Angel and Apostle
|25 October 2005|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
|Pages||304 pp (first edition, hardback)|
|ISBN||1-932961-10-0 (first edition, hardback)|
|LC Class||PZ7.N96157 Ang 2005|
|Preceded by||The Scarlet Letter|
Angel and Apostle is a novel written by Deborah Noyes and published in 2005. It is often viewed as a sequel to The Scarlet Letter, a novel by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne, but it is more like a companion due to the overlap of events between the novels.
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The story begins with Hester and Pearl in their cabin in the woods. The reader learns that Hester has little discipline for her child, and Pearl runs wild and free most of the time doing as little work as possible. Pearl frequently visits a blind boy named Simon who lives in a house close to her own. They become friends, and Hester lets Pearl help out Liza, the caretaker of Simon’s sickly mother, with the chores around Simon’s house. However, Pearl has been stigmatized as the child of "the temptress," and this reputation follows her everywhere. She isn’t fazed by this until Simon begins repeating things that his older brother told him about Hester. This makes Pearl feel horrible, and she runs away to the graveyard to visit the grave of Simon’s mother who died shortly after Pearl started helping out around the house. She talks to the minister who always has his hand over his heart until Doctor Devlin comes. Pearl runs back to her mother, and Hester tells her that the doctor is a "devil." One night Governor Winthrop lay dying, and Hester was called upon to tend to him. Pearl ran away from the Governor’s mansion, and she found Devlin standing on the scaffold. He invites Pearl up until the minister, Arthur, comes and takes Devlin away.
Pearl continues to strengthen her relationship with Simon, and at one point Nehemiah, Simon’s only brother, gives his blessing to the friendship when he lets Pearl take Simon to the beach. However, Pearl soon learns that Simon and his family are moving back to London, and Hester and she are moving to Holland to be with her mother’s relatives. Pearl was supposed to leave the night of Election Day, but instead Arthur the minister collapses and eventually dies. Hester is blamed for this and put in the stocks thus preventing any escape by sea. Doctor Devlin comes to taunt Hester for what she has done. He even asks her if the minister fathered the child because of her reaction to his death. Hester remains defiant and doesn’t give in to him. However, Hester gets extremely depressed when she arrives home, and Pearl is forced to bring Simon’s dad, Mr. Milton and Doctor Devlin to help Hester. Hester agrees to travel on Milton’s boat to England, and she also agrees to a seven-year work contract with Milton’s sister.
Hester and Pearl work with Milton’s sister until Pearl turns eighteen. Pearl receives the news that Devlin gave her property in England and New England. She sells the English property and purchases a home in the English countryside where Nehemiah and she get married. Pearl and Nehemiah argue about Simon’s welfare, and Pearl takes it upon herself to improve Simon’s quality of life. In the meantime Caleb Milton, the father, and Liza both die so Pearl is in charge of running the household now. Simon reveals his lust for Pearl, and the two of them have sex while Nehemiah is away. Pearl becomes pregnant, and at first she claims the child to be Nehemiah’s, but he soon learns the truth. Nehemiah indirectly killed Simon for doing this because he caused Simon to commit suicide. This was covered up, and Pearl grieved for a long time.
Her child, Abigail, was sent to live with Mag, her servant, in London with Nehemiah. The plague that ravaged London was over soon, and both Nehemiah and Pearl moved back to London with Abigail who refuses to speak to love Pearl or call her "mother." While in London Pearl learns that Nehemiah has cheated on her many times with Mag while drunk. He later goes on to have an affair with the widow of a general in the English army. Pearl doesn’t know how to feel about this until Doctor Devlin comes. He explains the entire story of her conception to Pearl, and he gives her the scarlet “A” that her mother wore. Soon afterward London has a great fire and burns all of Nehemiah’s trading goods. Pearl lets Nehemiah leave her for someone with fewer traumas which he does. Pearl and Devlin leave with Abigail for New England to make a new life.
Pearl - the illegitimate child of Hester, wife of Nehemiah, and mother of Abigail. She is the main character.
Hester - the mother of Pearl who is forced by law to wear a scarlet "A" on her chest because she committed adultery
Doctor Devlin - the physician for the local minister and the man who had sex with Hester and claims to be the father of Pearl
Liza - the servant of Caleb Milton, the father of Simon and Nehemiah. She is Pearl's friend.
Simon - a blind boy whom Pearl befriends. She moves to England with him and eventually has sex with him. He is the father of Abigail.
Nehemiah - the older brother of Simon whom Pearl marries. He is a merchant like his father.
Mag - the servant of Pearl and Nehemiah in London who had an affair with Nehemiah.
Mary Whippe of mostlyfiction.com gave a positive review, saying "Noyes imbues her debut novel with energy and literary weight, continuing Pearl's story while remaining faithful to the original which inspired it. Her ability to include period detail and to reproduce the religious beliefs and practices of the period give additional credence to her story, and the character of Pearl is free-spirited enough to strike a chord with modern readers" and finished by saying "pacing parallels that of Hawthorne, and her exploration of behavior as a series of good acts or acts inspired by the Devil is consistent with his. Lovers of literary novels will admire Noyes's thoughtful reconstruction of a period and its beliefs. Her care in reproducing the language and style of the period are extraordinary, and her development of the character of Pearl shows the emotional tensions inherent in a life lived under a theocracy". Jill Grinberg of Publisher Weekly also complimented the book by saying "engages with atmospheric charms of time and place, and though the major turns of the novel are predictable, she delivers an ending revelation that would surprise Hawthorne himself". Kate Ayers of ReadingGroupGuides.com gave another positive review, saying "While a dark tale, sad and poignant, it is a tale of ultimate enlightenment". Victoria . Brownworth of the Chicago Tribune said "[the book] is an accomplished novel, stylistically sharp and metaphorically keen".
- "Book Reviews: Hester: The Missing Years of the The Scarlet Letter by Paula Reed, and Angel and Apostle by Deborah Noyes". blogcritics.com. February 15, 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "November 16, 2006". mostlyfiction.com. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "Angel and Apostle". publishersweekly.com. August 22, 2005. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "Angel And Apostle". ReadingGroupGuides.com. December 22, 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "A praiseworthy sequel to Hawthorne's `Scarlet Letter'". chicagotribune.com. November 20, 2005. Retrieved August 25, 2015.