Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Search Angel by Tish Cohen, reviewed by Michelle Warner

HarperCollins Canada, 315 pp; $15.19 trade paperback or $13.99 Kobo ebook here.

When I started The Search Angel, I knew this was going to be a book I could not put down. The prologue is an emotional tsunami, and chapter one hits the ground running.

The central character is named Eleanor Sweet. She owns Boston’s best baby shop, but is unable to have a baby of her own. Although we enter the story after the Sweets have been approved for an adoption, it quickly becomes clear that this situation has put a strain on her marriage. The tone quickly turns from joy to frayed nerves and remains that way until the heart-warming end.

After her husband walks out, Eleanor makes the decision to adopt by herself. If that wasn’t enough stress, she must also deal with her new and very loud neighbour, a nearly useless shop assistant, and a depressed dog (he misses Eleanor’s feckless husband). This is a story with multiple layers and that is what makes it artful and enjoyable.

Eleanor, adopted herself, finally decides to search out her birth mother. In doing so, she meets Isabelle, a search angel.

As we follow Eleanor through this major upheaval in her life, she learns things she never wanted to know about herself. Her personality, quirks and emotions are all on display. She’s mercurial and disheveled, almost a child herself.

Tish Cohen’s greatest success here is in creating Eleanor. You will want to laugh with her, cry with her and rage with her. This is no perfectly put-together heroine. She’s flawed and you’ll love her for it.
Tish Cohen is also the author of two young adult books: Switch and The One and Only Zoe Lama, and of Town House. A finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best First Book Award (Canada and Caribbean region) in 2008, Town House is currently in development as a feature film with Fox 2000.

Quick Brown Fox welcomes book reviews and other book related pieces. Quick Brown Fox also welcomes reviews of plays, movies, restaurants or anything else you get up to. Right now, I’d especially love a review of The Purchase by Linda Spalding. If you have questions or a review to submit, email me at

Michelle Warner lives and works in Toronto. She spends a lot of her time with her nose buried in a book. She has always liked a good story and is working on improving her creative writing skills. In the past, she has contributed food reviews to an online magazine and continues to blog irregularly about everything and anything here.

See Brian Henry's schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Bolton, Caledon, Georgetown, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Orillia, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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