Review - "I Am Fallen" by Scarlett Blackwell
Very Highly Recommended
What might be considered slight spoilers ahead, but I can't recap without them. Sorry...
The year is 1888, the location Scotland. Jacob Bailey had gone to the coast to die.
Jacob's cancer has returned. What started as a lump in his breast that was removed has grown again, and he knows he will not survive another operation. The pain is increasing, and he doesn't have anything to look forward to in his life.
So he begins the inexorable process of separating himself from everyday affairs and preparing for the end. But most of all, he misses Lucien, the love of his life. The man who left him to move to New York, unprepared to leave his wife for Jacob.
But then something happens. An angel appears in his room.
Actually, an archangel. Morning Star, one of his many names. Lucifer is another.
Then Michael appears. Then Raphael.
And Jacob starts to wonder if he's already in the grasp of morphine dementia. If Lucifer is there to steal his soul. But events show him otherwise. Lucifer cares for him, helping Raphael take away some of his pain.
All he knows is, he is ready to go. As his condition worsens, truths are revealed. For him, Lucien, Lucifer, Raphael.
And here I have to stop, or too much will be given away...
I will be honest and upfront - this was a one of the most touching, beautiful works I have read in some time. I spent the last third of the book wiping away tears.
Scarlett Blackwell took two of the most difficult themes of all, death and religion, and created a stunningly simple book that gently cut me open and eviscerated me, tore my heart out and had me in tears. And I wouldn't have had it any other way.
Jacob is such a heartbreaking man. His life devoid of meaning, he lost his one true love to cowardice and fear. Then his fiance died, he developed cancer, and he mostly gave up. Accepted that all of it was punishment from God for being an abomination.
And Lucifer. A revelation. The unrequited love. The pain. The tenderness he shows Jacob.
What gets me the most is the parallel love story between Jacob and Lucien and Lucifer and Raphael.
And then the epilogue. My heart can't take much more.
I have to go now, and wipe my eyes. Still my heart. Say a prayer. For God's angels, for Jacob. For Lucien.