I’m so conflicted right now. The first two books in this series blew me away. I was so overwhelmed by all the feels it wasn’t even funny. But this third installment… I don’t know what to think.
But first, I must be clear about that no matter my feelings (which are all over the place at the moment), this is a very well-written story with the most engaging of topics. And it’s steamy like you wouldn’t believe (maybe even too much so).
Also, I’m totally in love with the cover. It’s gorgeous in an I’d-love-to-hang-it-on-my-wall kind of way.
Synopsis: Luke, a pastor in the megachurch Evermore, has come out as gay and is openly dating Vance. But Luke’s struggling. Both with self acceptance and with bigotry from within and outside of his church. And he’s terrified that Vance will be hurt, again, because of him. Vance on the other hand fears that it will all be too much, that Luke will give up on them.
So, this story, addressing the topic of religion and homosexuality (or any queerness really) is probably pretty darn controversial to some people. Being non-religious myself, I don’t have any such hang-ups but even so, the sheer amount of fucking these guys engage in – in the church – is a bit over the top. It’s so excessive in fact, throughout the book, that it gets old pretty fast. Maybe because it’s repetitive. Maybe because Vance and Luke both have the stamina like 18-year olds on Viagra. Maybe it’s simply that all that D action detracts from the story. And also happens at the strangest of times. Like, when Luke’s mother comes to visit their new baby for the first time, Luke drags Vance off to a closet to fuck him. Or, when Vance and the baby are assaulted, and he calls Luke afterwards, it turns to dirty talk instead of Luke checking that Vance and Eden are okay.
I thought that Luke’s internal struggle, and coming out as gay pastor was intriguing as all get out. Unfortunately, despite mostly all of V’s and PL’s conversations touching on this subject, the focus was still on their physical relationship. And for all the controversy and supposed outrage from people within the church and the Christian community, the story was still told in a way that pretty much kept Vance and Luke in a bubble of their own. The interactions with other people were few and superficial. Most of it was off-page and re-told instead of shown. Towards the end, there were more actual interactions though, and more characters were introduced. But for a long time, Vance and Luke were completely isolated, despite the story trying to paint them as being beleaguered.
But. I mean, I have all these reservations. Despite that, this story still gave me all the feels. ALL the feels. Which is really what books are all about. So I think I’ll carry this story with me for a long time, just as I did (do) with its prequels Worship and Adore.
So, I’m giving this a 4-star rating. But I highly recommend it. Just be prepared for an inordinate amount of fucking.