was an accidental witness to.
Bad Angels is a seasonal novel with a difference. Set in the Christmas season it comes complete with Santa, decorations, exquisitely excessive gifting and even reindeer. It offers the reader romance, heartbreak and a heart racing romp for all appetites. It also offers suspense, scandal and murder before we get to the promise of Happily Ever After. It has certainly piqued my interest in Rebecca Chance‘s work and will have me looking out for more.