Cover image for California angel
California angel
Publication Information:
New York : Dutton, c1995.
Physical Description:
viii, 263 p. ; 21 cm.
While hospitalized with heart trouble, a school teacher has out-of-body experiences, during which she saves children from fire, abuse and abduction. But that is not how the police see it, they have films of her present at some of these events and they are accusing her of arson and kidnaping.
Geographic Term:


Material Type
Shelf Number
Item Notes
Book PS3568.O7876C35 1995 1 .SOURCE. Ing.,43046,2/95

On Order

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

A departure for thriller writer Rosenberg, this is a warmhearted story of divine intervention and angelic miracles in the lives of troubled children. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus Review

Veering off the fast track of vigilante police thrillers, Rosenberg (Mitigating Circumstances, 1992, etc.) spins a cloying tale of supernatural do-gooding. Wispy, nurturing Toy Johnson, a schoolteacher to ruffian kids in Santa Ana, Calif., champions the underprivileged; she is especially fond of children (the sicker the better), not only because she has the empathy of a martyr, but because she and her wealthy but selfish doctor husband, Stephen, are infertile. Toy went into cardiac arrest once in her youth, so her system is delicate. When she finally leaves her insensitive spouse, the strain prompts another cardiac episode while she is visiting Manhattan. A friend brings her to the hospital, and the perturbed Stephen jets to her bedside, but Toy, feeling much better once conscious, escapes to the streets of New York, where she has a narcoleptic attack. When she awakens in the hospital, she is furious to find that a pacemaker has been installed. She fears the device will prevent her from saving the lives of needy children-- you see, during her near-death experiences, Toy has been magically transported to the sides of kids around the country in crises (autism, kidnapping, etc.) from which she rescues them. Nobody believes her, of course: Her husband thinks she is batty, and the police, who have captured Toy on videotape saving a child from a fire, accuse her of arson and kidnapping. The kids she has rescued band together for a courtroom climax in the treacly format of a second-rate made-for-TV movie. Rosenberg, whose strength in past books has been her confrontation of violence and unpleasantness, here goes out of her way to be nice, and the button-pushing righteousness for which she is also known doesn't work in a story that utterly lacks conflict. Her loyal readers will likely jump ship. (Literary Guild featured alternate selection; author tour)

Booklist Review

Rosenberg, who is known for her best-selling crime novels, including Mitigating Circumstances (1992), heads heavenward in a book that can only be described as a cross between Judith Krantz and Og Mandino. Toy Johnson is a schoolteacher who takes her students to her heart, so much so that she often gives them money (much to the disgust of her surgeon husband). In her dreams, Toy does even more, and she specifically remembers visiting one autistic boy and opening his world to relative normality. But this is no dream, because Raymond is that boy, now a young artist, and his paintings are filled with images of the red-haired woman in the California Angels T-shirt. When Toy goes to New York with a friend, her nocturnal visits to young children come more frequently, and soon Toy begins to realize they are more than dreams. Of course, in the modern world, no good deed goes unpunished. Toy's aid to children in trouble is noticed, and Toy is branded as a child abuser. There's no doubt that Rosenberg knows how to spin a yarn, but she really does go over the top here, culminating with Toy's fatal heart attack (every child-visiting dream is precipitated by a mild heart glitch). The heavenly host is pleased by her arrival in heaven: "We've been a little shorthanded in California lately. Not enough good prospects applying for the job. . . . If things don't get better soon, the Boss might get really angry. But that's okay. You're going to do real good, Toy." Like Toy herself, the book has its heart in the right place, but at least a few readers will probably wind up giggling rather than weeping. (Reviewed December 15, 1994)0525939458Ilene Cooper

Library Journal Review

An inspirational novel about a woman with miraculous powers? That's quite a switch from the prolific author of thrillers like Mitigating Circumstances. A Literary Guild featured alternate. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.