Authors: Leta Blake
Released: September 10th 2015
Length: 420 pages
Source: Publisher for review
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.
What could be more difficult (and more improbable) than a catholic priest and a rock star who’ve been deeply in love since childhood? It is a question Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn decided to explore together, and I dare say they found the perfect answer in their new novel, Vespertine.
Nico Blue has reached an all-time low. Things just don’t hold the same appeal they used to, not the fans, not the music, and certainly not the drugs. Being a rock star isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, not when you’re doing it without the most important person in your life. But Father Jasper Hendricks is a distant dream for Nico Blue. He was once everything to young Nicholas Blumfield, but then he decided to follow his calling and dedicate his life to God. It’s been years since the two last laid eyes on each other, but with Nico desperate to recover, he has nowhere to go but home.
Once there, Nico becomes Nicky again, and tries desperately to let go of anger and resentment, which is a lot harder than it seems with Father Jazz around to show him what he’s lost. But Jasper himself isn’t as firm in his determination to stay away from Nicky. His calling might be honest, but it maybe isn’t strong enough to hold against Nicky’s appeal.
The progression and the trials of their relationship seemed very honest to me. Neither of them was quick to jump into it and let go of years of different expectations. They had very different plans and they took the time to get to know each other as adults before they decided that their love was strong enough and worthy of giving up everything else. The book also highlights the dark side of both worlds, that of rock stars and the church and both men have to work together to find common ground after all that time.
Aside from being almost torturously romantic, Vespertine brings to light some major issues of LGBT youth. Jasper’s work with these kids is equally as important as his love for Nicky and that part of the novel was handled with great care and sensitivity.
Vespertine is everything you want a romance to be: it’s painful, exciting, emotional, deeply romantic, at times desperate, joyful and even illuminating. Aside from being a story about two complex, wonderful men, it makes us think (more) about the problems of kids who don’t quite fit the social norms. Highly recommended.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.