Even though Radiant is from both Angela’s and Clara’s POVs, this short story really belongs to Angela. We learn some of her back story (which includes an interesting incident involving Christian) and a bit about her insecurities, and we finally get some details about her secret summer boyfriend, the mysterious Phen. Her loud, boisterous family is hilarious, and her Nonna gives the best advice:
“‘You must beware the handsome ones,’ she says, and makes a tsking noise with her tongue. ‘Pretty face, rotten soul. Watch out for those. Those boys no good for you. Those boys will get you in plenty of trouble.’ Turns out, she’s not wrong.”
Angela and I share a fascination with old churches, so I loved reading that she visited those that were filled with the corpses of the saints. Her visit to the church in Milan was a favorite part of mine because of the vivid details she provided about the fresco on the ceiling and the man she saw standing under it.
“I had a thing for churches back then; I suppose I still do. They’re so quiet most of the time, a quiet that’s different from anyplace else, cool and peaceful and contemplative in their very nature.”
And while that visit was quite enjoyable, it was even more gratifying to read about her first meeting with Phen and all the rendezvous that followed in the museums, churches, cafes, the Coliseum, and of course …. his flat.
“‘Beautiful,’ he murmured, and I knew that he was talking about more than the song. He was gazing at me like I was a butterfly trapped in his net, like he was tempted to pin me up behind glass even though he knew he should let me fly away.”
“‘Ti voglio baciare,’ I said. I want to kiss you.”
Though I was intrigued by Angela and Phen, I was also worried about poor Clara. With the ending of Hallowed, I’ve been nursing my broken heart, so it’s no surprise that she has been nursing hers, but Clara is tough and not without her humor:
“I’m the last person qualified to lecture someone else about affairs of the heart. I’m the poster girl for the it’s complicated relationship status on Facebook.”
I was more than ready for Boundless after I read Hallowed, but this novella -- along with the delicious sneak peek of Boundless at the end -- not only has me on the edge of my seat with anticipation, but also has left me with some suspicions and a couple of theories about the friendship between these two girls and, most importantly, Tucker and Christian. January can’t come soon enough!
Note: I’ve mentioned in the past that I don’t agree with some novellas (especially those that are only around 20 pages) being sold for $2.99 or more. I’m very pleased that the price for Radiant is $1.99 - very fair for a story that is roughly 76 pages, including the novella and the sneak peek of Boundless.