(Pretty cover... nothing to do with the story, but pretty.)
Proof of Angels was ok, but not great. I don't think I'm going to be telling friends & coworkers that they need to go read this now. It's kind of a genre-defying book, too. The title mentions angels, and the plot is set up when the main character, Sean, prays in a moment of distress, but then there's cursing and none of the characters go to church. There's also no extramarital sex, so I guess it's "clean" in that department. Sometimes the characters talk to each other about redemption and all, but I don't really remember hardly any mention of God.
The plot itself would make a fantastic Lifetime or Christian movie. Remember that movie Fireproof from 2004? Proof of Angels also stars a firefighter! Sean is a tough guy who has built up walls in his life to protect himself from getting hurt. He ran from NYC to LA after the death of a beloved nephew and took up firefighting and surfing. While in a burning building, he calls out to God to save him, sees an angel, is saved, and sees the whole experience as a second chance to make things right with a girl he hurt over a decade before.
The book has everything you'd expect in this type of book: multiple characters who have overcome addictions or past sins to get where they are today. Romances. Everyone gets redeemed. This isn't terrible; it's the perfect "comfort" read. Like mac'n'cheese for your brain. And I did get a few warm fuzzies when Sean is able to overcome great odds to get to certain achievements.
In fact, Proof of Angels may be just a little too comfortable. Mary Curran Hackett doesn't seem to trust us readers to "get it." There is a lot of telling over showing. The characters will have long conversations that feel totally unnatural in order to convey feelings or relay past events. Or there would be a long passage where Sean would "reflect" on things in order to convey feelings.
Overall, I give the book 2 of 5 stars. On Goodreads, this is "it was ok." I didn't struggle to get through it. It was a solid novel. It just wasn't my book. It was a little too cushy and predictable.
*I received my copy of Proof of Angels from the publisher, HarperCollins. I did not receive payment in exchange for my fair review.