Author: Renae Kaye
Series: Safe, #2
Released: May 2nd 2016
Length: 270 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Dreamspinner Press
Andrew and Paul learned about God and Jesus in different churches and realize their views of spirituality are worlds apart.Andrew was raised Catholic and was told his homosexuality was a sin. For his entire life, he hid the truth. He married and had children to present a façade to the world—that of a straight man. It’s not until he has an affair with Paul, who shows him a different side of Jesus, that Andrew realizes he can be gay and still believe in God. Paul’s Jesus is one of acceptance and love, and in Paul’s church, being gay is not a problem.For Paul and Andrew, falling in love is the easy part of their journey. They must make it through the fires of cheating, being discovered, Andrew’s wife leaving, the necessities of childcare and family life, the demands of their jobs, and working on their commitment to each other. Only then can they be safe in each other’s heart.
Those of you who are familiar with Renae Kaye’s work probably know her as this bright little Aussie ray of sunshine. Her books are always clever, always honest, always heartfelt, but they rarely follow any usual romance tropes and angst is a word that’s simply missing from her vocabulary. I honestly love everything about Renae and her books have become comfort rereads I pick up when I want to smile, laugh outright and generally feel good about myself and about the world.
Because of this, Safe in His Heart came as a complete surprise. It’s a pretty serious book that represents a new direction for Renae. It’s mostly about that uncomfortable place between religion and conviction, about catholic guilt and living the life you think you’re supposed to and not the life you actually want to live. The truth of the matter is that Safe in His Heart is a necessary book. Finding balance between what we’ve been taught to believe and what we know is right in our hearts and minds is difficult not just for LGBTQAI folks, but for us allies as well. As someone who’s a former catholic precisely for this reason and who’s struggled with these issues for a very long time, I applaud Renae for choosing this direction in her latest book.
His whole life Andrew was told that being gay is dirty, wrong, sick, so he did what he had to do, married a woman he didn’t love and had two kids he pretty much lives for. That doesn’t stop him from having anonymous hook ups in gym showers, however. It’s easy to see Andrew as a coward and judge him, but while he does fear his parents and the rest of his community, the vast majority of his problems are actually internal. The self-hatred and the guilt are what’s stopping him from being true to himself.
We’ve met Paul in Lon’s story, but here we finally get to know him as the brave, bright person that he is. Paul’s religion taught him a completely different lesson from Andrews, which means that being openly gay was never an issue for him. But when he falls for Andrew, all his principles are soon forgotten. The two start an affair that’s as unhealthy for Paul as it is necessary for Andrew.
For the most part, I wanted to shake Paul and force him to dig up his self respect. Although I understood Andrew, I was extremely uncomfortable with how he treated Paul, how he thought about his children and how he preached his misguided beliefs. Even when he chose Paul, I wasn’t convinced in his truthfulness. Mostly I felt that the circumstances forced him to make that choice. So even though I feel that the subject of this book is a necessary one, I also feel that Renae could have handled some things better. I was bound to feel uncomfortable at some point, but I was actually uncomfortable for all the wrong reasons.
Unlike Renae’s other books, this one is not to be chosen for entertainment alone. It makes you think, and even when you don’t like the direction it takes you in, I’d say Renae’s goal was achieved.
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.