Greetings fans and friends! As we all start our morning, Chanson de l’Ange will be officially released the day after tomorrow! To be honest I have major butterflies in my stomach. Whether you started reading my story online back in 2005, bought the first edition and have been waiting for the continuation of the story, or will be a first time reader–I am looking forward to hearing from you!
I am pleased to present the following review from the only person who has thus far read the entire series. I submitted it to her a few months ago for consideration to review on her site, and she graciously agreed to do so .
You may find the review on her site directly, but she has given me permission to post it here as well.
WordFlix HD Silversmith
“Run – do not walk – to buy Paisley Swan Stewart’s Chanson de l’Ange, a glorious, opulent, and sensitively written trilogy of novels that transports the reader back to 19th century Paris, its famous opera house, and the even more famous phantom that haunts its depths. A wholly original reimagining of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera (1909-1910), Stewart’s three novels simultaneously remain faithful to Leroux’s core elements while reworking and deepening the characterizations of such well-known figures as Erik (the Phantom), Christine Daaé, Raoul de Chagny, Mme. Giry, and her daughter Meg in ways that fans of both the Leroux novel and much more recent film and theatrical adaptations will appreciate and find riveting. Stewart also strikes out in new directions of her own, particularly in the final volume, while still remaining faithful to the spirit and beauty of the original tale – and her own retelling of it. As something of a Phantom devotée in all its incarnations, I was riveted from the first page of Orphan in Winter to the last page of The Angel’s Song.
Stewart’s trilogy has been years in the making, with Books One and Two debuting in earlier editions. I had sped-read my way through the original editions, happy to learn more of Christine’s and Erik’s earlier histories, their separate experiences at the Paris Opera, their original meeting when she was a child and his training of her exquisite voice, as well as to watch the powerful, dark bond between Christine and Erik grow during Christine’s maturation from child to young woman in Orphan in Winter. Riveted, I saw their relationship develop further in The Bleeding Rose and witnessed the inexorable influences in their different lives and their emotional wounds at once drawing them together in powerful ways and coming between them, to the point that tragedy seemed inevitable. To say that the second volume ends on a cliffhanger would be putting it mildly; I remained on metaphorical tenterhooks for a good three years before the appearance of Book Three, The Angel’s Song, in October 2013 – and I was not disappointed. Except that I did not want the series to end and thus deliberately took my time reading the third installment, I devoured the final book as eagerly as I did the first two. Without divulging any spoilers, I can say that Stewart spins perhaps the richest part of her three-part tale here: The Angel’s Song respects the arc of the story that she has spun in Books One and Two while developing the narrative in deeply moving ways that do justice to the complexity of her characters, their fates, and the fascination that readers have for Erik, Christine, and Raoul and others.
Stewart is particularly gifted at establishing a sense of place and time: one longs to walk the boulevards of Paris that she describes as well as to explore the nooks and crannies of Erik’s underground lair, made eerily beautiful by his celestial music, candlelight, and the eclectic mix of treasures he has accumulated during his lonely life. She also excels as establishing multiple points of view – without confusion — so that all of the major characters in her tale are rendered three-dimensionally, allowing the reader to identify with and appreciate their respective struggles. Perhaps most importantly, she successfully builds, establishes, and deepens the relationship among Erik, Christine, and Raoul that has captured the imagination of readers for over 100 years. Each volume of the trilogy reduced me to tears and exhorted me to joy in ways that no other version of Phantom has.
Until now, perhaps the most respected retelling of Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera has been Susan Kay’s Phantom (1991), which is, indeed, a wonderful tale. However, with all due respect to Ms. Kay, it’s time to make room on your bookshelf for Paisley Swan Stewart’s Chanson de l’Ange trilogy, this century’s logical and worthy successor and an exceptional and moving read.”