Monday, August 31, 2015

BIB 5+ Review: Coming 9/10- Verspertine by Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn

Title: Vespertine

Author: Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn

Publisher/GR LinkGR, Ledra

Genre: MM Contemporary

Vice: Rock stars, priests, reconciliation

Rating: 5* out of 5 Banned in Boston

Lock this book up: 3 keys.  The sex is SO hot and so worth the slow burn.

Length: Novel

Satisfaction: HEA

Cover Impressions: Gorgeous!

Best Line: “I always loved you.  I can’t even pretend that I loved God more.”

Synopsis: Can a priest and a rock star obey love's call?

Seventeen years ago, Jasper Hendricks and Nicholas Blumfeld's childhood friendship turned into a secret, blissful love affair. They spent several idyllic months together until Jasper's calling to the Catholic priesthood became impossible to ignore. Left floundering, Nicky followed his own trajectory into rock stardom, but he never stopped looking back.

Today, Jasper pushes boundaries as an out, gay priest, working hard to help vulnerable LGBTQ youth. He's determined to bring change to the church and the world. Respected, admired, and settled in his skin, Jasper has long ignored his loneliness.

As Nico Blue, guitarist and songwriter for the band Vespertine, Nicky owns the hearts of millions. He and his bandmates have toured the world, lighting their fans on fire with their music. Numbed by drugs and fueled by simmering anger, Nicky feels completely alone. When Vespertine is forced to get sober, Nicky returns home to where it all started.

Jasper and Nicky's careers have ruled their lives since they parted as teens. When they come face to face again, they must choose between the past's lingering ghosts or the promise of a new future.

Impressions:  There was so much in this book to recommend it, and I know it will be on my short Banned in Boston list of books that I will reread over and over again.  It is just a very special story with two very special MCs.

I went to a Jesuit university, and as a young LGBT leader on campus, I expected to have an adversarial relationship with the members of the clergy.  What surprised me was not only how supportive they were, but that several of them were gay- and openly so.  Like Jasper, they made a commitment to their beliefs, and they had no problems balancing their own identities with their calling.  As I got to know some of these men, and even befriended one of them, I found this complexity of identity to be so interesting.  I had left the Catholic church shortly after arriving on campus, but I have the utmost respect for people who balanced two important pieces of themselves without compromising others.

That being said, Jasper is a great character in this complexity that he embodies.  I thought I would find any religion challenging to see beyond in this novel, but that was not at all the case.  Jasper is sincere in his commitment to God and in his love for Nicky, and I admired that there were no easy answers in this novel that required him to ignore who he was and what he believed.

Nicky is such a broken young man, and he so desperately wants to be healed.  He carries the marks of Jasper in his heart and on his skin, and sometimes he broke my heart.  He is a raw character, and his hurt is right at the surface, and I found him to be utterly captivating.

Beyond the fascinating look at religion and attachment issues, this was, at its heart, an amazing and raw love story.  As is only fitting given the characters, there is a slow build to the sex, but when it hits the page, it was remarkable.  This book kept me up into the night and it lingers in my mind days after it was done.  I feel like Nicky and Jasper are there on their island, and I can’t help but wait to see the amazing journey their love is taking.

There is an excellent collection of secondary characters, and the plot is engaging and well paced.

Don’t miss this excellent read.  Carve out some time on 9/10 because Nicky and Jasper have a lot to share with you. 

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