Four years ago, Frankie Rios walked away from her best friend and big sister, Iris. To Frankie, Iris died the day that she last rejected Frankie’s attempts at getting Iris alcohol and drug treatment. Rather than accept grief for her beloved sister’s loss, Frankie turned to her music. A renowned cellist, Frankie has managed to ignore the pain and suffering of losing the person she loved most in this world. With Iris out of her mind and out of her life, Frankie was able to move on…or so she thought. Until Iris really died.
Topher went to war in 2001 only to return two years later damaged and broken. Unable to reconcile the war vet with the boy he used to be, Topher gave up on life. When Iris Rios, his long-lost childhood best friend, dies from liver failure at thirty-two years-old, Topher is forced to confront his past. He must decide whether he deserves to heal. He must decide whether he will take that first step and then take another until he can recover what he lost: himself.
Weeping Angels is a story of grief carried and grief ignored. It’s about learning to love and moving on. Mourning someone once is hard enough, but mourning someone twice is unimaginably harder.
Genre: Women’s fiction, romance
Release date: June 27, 2014
What Frankie says breaks me. It breaks me. And it’s not even about Iris or me; it’s about Frankie. Everything she said about Iris fills me in on years that I’ve missed. Even when I’d been standing right beside her, I was ignoring what now seems so obvious it’s blinding. Yet, for all the talk about Iris’s alcoholism and suicidal tendencies, what Frankie’s opened up about is herself.
I’m not even sure she notices because she’s so guarded. Never once has she reflected on what she’s said. She’s been stating facts, telling stories. That’s what she thinks, anyway. I know this like I know myself, because it’s what I do. I state facts and I tell stories, and what I’m actually doing is diverting attention from what’s going on inside.
Frankie’s all Iris this, Iris that, but what I hear is: I can’t live with myself because Iris was never happy and I couldn’t save her. It’s what I hear inside myself every minute of every day, and my heart breaks for Frankie and for me. What I do next comes so naturally that it scares the living shit out of me. I don’t let her leave. I hold her as close as I can because what I want is for her to be inside of me the way she’s let me be inside of her.
In this space and time, Frankie and I are one person. I’m angry with her. I’m aggressive about it, maybe even hurting her, but I reason that it can’t be any worse than how she’s been hurting herself by balling this all up for decades.
As much as I need her to be close, I want to push her away. I want her to leave and never come back. I want Frankie to take flight tomorrow morning, and I want to be the one to deliver her to the airport because what I’m feeling is something that I’m not ready to deal with. I tell myself to let her stay here, to give her this space from death that she needs. I’m surer now more than ever that we have an unbreakable bond, but I don’t want it.
We have right now and I need it right now, but I can’t want to have it tomorrow. I can’t want to have it ever again. It’s like being with yourself all the time, but only with the ugliest parts of you. It’s looking at all the broken pieces of your psyche and being forced to confront them.
That’s what Frankie is to me. That’s what she’s been to me all day if I cop to it. Maybe it was like that last night when I went out after her in the parking lot and walked her back to the service. Maybe it’s why I couldn’t believe that she could be out there alone with no one to hide her sadness from the world. I’m making up for it today, though. Right now, I’m making up for leaving her naked and on a slab for the world to pick apart. The more I hold her, the more I fear that I’ll never be able to let her go, but I keep doing it because she’s something worth saving and, if she can be saved, then maybe I can be, too.
A Beautiful, Raw and Intense Love Story
I am familiar with Cristy Rey, having read her Paranormal Romance Taking Back Sunday which I hugely enjoyed. Weeping Angels is an entirely different read, billed as Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Romance, it portrays an intense journey embarked on by two lost souls and deals with the raw emotions of grief, guilt, anger and pain. It is also a beautiful inspirational love story, unlike no other I have read, and I am awed by the versatility of this writer.
In Weeping Angels Frankie and Topher meet after Iris, Frankie’s sister, has died as a result of alcoholism. Frankie, a renowned cellist, has been estranged from Iris and her family for four years after Iris refused to seek help for her addiction and her family did not acknowledge that she had a problem. Frankie pours her anger and grief at the situation into her music, which in many ways has been her constant prop in the face of witnessing her once beloved sister’s slow demise since childhood. Despite qualifying and working as a lawyer after being discharged from the military, Topher has all but given up on life and struggles to cope with PTSD arising from a Traumatic Brain Injury. Topher used to be Iris’ best friend before he enlisted, having little to do with the reclusive Frankie who refused to party and was devoted to her music.
However Iris’ death draws them together. Topher gives Frankie first the physical and then the emotional support she needs and a strong bond develops. Yet Topher believes that he is broken beyond repair, too broken for Frankie, who has her own demons to deal with. Frankie too has issues, not least her guilt at the death of her sister and the anger towards her family who did nothing to help her sister deal with her addiction. With Topher based in Miami determined to protect Frankie from himself and Frankie living in San Francisco any future together appears doomed, unless the bond they formed is strong enough to overcome their distance and overcome the tangled emotions at play.
I was totally absorbed in the development of the relationship between Frankie and Topher. Cristy Rey cleverly portrays their innermost thoughts in chapters alternating between Frankie and Topher’s POV. Both are broken in their own way and their coming together does not magically make their problems go away. Instead their meeting offers them an opportunity to overcome their problems and embrace a future together if they are willing to chance it. I loved both characters, who display a great deal of strength despite the cards Fate has dealt them. I also loved how the author illustrated Frankie’s character and emotions though her relationship to her cello and how Frankie’s music helped strengthen their bond.
Weeping Angels is a beautiful, original and emotional read, which although will have you reaching for the Kleenex, is also an inspirational one. I strongly recommend it.
A copy of this novel was given to me for the purpose of a fair and honest review.
About Cristy Rey
Cristy Rey is the author of the romantic urban fantasy Incarnate series. The first book, Taking Back Sunday, and a short prequel novelette, Edge of Seventeen, are available now at online retailers. She also writes and publishes unconventional romantic women’s fiction. Her first standalone, Weeping Angels, is available now, and her second, Heart Grow Fonder, will be out in winter 2014/2015.
Cristy lives in Miami, FL where she is a reader and writer most of the time, and a knitter much less of the time than she was six months before she took up writing again. She writes the books that she likes to read. She describes her writing style as riot grrrl Jane Austen sprinkled with a little magic. There’s always a killer soundtrack running in the background of her novels – all you need to do is turn to the playlist to know what’s up.
A few of Cristy’s other novels