The Angel Makers

By: Jessica Gregson
Subject Matter: Women; Hungary; Self-realization in women; World War; 1914-1918; Women murderers
Rating: 3/5

The Angel Makers

You guys. Maybe it’s just that I’m in the process of reading an Alice Munro collection so everything else doesn’t seem to be measuring up, but I’m just feeling really blah about this book.

The Angel Makers is a novel by Jessica Gregson, as you can tell from the cover above. What I somehow failed to notice until literally after I had finished was that it is BASED ON A TRUE STORY.

Which kind of turns everything on its head.

I read this book in like 24 hours. I was visiting my grandmother (another avid reader) and told her I didn’t really want to read because the book I brought with me was too heavy and I just wasn’t feeling it. So she brought out a selection of 8 or 9 books she had recently read and let me choose. I chose this one because the back of the book starts out, “When the men of a remote Hungarian village go off to war in 1916, the women left behind realize their lives are much better without them.”


I was sold.

But don’t be fooled – this book is about some serious shit. The Angel Makers of Hungary are a real thing. These were women who, as their husbands started to return from the war, realized they would rather go back to the way life was while they were gone and straight up poisoned them. Arsenic.

It’s pretty good. The main character Sari is sympathetic, and her story is fascinating. There’s a bunch of love stories going on, and honestly, the love stories were better than the real plot. Which, for a true crime junkie like me, that’s staying something. Something not so great about the plot.

Which seems crazy to say. Obviously the plot was good! I mean, how could it not be? But it wasn’t as good as it could have been.

Ya know?




Have you read The Angel Makers? Here are some similar reads:

(for books about domestic abuse)

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

(for books about strong young women)

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

(for more by Gregson)

The Ice Cream Army by Jessica Gregson


Coming up:

Family Furnishings by Alice Munro

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Rejected Princesses by Jason Porath

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