More Than Angels: Once Upon a Lifetime
By Ruby Moon-Houldson
Thia's Back! And she's better than Ever!
In her sequel, More Than Angels: Once Upon a Lifetime, Ruby-Moon Houldson has once again given us an unforgettable story. With a mixture of self-help, a lot of romance and plenty of action, Houldson masterfully combines each component into another must-read winner. If you haven't already read More Than Angels: Once Upon a Broken Heart, I recommend you get them both and start at the beginning!
Thia is now a happily married mother of two children. She is also the leading FBI agent in her locale and has now begun training new recruits, two of whom she takes under her wing once they had committed to becoming the best agents they can be. Thia married her dream hero of her childhood, Colin Manning, an actor who'd starred as Basalt in a television program that had played an immense and dramatic role in Thia's early life. (I think all of we Trekkies now know who Colin actually played! Hey, who didn't become personally interested in the actors on this wonderful show?)
Thia has been lead agent working to break a major child slavery ring and has been personally instrumental in finding a number of the children in various hideouts. As a psychologist, Thia then takes on a dual role. She is not only the agent in charge; she also becomes the first professional with whom the children bond and discuss what had happened to them. Thia is well prepared to work through the pain and fear of each child; however, each new session places a heavy toll on her as she is pulled back into her own childhood of painful physical and sexual abuse.
Once Upon a Lifetime chronicles the work of Thia and her team as they follow the clues and information gathered regarding the major
boss, the head of the child slavery ring. At the same time readers are privy to glimpses, flashbacks, of Thia's abused life, as she fought off the physical abuse of her father against her and her siblings, as well as the sexual abuse from her father's boss, as he visited and molested his "best girl."
As readers learn of what has happened to the enslaved children as well as what had transpired in Thia's early life, it is not surprising to understand that all of this also played havoc with her roles as wife and mother. Thia dearly loves Colin, but his need to now be her protector, to keep her from danger, even pressing Thia to resign her job, the life she had developed and had excelled with, clearly puts a strain on Colin, to the point of his resenting the role model, Basalt, who had lived in Thia's heart and mind even longer than he had. At the same time, Thia finds herself being over-protective of her son, not even wanting him to ride the school bus. Struggling with the terror of knowing what could "possibly" happen to her children drives Thia further and further into a deep depression that results in aggressive as well as risky actions on the job.
Inasmuch as the popular show continues to bring Colin together with his fellow actors, we meet the characters in the show as individuals who continued as friends to both Colin and Thia and who now provide the emotional support and guidance to both of them as they struggle through a difficult time in their marriage.
Interestingly, Thia moves closer and closer to solving the child slavery ring case through revelations that have been brought back into her memory. And with capturing the ringleader, she not only closes the case, but also once again finds herself, as she is able to confront the monsters of her past and rid herself of their influence.
The author has used vivid imagery in creating this story. While it results in an authentic and realistic story, it is also one that is adult-level in my opinion. I have therefore chosen not to include details of her work with the children in finding and capturing those deeply involved or in sharing the flashbacks about the terror through which she and her siblings went through.
Some of this is based upon a true story; some of it is fiction. It is unimportant which is which. What is important is that the author has shared an amazing part of her life with her readers and has highlighted how a television program, based upon integrity and courage was influential in a young child's life. It is a lesson that should be considered by parents as they help their own children choose what they watch on television.
The author has excellent writing skills that ensure her flashbacks fit well within her story, without disrupting the overall activities in the present. Though much of the narrative is sensitive and horrifying, it is presented in a way that ensures that the children involved are helped and successfully moving forward to overcome the traumatic events in their lives.
With so much child abuse happening in the world, I consider these books must-reads for all parents and interested adults!