Just West of Heaven

A Pocketful of Paradise

Still Close to Heaven

Simply Magic

This Time for Keeps

Wish Upon a Cowboy

When the Halo Falls
by Kathleen Kane
(St. Martin's, $6.50, PG-13) 0-312-97842-1
"There's no point in rumbling thunder at me...You sent me here and I'll handle the assignment as I please."

Patience Goodfellow is Brady Shaw's guardian angel and has been since he was eleven. She took the job after three previous guardian angels had worn out watching over him. He is now an adult and has been a gunfighter, a gambler, and is currently a saloon owner. Patience sees past all of his hardness because she knows that he has a noble streak, even though it is deeply buried. She wants to show herself to him so that she can give him guidance, but her superiors strictly forbid it.

Patience has been in love with Brady for years. She has often fantasized about being married to him. After her latest encounter with her superiors, she spies a bridal veil in the local dress shop. Since the shop is closed for the day, she takes off her halo, making her visible to humans, and puts on the veil. As she is trying to smooth the long train of the veil, she realizes that it is caught in some hatboxes. A sharp tug sends the boxes down upon her, knocking her out and rolling her halo out of sight.

The next morning, Davey Howard, the orphaned boy who does odd jobs around town to support himself, finds her on the dress shop floor. When he asks her who she is, she is surprised and thinks that Davey is teasing her. She simply tells him that she is Brady Shaw's fiancée.

Patience has no memory of being an angel but she does know all of the townspeople including many of their secrets. She can't figure out why people seem surprised to see her when she knows all of them so well. Even Brady claims not to know her.

Brady is a gruff man who does not put up with much nonsense. Until he won the saloon in a card game a few years back, he had drifted from place to place. He has discovered that he likes being settled, but never expects to marry because good women do not marry ex-gunfighters and gamblers. He thinks that Patience is a crazy woman and tries to find out if anyone in the area is missing a female relative who is slightly off. The noble streak that Patience is aware of does not let him just kick her out in the street, so he tries to deal with her.

Patience is no fluffy, sugar-sweet angel. She is feisty and quite willing to stand up to Brady in all of his temperamental glory. She has the advantage because, as his guardian angel, she knows things that no one else knows about him. While she is upbeat and sees the good in everyone, she is no pushover. She is also very willing to try her sensual side. The love scenes with Brady are quite warm, but not overly descriptive. Through her dreams, the chilling story of her original death is explained and shows that her habit of standing up for herself is truly a part of her.

Brady's attitude toward Patience is very understandable. Most of the townspeople begin to believe that they have always know Patience because she talks as if she has been present for some very private parts of their lives. Brady, however, knows that he didn't propose to anyone. He does come to admire her spunk even when she does something to infuriate him, but is understandably wary of her though most of the story.

Patience's amnesia may bother some readers who are tired of this plot line, but I look at this as angel amnesia instead of regular amnesia. To enjoy the story, the reader has to accept the angel aspect. Since I don't claim to know how angels act, I certainly don't know how amnesia would affect an angel.

Several secondary characters add to the story. Davey and his need to make his own way, but craving the love and attention Patience and Brady give him, is heartbreaking to watch. Patience works her miracles on several townspeople, but the author does not make all of them perfect.

Kathleen Kane has created another angel story that should satisfy her fans and anyone who is willing to take a chance on it. As guardian angels go, Patience would be the kind I'd want.

--B. Kathy Leitle

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