"A perfect blend of fast-paced thriller, inspiration and romance."
Reviewed by Viki Ferrell
Posted February 14, 2013
Regina da Silva is Co-Director of the House of Angels'
Orphanage in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The other Co-Director,
Irene, is leaving for Orlando, Florida, to start a new life
with her three-month-old baby, Eduardo. When they stop so
Regina can run into the market with Eduardo to get him some
juice, an explosion occurs outside. Irene's car burns in
the parking lot with Irene in it. Regina promised Irene she
would care for Eduardo if anything ever happened to Irene.
She never thought she'd have to make good on that promise.
A few days after Irene's funeral, Brooks Anderson arrives
at the orphanage. Sent by his mother, Co-Founder of the
orphanage with her husband, Brooks is here to take Eduardo
back to Orlando for adoption. Regina is reluctant to let
Eduardo go without her. Before they can get out of the
house, someone fires a shot outside and kills the orphanage
guard. This sends Regina into action, getting the children
out of the house to a safe place and getting herself, the
baby and Brooks out too.
Regina and Brooks have a strong battle of wills as they
journey across Brazil trying to stay one step ahead of
their pursuer. It would help to know who this pursuer is
and why he is after them. Added to their battle of
determination to each have things their way is a blossoming
physical attraction. Neither one wants to admit they have
room in their lives for romance.
Connie Mann's inspirational thriller moves a mile-a-
minute through the jungles of Brazil with a frantic car
chase. Her characters are well-developed and believable,
but you're never quite sure which ones are the good guys
and which ones are the bad guys. The suspense builds to a
climax at several different points, just to have another
event occur that changes the playing field. ANGEL FALLS is
about revenge, learning to forgive and having a strong
faith in God to see you through the tough times. This book
is a real winner, so add it to your reading list.
When her best friend is killed in an explosion, leaving
Regina da Silva with her friend's young child, she doesn't
realize that the child was as much as target as her friend.
Brooks Anderson has been sent to find the child and bring it
to the US. When circumstances bring them together in Brazil,
they find themselves being pursued by a killer as they
protect an orphaned baby. As the danger heightens around
them, so does the attraction between Regina and Brooks,
despite their differences. Regina and Brooks have both been
broken by their violent pasts, but while Regina relies on
her faith to deal with her past, Brooks has turned away from
God. Will their pasts stop them from realizing their true
feelings for each other when their pursuer strives to keep
them apart forever?
Porto Alegre, Southern Brazil, Present Day
Regina da Silva tied the laces on her cracked
leather boots and yanked the hand–knitted wool
stockings Olga made her last Christmas up past her knees.
Outside, an icy wind fought to get in through the wooden
shutters guarding House of Angels' orphanage. She
straightened the layers of skirts swirling around her
ankles, knowing she'd give away all but one before the
She didn't want to go out tonight, and that made her
feel small and selfish. And guilty. So she hefted the
wicker basket filled with meat pastries and opened the
door—before she changed her mind. On nights like
tonight, she didn't know which she hated most—the
cold, or the memories.
"You are still going out tonight, Regina?" Irene
demanded quietly from behind her, voice heavy with
accusation. And disappointment.
"Just this one night, Regina, stay home. We'll talk.
Laugh, maybe even shed a few tears. Minha amiga, even Jesus
took time off for his friends."
Regina swallowed hard and glanced over her shoulder at
the sagging sofa, where Irene sat with her feet curled
under her, cuddling her three–month–old son.
The pleading tone almost demolished the fence guarding
A gust of wind snatched the door from her grasp and
slammed it against the wall, the crash a call to arms. "If
I don't go, who will?" Regina asked. She didn't add, "since
you aren't anymore," but it echoed in the room nonetheless.
Regina tried to keep the hurt out of her voice. She still
couldn't believe Irene and little Eduardo were moving to
the United States in the morning and leaving her behind.
She was thrilled for Irene. She was furious, too, and mad
at herself for feeling that way. But she couldn't find
words for any of it. So she simply pointed to the basket
and said, "Olga has the meat pastries ready and Jorge
packed extra blankets." Regina pulled on a pair of handmade
mittens, carefully pulling together the hole in one thumb.
Irene sent her a piercing sad–eyed look. "You
can't save them all, you know."
At the familiar argument, Regina met her gaze, eyes hot,
and repeated what she always said in response. "Maybe not.
But I can save some."
Irene sighed. "I'll pick you up in the morning, then. Be
safe, my friend."
Regina kissed her friend on both cheeks, did the same
for Eduardo, and then headed out before she caved in to
Irene's pleading. The wind hacked through the slums, and
Regina hunched farther into her threadbare coat, determined
to ignore everything but the task at hand. Especially the
She shifted her grasp on the heavy basket and kept her
eyes fixed on the barrel of burning trash ahead.
Automatically avoiding open sewers and billowing
newspapers, she followed the dancing flames like a ship to
a lighthouse. Odd that both lights warned of danger, yet
Regina tightened her scarf and snorted. Here on the
streets, safety was an illusion, a wish unfulfilled. How
many nights had she and Irene spent just like these street
children, huddled around a barrel, protecting their right
to be there by clutching a switchblade in a shaking fist?
They would probably be dead if not for Noah Anderson, who
had done exactly what Regina would do tonight. What she and
Irene had done together for years.
But everything had changed. Irene planned to take
Eduardo to Florida and leave Regina to run the orphanage
alone. Her throat tightened, so she stepped up her pace,
shoving self–pity roughly away. She had a job to do
tonight. The children were cold and hungry and she could
help—at least a little. Keep them safe, God, please.
Regina knew the exact moment the children caught the
scent of meat pastry, for suddenly a swarm of children
surrounded her, shouting, "Senhorita Anjo, um pastel, um
Regina smiled warmly, though she still couldn't get used
to being called Miss Angel, even after four years as
co–director of House of Angels.
The crowd surged, pressing close, but Regina's willowy
height worked to her advantage. "Hello, children. Fernando,
Stephan, back up and let the little ones closer." Regina
gently pulled the smaller children toward her, trying not
to think about just how young they really were. Could
Christiane be more than five? Already her beautiful brown
eyes held dull acceptance, the understanding that life
would never get any better than this—that hopes and
dreams were for other, richer children.
Suddenly, the skin on the back of Regina's neck
prickled, and she stopped dead on the cracked sidewalk.
Someone was watching her. Again. She hugged one of the
children as she scanned the street, but saw nothing out of
place, no one who didn't belong. Yet there was someone
there, someone with evil in mind. Every street child knew
what that meant. If you were smart, you ran and hid.
Even fifteen years later, Regina's flight instincts
screamed just that. But she wouldn't. Couldn't. The
children needed her. She fingered her switchblade and
looked back, relieved to see old Jorge in the beat–up
orphanage van, lumbering slowly up the cobbled street
behind her. The groundskeeper had packed an extra box of
blankets, in case the thermometer dropped sharply tonight.
And he carried his own knife—just in case. Jorge
clambered down from the van and opened the back doors.
"Go get a blanket, children. Fernando, where is the
one I gave you yesterday?"
The instant the words left her mouth, Regina wanted to
call them back. The twelve–year–old hung his
head in shame and shrugged, telling her without words that
someone had taken it from him and he hadn't been able to
stop them. "Go get another. It is all right," she said
gently, trying to spare his pride.
"Thank you, Senhorita Angel," he said, but instead of
heading toward the line forming behind the van, he
disappeared into the shadows.
Regina tried to call him back, but snapped her attention
to the basket when one of the newer boys tried to make off
with two pastries. "One," she said firmly, holding his thin
wrist until he let go.
Within moments, the meat pastries were gone, the
blankets dispersed, and she'd sent at least ten children to
the van for a ride to the orphanage. If she could have fit
more pallets into the dining hall, Regina would have
scooped up more children. And still, the crowd grew bigger
than it had been before.
"Senhorita Angel," a voice shouted.
Whirling around, Regina saw Fernando running toward her.
Panting, he skidded to a stop. "You must come, now. Please."
Regina didn't hesitate. Before she reached the van,
Jorge had started the engine and handed her medical bag
through the window. He motioned her forward and prepared to
"Let's go," she said, and smiled when Fernando grabbed
her bag before galloping off. She couldn't be sure if this
was his attempt at gallantry, or a way to make sure she
kept up with his punishing pace. As she ran down narrow
alleys and grim little streets, Regina prepared to put the
nurse's training she'd received in the US to instant use.
She prayed it would be enough. Too often, though, what
little she could offer came years too late.
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