“A Litany of Angels” by Jay A. Cornils

A Litany of Angels

Jay A Cornils
AuthorHouse (2003)
ISBN: 978-1403358660
Reviewed by Chelsy Scherba for Reader Views (09/21)

“A Litany of Angels” by Jay A Cornils is one of those special works that will leave you feeling blessed and moved in the deepest recesses of your soul. Leodegrance is an elderly soldier writing his memoirs about the century of war between France and England and his encounter with Joan of Arc. He recounts his early life, his meeting with his great love, and how he finally found peace. This poignant tale will transport you to a time filled with romance, despair, and, ultimately, hope.

I seldom come across a novel as well-constructed as this one. Jay A Cornils is that rare author who can truly immerse you in a place and make you feel you are there. His characters live and breathe and are viewed from the perspective of a flawed individual like Leodegrance. At one time, he was on the road to joining the priesthood, but his carnal desires took him down a different path. The singular journey of Leodegrance’s life from birth to death was remarkable in its realistic portrayal of his faults, and especially his spiritual journey.

What I liked most about this book was how the author portrayed the “angels” in Leodegrance’s life and how these women aided him in his battle between himself and God. In keeping with the period, Catholicism and the Bible is used heavily as a thread that weaves the storylines together and serves as a spiritual metaphor for the actions of the characters involved. The climax of the story was heartfelt and moving as Leodegrance transitioned from a man riddled with trauma and doubt to finally realizing his intrinsic worth.

This book would not be suitable for kids, teens, or the spiritually immature due to some of the questionable actions Leodegrance makes. As I stated, this is a story in the Middle Ages, so things that would not be acceptable now, such as a large age gap between a male and female in a relationship, do take place briefly. While this book incorporates some romance and there are intimate scenes, they are not terribly graphic. There is a level of crudeness involving sexuality that is in keeping with the period, and which is the only negative thing I can say about the book. Yet, these negatives are also imperative to the story and necessary to come to the cathartic conclusion. In short, I found this book to be one that is profoundly beautiful when viewed as a whole, rather than dissected for its parts.

I read this book cover to cover without losing track of the story, feeling bored, or having any time where I didn’t look forward to going back to it. The ending also cemented the book as one I will remember for quite some time. People who have a strong faith in God will be especially touched by this book. At its heart, this is one man’s journey through life, his physical and spiritual battles, and his final realization of his true value. I can’t recommend it enough to people who enjoy stories about redemption, history, and love.  

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