By: Ann Crawford
Publisher: Lightscapes Publishing
Publication Date: July 2018
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Do we have guardian angels watching over us as we go about our daily lives? In this lighthearted, and at times very "deep" romantic comedy, author Ann Crawford has imagined a world of guardian angels that will stay with you long after you've read the last page.
As the story opens, we meet Brooke, an angel who has requested the "hardest job in the universe," which just happens to be an Earth assignment. Henry, a somewhat overweight, balding angel, is a manager of "Angelic Affairs." He's questioning Brooke about her desire to go to Earth, but she convinces him that it's what she truly wants. Soon, Brooke is on Earth, Southern California to be exact, getting to know Jack, the human she's been assigned to help. Jack already has three angels watching over him - as does every human. Each has a different job, such as whispering positive messages in their charge's ear, while another keeps track on a computer of what's going on. When a human is ready to "wake up," to find true joy and love, they get a fourth angel because of course, the workload increases. That's where Brooke comes in - if Jack is ever going to enjoy life to the fullest, he will need Brooke's help. The problem is that while Jack adores his children, his wife, and her lover, definitely put a kink in his finding true happiness.
Next, we meet David, another angel, who is in another office, talking with another angelic affairs manager, about going to Earth. His manager, too, gives in and sends David to Earth to watch over his assignment. Meet Emily, a sweet woman, who is wandering aimlessly through life and a loveless marriage.
Brooke and David quickly learn what's required to help their respective humans, thanks in large part to the other angels watching over Emily and Jack. When Jack is arrested for having drugs in his car, and Emily is truly lost after her beloved mother dies, it appears as if Brooke and David have a heck of a lot of work ahead of them. As their work continues, the two angels start to spend more and more time together and "things" start to happen. Perhaps a couple of angels might also find true love and joy...
When I began reading Angels on Overtime, I wasn't quite sure what kind of story it was, but I quickly decided it was a lighthearted tale of guardian angels. But as I read further, I began to realize that there is a lot more to this story than simply a fun angel adventure. This was especially true in a chapter where Brooke and David were shown the lives of several people in despair, people whose tragic lives lingered over the pages. I paused and re-read those pages a few times to get the full meaning of each person's experience - it was deeply moving. While the story was initially about Jack and Emily, and the choices they made/would make, the way the author slowly brought about the relationship between Brooke and David was truly enjoyable. Finally, there are many words of wisdom throughout the story, ideas such as "At bottom, everything is a choice...absolutely everything," (pg. 35) that will cause the reader to reflect on his/her own life.
Quill says: Angels on Overtime is a truly unique tale, filled with humor, a great cast of characters, and a comforting premise of how we each have angels watching over us. The story will surely linger with the reader in a satisfying way, long after the last page has been read.