Angel Baby by Julia Simone is a heartfelt romance.
Detective Gabriel Gates and Angie Engelbert are from very different worlds. Angie, a daughter of a wealthy ambassador comes from old money and she’s not yet twenty. Gabriel, a New York police detective, knows how rough life can be for the average guy. Can the two put aside their differences and be together?
Julia Simone has packed her contemporary romance with tension, ups and downs, mistakes, and quirky and memorable characters. Angie is a math nerd, and by the time she meets Gabriel, she has already graduated from Harvard with a mathematics degree. Considering her intelligence is off the charts, it’s not surprising to the reader that she’s socially awkward to the point of failing miserably on simple tasks such as buying basic groceries or being introduced to someone new. Her awkwardness, though, comes across as adorable when she says thing like this:
I am powerless at the mercy of my body’s chemical reactions—what you’d call emotions.
Staying true to her nerdy side makes Angie endearing to the reader. It shows her vulnerability and authenticity. And it also allows for comic relief from best friend Tiffany, who’s known Angie for years. Tiffany also comes from a rich family, but she isn’t in the same league as Angie when it comes to intellectual matters. Her specialty is men. Angie seeks her help and Tiffany, while her heart is in the right place, continues to provide Angie with truly awful advice, making for humorous reading.
This is your time to let go because your brain is cramping your body and your heart. Be stupid, Angie.
Gabriel is older, and if not wiser, certainly knows what he wants in terms of a relationship – but he is confused with Angie. He’s dominant and finds himself being stern, and can’t help but want to take control of Angie’s naive and chaotic thinking with discipline. His colleagues are out to tease him when she starts taking a shine given her age, and he certainly resents that to begin with. He wrestles with the age gap and their varying backgrounds for some time before settling on the concept of taking over the situation with some police-style sexual action, something somewhat initiated with a dumb move on Angie’s part when she ends up in his jail cell for the night, and handcuffs come into play.
While these aspects of the book might strike some readers as a bit of a trope and have Gabriel painted as a macho sexist, that’s kind of the point as they play out their fantasy roles in a stilted play between lovers. This is a certain sort of romance genre that has seen many successful novels in its wake, and Angel Baby plays to those strengths.
Angie is a fantastic character, and the reader will want to see her grow. Will she overcome all her obstacles and find happiness? While this book definitely is a niche theme in its genre, it’s certainly a popular one that should find a readership who will cheer for Angie and look forward to more in the future.