By Rhonda Johnson
Updated August 15, 1997 at 04:00 AM EDT

Revived by an upcoming Miramax film version, this 1936 novel by Kate O’Brien offers a rare glimpse of Irish Catholic feminism. Banned in Ireland for its straightforward portrayal of lesbianism (not to mention unrepentant adultery and female independence), this semi-autobiographical story features a provincial young woman who spends a year as a governess in pre-civil war Spain after her fiance postpones their marriage. In Talk of Angels, Mary Lavelle opens herself up to Spain, learning the language, attending a bullfight, and ultimately falling in love with the married eldest son of her aristocratic employer — experiences that will make it impossible for her to return to the life of a dutiful Irish Catholic wife. B+

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