Erryn reviews ‘Vespertine’ by Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn. The book was published September 7, 2015 and is 418 pages. The audio was narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo and released on December 16, 2019 and is 14 hours & 18 minutes. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I listened to this: I enjoyed Leta Blake’s Training Season and so wanted to try something else.
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.
To read Marc’s ebook review of Vespertine, click here.
This audio book clocks out at just over 14 hours. I’ve listened to longer, but there’s always a commitment with books that are more than seven or eight hours. I’m glad I made the commitment.
I always have mixed feelings when listening to books where one of the central themes is religion. Sometimes it’s background noise and other times it is front and center. Seeing that Jasper is a Catholic priest, I’m going to say front and center with this one. I’m not Catholic. In fact most days I’m an atheist, but that doesn’t mean I’m not fascinated by people who believe. And strongly, in the case of Jasper. He was willing to walk away from Nicky when they were teenagers because of his ‘calling’ to God. There were other factors as well, to be sure, but he believed himself compelled.
Nicky went in another direction. Although raised Jewish, he had little interest in God but music was his religion. He went through some really tough times before hooking up with a couple of musicians and forming the band Vespertine. He’s the guitarist and songwriter. He pours out the love Jasper spurned into chart-topping songs. Somewhere along the way it became less about the music and more about the lifestyle – parties, drugs, and endless concert tours.
He flames out and heads back to his home to recuperate and deal with his addiction. His parents are there to support him – as they always have. The relationship has been strained at times and it was clear Nicky didn’t always appreciate what he had. After drug rehab, he’s more grateful. Of course it was inevitable he would run into Jasper – they live in the same small town only now Nicky’s a recovering drug addict and Jasper is the local priest who runs a shelter for LGBTQ youth. Kids who’ve been rejected by their own families. Kids who have no one.
Some of the secondary characters in this story broke my heart – Lizzie in particular. It’s tragic what these kids have endured. They rely on Jasper and when they meet Nicky, they become enamored. A real rock star in their midst.
Nicky and Jasper eventually lay everything on the line and are becoming reacquainted when Nicky is recalled to LA to fulfill a music contract. It’s clear he’s not real ready to deal with that kind of environment and things disintegrate. In fact they go to shit. In the end, though, Nicky has to decide if his career is worth all the stress.
And Jasper has to decide if his faith is enough to keep him away from the temptation that is Nicky.
I liked this book. There was a raw honesty to it that I enjoyed. It did take me a while to get into the story, but one I was there, I was hooked. And I felt the despair of the dark moment.
Michael Ferraiuolo narrated this book brilliantly. He’s a pleasure to listen to and I felt he did a great job on this one. Overall, I’m glad I made the investment in listening to this book.
9/10 Points of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
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.
If you’d like to be among the first to know about new releases, you can sign up for Leta’s newsletter HERE.
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.