Marc reviews Vespertine by Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn. The book was published on September 7th, 2015 and is about 400 pages long.
RGR received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This week, reviewers at Rainbow Gold Reviews were asked to pick books for eachother they thought the other reviewer might enjoy. I picked ‘Three’ by R.J. Scott for Eloreen, because I knew she would appreciate a short book, loves M/M/M books and R.J. Scott is one of my favorite authors. Dana picked Vespertine for me, because she had read and loved it and thought I would enjoy it. The first thing I noticed was the length. 400 pages. Yikes. I’m not the fastest reader and we only had a single week to read. However, I’m glad Dana chose this book, because I really loved it. Given that I couldn’t put it down, the length wasn’t much of a problem, either. I was able to read 200 pages a day and had the book finished after only two days.
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. WhenVespertine 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.
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Time was cruel in a way, because no matter what anyone wished, there was no way of knowing if turning back the clock would lead somewhere different, or if that place would be a better one.
After two years of reviewing books on RGR, Dana knows me pretty well and I’m glad she picked this book for me to read. I must admit, I was unsure in the very beginning. I grew up catholic and religion and spirituality have always interested me, but they can be a minefield and I knew the subject had to be handled with care. This is the first book I have read by either author and I was excited to discover their style.
The page count was a bit intimidating at first, but I don’t mind long books if they are really good (in fact, I never want books I love to end) and given the extremely positive reviews and Dana’s endorsement, I was very hopeful and went into the book with high expectations.The beautiful and hot cover didn’t hurt either.
It took me a bit to get into this story, but I know the exact moment when the story hooked me. The book begins with Jasper, a catholic priest enjoying his faith and his religious rituals. He was nice, but I didn’t instantly connect with him. After all his preperations, though, it was showtime for him (at mass) and the authors used this moment and the words spoken, to shift the perspective to Nico Blue. A musician in a rock band about to go on stage. That was an instant connection for me. Nicky was so lost and broken and had not just abused drugs on his own, but they were practically forced on him to make him perform.
It was terrible to see how self-descructive the band was and how they were used. My heart broke for Nicky and I was in. I had to know how his story would end.
Well, the drugs were a bit too much for him and the studio was forced to send the guys into rehab. Nicky decided to spend some time recovering from everything in his home town and moved back with his parents temporarily. This is where the story really begins and the paths of Jasper (Jazz) and Nicky cross again.
The first meeting after all those years is not what anyone would call pleasant. There is so much hurt and anger in Nicky, because Jasper left him to become priest that he can’t hold it in.It was very revealing to me, but a lot about what really happened is uncovered later in the book..
I loved that the relationships in this story are never easy. People are very complex and so are our feelings toward them. Especially parents, who have problems accepting that their children are gay, are often vilified in books. There is often either unwavering support or the parents are portrayed as cold-hearted or evil. While both of these possibilities exist, the truth many people experience is often in the middle. I love when the grey area is explored, as these two authors did here.
The religious aspect was portrayed very well, too, in my opinion. It is clearly shown that not all members of the catholic church are against LGBT people, but the official position of the church shows the limits that support can have. It is wonderful to have a save place for homeless LGBT children and I thought such a thing would be great for the church to support. Having an openly gay, but celibate priest be accepted in his parrish was very interesting as well. However, it soon becomes obvious that not everyone is as open-minded and not everything works in the way Jasper would like.
Still, there are people in the church, who are loyal in their support and Jasper could have fought for what he wanted within the church – though it would have been difficult. This complex relationship between church and the LGBT community was handled very delicately.
Overall, I think the authors handled Jasper’s faith in a wonderful way. It was never preachy and Jasper accepted that Nicky did not believe. Nicky did not seduce his priest, nor ask him to give up his faith or betray his promise to god. How to form his future was a decision Jasper had to make on his own and had to talk to god about.
I loved the wonderful chemistry between Jasper and Nicky, loved the flasbacks to their past and how they found to each other, again. They are a wonderful couple and this book worked extremely well for me in every aspect. I can highly recommend it!
Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.
After living in Michigan, USA for seven wonderful years, Indra Vaughn returned back to her Belgian roots. There she will continue to consume herbal tea, do yoga wherever the mat fits, and devour books while single parenting a little boy and working as a nurse.
The stories of boys and their unrequited love will no doubt keep finding their way onto the page–and hopefully into readers hands–even if it takes a little more time.
And if she gleefully posts pictures of snow-free streets in winter, you’ll have to forgive her. Those Michigan blizzards won’t be forgotten in a hurry.