The Belief in Angels
A Novel by J. Dylan Yates
She Writes Press April 2014
The Belief in Angels by J. Dylan Yates
A gripping, heart-rending family saga that explores the darkest side of human nature—and the incontrovertible, uplifting power of hope.
Jules Finn and Samuel Trautman know that sorrow can sink deeply—so deeply it can drown the spirit. In The Belief in Angels, by J. Dylan Yates, these two wounded souls—one struggling to survive her childhood with her sanity intact, the other haunted by memories from his past—must decide: surrender to the grief that threatens to destroy them, or find the strength to swim for the surface.
Growing up in a volatile hippie household on a tiny island off the coast of Boston, Jules’s imaginative sense of humor is the weapon she wields as a defense against the chaos of her family’s household. But somewhere between gun-waving gambling debt collectors and LSD-laced breakfast cereal adventures, her younger brother Moses dies—and it’s a blow from which Jules may never fully recover.
Jules’s grandfather, Samuel, wants to help his grandchildren, but he’s wrapped up in a sad story of his own. Once called Szaja, Samuel is an orthodox Jew who lived through the murderous Ukranian pogroms of the 1920s, as well as the Majdanek Death Camp—but his survival came at an unspeakable price.
In their darkest moments, Jules and Samuel receive what could only be explained as divine intervention—serendipitous experiences that give them each the hope they so desperately need. Ultimately, however, they both must look inside themselves for the courage to come to the rescue of their own fractured lives.
Vividly drawn and breathtakingly insightful, The Belief in Angels is a beautiful, heartbreaking exploration of human nature at its worst—and its best.
About the Author
Raised on a tiny, New England peninsula, in Hull, MA., J. Dylan Yates pursued her BFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
The Belief in Angels, Yates’s debut novel, was written over the course of many years while she attempted a number of BFA-related jobs, including: waitressing, teaching, corporate training, directing, acting, producing, real estate, nursing, interior design, library science, parenting and reluctant housewifery.
Yates’s next novel, Szaja’s Story, focused on the character created in The Belief in Angels, invites the reader back to the Ukrainian orchards of Szaja Trautman’s tragic childhood, tracing his ultimate journey to America via the desperate Ukranian refugee work camps of the ’20s, his amazing survival of both the Majdanek death camp and the torpedoing of refugees aboard the Mefkura, and his fascinating experiences in the post-war Parisian couture houses.
Prior to publication, The Belief in Angels won the Alexis Masters Scholarship Award at the February 2012 San Francisco Writers Conference as well as a Los Angeles Book Festival Award.
Yates worked with Boulder County’s Voices for Children program as a CASA volunteer for 15 years and now volunteers as a mentor with the Girls Rising program in San Diego. She lives in San Diego with her partner and a talking cat.
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