Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte
✯✯✯✯✯ heart and soul stars
‘God owned his soul, but Nicky would always have his heart.’
And THAT is how you convey the guilt, turmoil and conflictive feelings of a Priest coming to terms with what is in his soul versus what is in his heart. To say we lived, breathed and felt every moment of this beautiful heartfelt story would be an understatement! Nicky and Jasper owned us!
“Nicky, it seems possible that I’m not a very good priest.”
This is our first taste of Indra Vaughn and Leta Blake’s work and what an introduction! Vespertine epitomised all that we love about this sub-genre not to mention rock star and forbidden themes that had us veraciously devouring their every word.
Vespertine was a scintillating, exquisite and genuine tale of forbidden love, hidden desire, healing, and self-discovery. Moving, seductive, heart crushing and highly emotive, yet never sensationalised or over dramatized, instead peppered with touches of mischievous wit that managed to balance the story perfectly.
We particularly loved the way the authors constructed Jasper and Nicky’s story, allowing a simmering, slow build which saw us bond with the characters as individuals, feeling their loneliness and detachment from the world around them before experiencing the emotions and heartbreak of their past relationship.
“I knew I was gay from a very young age. See, I met this little kid with dark brown, wavy hair and sky-blue eyes and he stole my heart.”
First we met Nicky, or Nico Blue, the incredibly talented songwriter, guitarist and powerhouse behind the very popular, Vespertine. Nicky has hit an all-time low. Strung out on drugs and churning out music that bears no resemblance to the creative mastermind he once was, Nicky has resorted to releasing music that reflects the man he has become. Wasted, dead inside, lonely and sad.
‘Until he could fix himself, the music was as sick as he was.’
Nicky makes the decision to overcome his addiction by returning to his hometown of Little Heights, and it’s a move that stirs up conflicted feelings. On the one hand he will have his parents to love, care and help him heal, yet he will be returning to memories of his youth and in particular the boy who captured and broke his heart at seventeen and is the subject of the angst that takes flight in Nicky’s lyrics.
“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…. so much.”
Jasper Hendricks turned his back on Nicky when they were seventeen, with Nicky believing he chose the Priesthood over him. Jasper believed he had buried his feelings for Nicky since joining the Priesthood and answering his calling. Little did he realise the effect this man would have on his heart and his soul.
“I always loved you. I can’t even pretend I loved God more.”
Nicky and Jasper are lost, adrift and broken in their own way and so hearing both voices became crucial to the story which in turn added to the intensity of the emotions we felt throughout. Jasper was as confounded by Nicky as Nicky was with him.
“I think you’re as capable of loving someone as much as anyone else is. Maybe…maybe more.”
The fluidity and cohesiveness of Vespertine made us forget this was a collaboration as both authors voices effortlessly blended into one. The imagery used is so striking and vivid yet the descriptiveness merely served to take us deep into the story, never impeding the flow or overpowering the story.
The way the authors complimented Nicky’s lyrics and Jaspers prayers to express the pain and conflict that these men were experiencing was sublime and so heart wrenching and although there were religious themes throughout, it never felt weighted down in any way.
There was so much we loved about this story, we sat for hours reading and in all truthfulness we didn’t want it to end. There were so many potent message in Vespertine of love, acceptance and forgiveness and these authors handled it with sensitivity and beauty. The way they harmonised the passion with the emotion touched our hearts. This book was an absolute winner and exactly what we needed!
“I didn’t want this, Nicky. I wanted you.”
“Well you could’ve fucking had me.”
**Reviewed from an ARC copy provided by the authors, with thanks.**