Series: Hello Goodbye #1
Published by Rennie Road Books on March 21st 2017
Genres: LGBTQ, New Adult, Romance
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Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home.
In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.
But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.
It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.
Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.
Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?
Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord's name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.
Sometimes the hardest book reviews for me to write are for the books I enjoy the most. I fell truly, madly, deeply in love with Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen, and even though I’ve spent a day trying to find something insightful to say, basically all I’ve got is that you should read this book.
I have a confession to make. Sarina Bowen never steers me wrong, but I put off reading this book. Cults are freaky. The last romance novel I read that took place in a religious cult setting was so utterly depressing I felt emotionally drained reading it. I had to double-check that it was, in fact, classified as a romance. So yeah, I was hesitant, but I swear I hadn’t even finished the first chapter and I was hooked. I devoured this book in a day and I wanted to go back for seconds.
The effects of growing up in a repressive religious commune as a deeply closeted gay man are long lasting for Joshua. He is such a gentle soul, but others see him as weak and disposable. Fortunately, his best friend, Caleb, is strong and wise and has always had his back. Unfortunately, Josh has secretly been in love with Caleb for ages.
The way Josh and Caleb re-build their lives post-cult is so touching. I adored every tense, sweet, vulnerable, and joyous minute of their phenomenal journey. The friends they make along the way are easy to love. Profoundly moving, I believe this is some of Sarina’s best work. And she definitively proves that she’s no lightweight in the sultry department. Caleb and Josh’s chemistry is of the nuclear variety.
If you’re a fan of M/M romance, you should read this book. If you believe in love being a beacon in the darkest of moments, give this book a try. If you just want to escape and feel encouraged for a few hours, I highly recommend Goodbye Paradise.
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**ARC received in exchange for an honest review.**
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