Victoria Mary Clarke was very, very unhappy. After years of the rock'n'roll lifestyle, she found herself exhausted and sick of living someone else's life. She was broke, nearly forty, and had split with her long-term partner, Pogues front man Shane MacGowan.

She was in a mess when she sat down with the unusual aim of writing a letter to an angel to check if there was one available to help her get back on track. Lucky for Victoria, her angels showed up and through their sage and regular advice they salvaged her life. They even helped her to quit smoking.

Although the angels don't appear floating around the place, Victoria has long conversations with them throughout the book, and they always dispense sensible advice.

'Angel in Disguise?' is really a non-fiction book and Clarke is a maze of contradictions in her everyday life which manage to come across as disarming and entertaining, and only occasionally annoy. She counts Kate Moss, Pete Doherty, Bono and Johnny Depp among her true friends - but yet she is still a total wannabe celebrity.

She feels that she looks fabulous some days, even being pictured next to Naomi Campbell she reckons she comes out all right.And then other days she hates everything about her appearance and goes rather hard on herself over her weight. She has a penchant for the simple life and is happy living on yoga and lentils. Yet dangle a Gucci bag in front of her and she goes wild.

The angels point out the errors of her ways and as she starts to implement their advice her life starts to pick up.

'Angel in Disguise?' details her journey from despair, when she was living in a grotty bedsit, to her finding a job she loves and existing in a much nicer environment in her own head.  

Since the book was written Clarke has re-linked up with McGowan and they are due to be married in September.

I started this book thinking "this girl believes in angels, what a nutter," and finished it with real reluctance.

Although a glowing endorsement from Kate Moss on the cover may put off some readers, this is still a great read. It may be about angels, but Victoria Mary Clarke is about as down to earth as you can get. An entertaining self-help book.

Mary McCarthy

Buy 'Angel in Disguise?' from the RTÉ eShop here.