The Third Angel by Alice Hoffman follows the lives of four women and their connection to the Lion Park Hotel in London. It’s a story about losing yourself completely whether it be through passionate love or your own self-hate.
It’s a story about the Third Angel. As Frieda explains, “You can’t even tell if he’s an angel or not. You think you’re doing him a kindness, you think you’re the one taking care of him, while all the while, he’s the one who’s saving your life.” I like this concept of a Third Angel; someone who is out there and unwittingly through some act or gesture of compassion they have the ability to alter you life and save you from yourself.
Another theme is the ability to lose yourself completely without even realizing it. The most obvious is the ghost that haunts the Lion Park Hotel. This ghost is different; it’s not a ghost of a dead person, but more of an imprint of Teddy Healy (who is still alive) soul and the exact moment that he lost it. In that instant his very essence was ripped out of him and left to relive that scene every night. Teddy was never able to find himself again.
The Third Angel starts in the present and works its way to the past and you see how each woman is connected to one another. The Lion Park Hotel seems to be the central focus and events that happened 47 years ago leave a mark in each story surrounding these women’s lives.
Each woman has their own story to tell that involves love, lost, betrayal and a Third Angel. It’s interesting to see whom that Third Angel is and how their role helps shape these women’s existence. Some become the Third Angel and some are helped by the Third Angel.
I have to admit, I didn’t really like this book until I finally got to the end. Everything made sense at the end, and I even went back to the beginning to see where all the connections were. I do think Hoffman has a nice style of writing, but I wasn’t really sucked into the story until closer to the end.