The opening paragraph of Luanne Rice's first novel is wonderful. "The problem was not that I believed in ghosts. I did not believe in ghosts, but I was visited by one. I could not deny it. When I least expected to, I would see my father . . . even though he had died months earlier. Once I saw him across the floor at the Rose Room in the Algonquin Hotel."
A start like that suggests we might be in for a lyrical novel, a sophisticated mixture of realism and fantasy with a touch of old New York, or literary New York. Unfortunately, "Angels All Over Town" is none of the above. It's a rambling, adolescent account of soap-opera star Una Caven's life in the year she turns 30 and finds True Love.
In the course of her novel, Una's two little sisters get married. Just pages later, Una meets the Right Man and falls madly in love. ("With Sam I knew the simple joys. The sea, the shore, the sand, the waves, sandpipers, tidal pools, clean salt air, lovemaking in the turret room.")
By then we're halfway through the book and wondering what's going to hold our attention for the rest. The answer is more of the same romantic ramblings, including a whirlwind trip to Europe and, several pages from the end of the novel, another appearance from Una's dead father, talking to her from a cloud (having become an angel).