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Small Angels by Lauren Owen
Gothic fiction

Small Angels

by Lauren Owen

Quick take

In this small village where even the trees have secrets, a wedding reunites old friends and awakens ghosts of the past.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Supernatural


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LGBTQ

    LGBTQ+ themes

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Rural_update


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Wedding


Why I love it

A. J. Gnuse
Author, Girl in the Walls

A few months back, my wife and I were taking a walk through a secluded patch of woods near our home. A rustling in the bushes, an odd shadow stretching across the ground, a strange bird cry . . . I’m not sure exactly what caused it, but an unsteadying feeling came over me and I found I needed to share. I began to tell my wife some of the details of the novel I’d been reading, about a haunted family, a mysterious presence in old woods, and vines that move when you aren’t looking and wrap around your neck. That book was Lauren Owen’s Small Angels.

My wife told me, “Perhaps you’ll tell me more about this book once we’re back at home? Maybe not in the middle of the woods?”

Small Angels is a novel that will stick with you, creeping along at the back of your mind long after you’ve finished. With prose that sings and a dark and twisting mystery that’s steadily revealed, Small Angels is certainly a page-turner. The novel itself has the same quality as those old ghost tales we felt compelled to tell each other late at night as children. Something about the story strikes an eerie chord inside us, and we find we need to share.

Which is to say, I’d love for you to read this book, too. Small Angels is a gripping story of heartache, about the bravery to love in the face of fear. And it’s a beautiful and unsteadying treasure.

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As a teenager, Kate found a safe harbor from her parents’ constant fighting in the company of the four Gonne sisters, who lived with their strict grandparents next to Small Angels, a church on the edge of dense green woods. The first outsider to ever get close to the sisters, Kate eventually learned the family’s secret: The woods are home to a capricious, menacing ghost whom generations of Gonnes had been charged with stopping from venturing into the village itself. But as the sisters grew older, braver, and more independent, bucking against the family’s burden, the bulwark began to crack, culminating in a horrifying act of violence that drove a terrible wedge between the sisters and Kate.

Chloe has been planning her dream wedding for months. She has the dress, the flowers, and the perfect venue: Small Angels, a charming old church in the village where her fiancé, Sam, and his sister, Kate, grew up. But days before the ceremony, Chloe starts to hear unsettling stories about Small Angels—and worse, she begins to see, smell, and hear things that couldn’t possibly be real.

Now Kate is returning home for the first time in years, for Sam and Chloe’s wedding. But the woods are coming alive again, and Kate must reconnect with Lucia, the most troubled of the sisters and her first love, to protect Chloe, the village, and herself. An unforgettable novel about the memories that hold us back and those that show us the way forward—this is storytelling at its most magical. Enter Small Angels, if you dare.

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Get an early look from the first pages of Small Angels.

Read a sample →

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    Gothic fiction
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