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Proof of Angels


Proof of Angels

PROOF OF ANGELS starts off with a bang. Literally. Sean Magee, a firefighter, is trapped in a huge blaze on the third floor of a house. As he rips open the wall, there’s an explosion that knocks him clear across the room causing him to become unconscious. When he finally comes to, he struggles to regain his strength but has no sense of direction in this thick, black smoke-filled room.

Sean fears that he has no time left. But before he gives in, he utters the following: “If you get me out of this…if you help me outta here…I promise I’ll be better. I’ll be a better man. A better brother. A better friend. I’ll even…I’ll even do that thing I said I was gonna do, but never did…I’ll do anything…Just get me the hell outta…” He prays and can only think of one person --- Chiara Montanari. In that moment, the smoke begins to “curl away,” and a magnetic force pulls him to the window. He thinks he sees an angel and follows the light to the window. Once he breaks the pane with his ax, he jumps.

"[Hackett] touches upon the fact that life is truly about love and relationships, and with the help of our angels --- whether human or Divine --- we will get to the exact spot we need to be."

Sean sustains massive injuries to his head and spine, and his femur bones snap in both of his legs. It’s a miracle he’s still alive. He’s put in an induced coma for two weeks so the swelling to his brain will heal, and he’ll need several surgeries to reset his back and legs. The hard work is yet to come --- the many months of physical therapy he will have to endure so he can walk again. He’s all alone, except for his friend, James.

Cathleen, Sean’s sister, is married to Dr. Gaspar Basu, a surgeon. They have one son together, and Cathleen is due to have twins any day now. She had another son, Colm, from her first husband. A very sick boy who had seven cardiac arrests in seven years, Colm longed to be a part of his biological father’s life, but his dad never came for him. Sean raised the boy as if he were his own, but when Colm passed away, he blamed himself for this tragic turn of events and couldn’t forgive himself.

Sean is a loner and always has been. He runs away from everyone, including his family, and the only thing that brings him comfort is his drinking. He’s a broken man who believes that being independent and strong means being alone. He lives far away from his family in Los Angeles, and Cathleen is always worried about him. Author Mary Curran Hackett does a wonderful job of making the reader feel Sean’s pain and how much he has suffered by his loneliness.

Realizing just how alone he is in the hospital, Sean breaks down and calls his brother-in-law. He tells Gaspar that he’s a changed man since the accident and needs to make things right with his family and Chiara, from whom he ran away many years ago. Gaspar ultimately helps by setting up Sean’s healthcare needs for the next several months as he realizes Sean must heal and be able to walk in order to make the trip to Italy, where Chiara currently lives.

Sean had been in the seminary in Italy, thinking it was his calling. He and Chiara were young --- only 19 when they first met and fell in love, which reminded me of the ’80s movie The Thornbirds. He decided to leave the seminary because he loved her so much, but his drinking wrecked their relationship. He visited a priest, who advised him to leave their relationship permanently, which he did, without even saying goodbye to her.

It’s been 11 years since Sean left, but Chiara has always been on his mind. Since his accident, he thinks about what he said to the angel --- to explain and say he’s sorry. But the healing must begin, and he has to walk again. His physical therapy is grueling, but Tom, his therapist; Libby, who trains working dogs and generously gives one to him; and his friend, James, all get him through the next several months. Hackett delves more into his relationships with Tom, Libby and James than he does Sean and Chiara’s actual reunion. I would have preferred reading less of the former and much more of the latter.

Sometimes people deserve a second chance. “Promises matter, people matter, second chances matter.” Hackett and I believe that there are people in our lives who are our angels who help us, and there are Divine angels --- our protectors and guides. She touches upon the fact that life is truly about love and relationships, and with the help of our angels --- whether human or Divine --- we will get to the exact spot we need to be.

Reviewed by Vivian Payton on November 21, 2014

Proof of Angels
by Mary Curran Hackett

  • Publication Date: November 4, 2014
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062279955
  • ISBN-13: 9780062279958