A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: A Romance…unadorned, sweet, hot and sexy, and deep in its emotional impact–so very deep.
Blurb: For Tommy Bradley, a hand working on the Lost Cow Ranch in rural Texas, admitting his sexuality is impossible, even if his bosses, Luke and Simon, are gay—Tommy has spent his entire life hiding the truth from his homophobic parents. Then Tommy meets pastor Noah Taylor in Luke’s father’s hospital room, and his difficult secret becomes that much harder to keep. Noah is unlike any man of God—or any man—Tommy’s ever met. For one thing, his congregation is made up primarily of GLBT individuals and their families. For another, he isn’t afraid of the attraction he feels toward Tommy, and he makes his intentions very clear. But Noah won’t hide his sexuality or his love from the world, and he won’t start a relationship with Tommy while Tommy hides his, either. Faced with the choice of losing Noah or coming out to his parents, Tommy takes his first steps out of the closet. But Tommy isn’t the only one facing challenges. Thanks to an outpouring of hatred from Pastor Jackson and a group of ranch owners, Noah must cope with the possible loss of his church and his livelihood.
Review: Let me begin by acknowledging that Complete Faith is a sequel in Sue Brown’s series which began with Morning Report. Now, having said that, I feel that this novel actually could muster a stand-alone title–truly. Ms. Brown gives us more than enough past information in the brief forays her novel takes into the history of Lost Cow Ranch that you are never left confused due to not having read the first book. Why can I say that? Well, dear reader–because I had not read the first book before delving into this one. I have since remedied that little gaffe, trust me. This is an author I won’t be putting down anytime soon. But I am getting ahead of myself…let’s return to where I began, come walk with me through the pages of Complete Faith by Sue Brown.
“I’ll tell you one thing, Pastor. Your flock loves you. You give them a life when everyone else wants to take it away, You give them God when the likes of Jackson deny them even the chance to pray.”
Noah is gay, black and a pastor…he is in love with Tommy, a young, barely out of the closet, cowboy who has never even been kissed before. They have danced around one another for months and now Tommy has made the decision to pursue the relationship offered by Noah and come out…to his bigoted parents, his fellow cowboys at the Ranch and to the community that will divide itself straight down either side of gay rights issues and alternately despise him and embrace him. From the ashes–a phoenix rises–a love so complete, so deep that you simply sit back after reading this novel and smile. A phoenix has risen…and while their lives may never be easy, so damned awful as that realization is, they will be together, Noah and Tommy, and that makes the journey all the sweeter.
They will suffer at the hands of Pastor Jackson who ultimately wants to see the church Noah runs for LGBT families and friends closed down. They will cry and laugh and love each other through near violent encounters with bigoted ranchers. They will bear the brunt of loving as two gay men in a town that is a microcosym of a world that simply does not want their “kind” around. Through it all friends will surround them and a relationship that initially sparked due to a mutual lust will turn to a love so strong that nothing can tear it or them apart.
Dear reader, this is a love story, plain and simple. Yet Sue Brown flavors her story with just enough strife, suspense and struggle so as to never to let it fall into the “sappy” category. This is a smart little novel, that treats the ideas of first love and coming out with respect and does not gloss over the difficulties each inherently offers. The love this small community of believers has for its pastor as the quote above gives evidence to is resilient and permanent. No flying off at the first sign of trouble. No pretty ending–there is loss, and pain and rebirth. A phoenix rises…and it is lovely to behold.
So why not 5 stars? Well, I can sum up the little problem in a nutshell: I wanted to see more of the bad guys. The brief amount of time they had on the page was oh so believable–here were bullies steeped in reality. I simply wanted to see a bit more–to keep the tension of their potential threat to Tommy alive a bit longer. However, this was a very minor point in the overall quality of this very sound, delightfully fulfilling sequel.
Complete Faith by Sue Brown is a very worthy second installment in the “Morning Report” series. I highly recommend you read this and her first novel in the series by the same title. However, as usual the decision is yours, dear reader. I will say this–the words “morning report” will never fail to bring a secret little smile to my face again. Why, you ask? Well for the answer to that you will have to read the book!