Favorite Romance about questioning faith: Lisa
Religion is a major theme in The Preacher’s Son: how it defines the characters, how they use it to define themselves, and whether or not faith can survive and grow outside its sometimes narrow parameters. Jason has rejected religion outright, but is a zealot when it comes to politics and social justice, whereas Nate is struggling to reconcile his religion with his identity and finding a place where freeing himself from the tenets of his church doesn’t mean abandoning his faith in a loving God.
One of my favourite books about characters struggling with their religion and their sexuality is A Forbidden Rumspringa by Keira Andrews. Isaac Byler and David Lantz are Amish, and their community is a very restrictive one. I admit that when I first heard about the book I was very dubious. I thought there were so many ways that the book might feel cheap, or exploitative of the Amish people and their faith, but what impressed me so much was that David and Isaac’s faith was never mocked, or picked apart, or made light of. Their journey was difficult, and heart-breaking at times, but it also felt incredibly organic, and real. As a reader I didn’t have to subscribe to their faith in order to respect it, and to appreciate the way that it was written respectfully. Isaac and David have a difficult journey, both of them knowing that in order to be together they have to reject their religion, which also means leaving their community, and their families, behind. A Forbidden Rumspringa is a slow-burn, beautifully written story with incredibly high stakes for both main characters.
Faith, in whatever shape it takes, is a deeply personal thing, and untangling it from religion can be incredibly difficult. I loved David and Isaac’s journey, because faith was so important to both of them even while their religion was so oppressive. And watching them reconcile how they could keep their personal faith as part of their identities, while freeing themselves from their religion, was amazing.
A Forbidden Rumspringa is book one of The Gay Amish Romance series–and the sequels are great too!
A Preacher’s Son by Lisa Henry & JA Rock
Release date: January 16, 2018
Jason Banning is a wreck. His leg’s been blown to hell in Afghanistan, his boyfriend just left him and took the dog, and now he’s back in his hometown of Pinehurst, Washington, a place that holds nothing but wretched memories…and Nathan Tull. Nathan Tull, whose life Jason ruined. Nathan Tull, who will never believe Jason did what he did for a greater good. Nathan Tull, whose reverend father runs the gay conversion therapy camp that Jason once sought to bring down—at any cost.
Nathan Tull is trying to live a quiet life. Four years ago, when Nate was a prospective student visiting UW, his world collapsed when senior Jason Banning slept with him, filmed it, and put the footage online. A painful public outing and a crisis of faith later, Nate has finally begun to heal. Cured of the “phantoms” that plagued him for years, he now has a girlfriend, a counselor job at his dad’s camp, and the constant, loving support of his father.
But when he learns Jason is back in town, his carefully constructed identity begins to crumble. As desperate to reconcile his love for God with his attraction to men as Jason is to make sense of the damage he’s done, Nate finds himself walking a dangerous line. On one side lies the righteous life he committed himself to in the wake of his public humiliation. On the other is the sin he committed with Jason Banning, and the phantoms that won’t let him be. But is there a path that can bridge those two worlds—where his faith and his identity as a gay man aren’t mutually exclusive?
And can he walk that path with the man who betrayed him?
About the authors:
Lisa Henry likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied history and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
Connect with Lisa Henry:
J.A. Rock is the author of over twenty LGBTQ romance and suspense novels, as well as an occasional contributor to HuffPo Queer Voices. J.A.’s books have received Lambda Literary, INDIE, and EPIC Award nominations, and 24/7 was named one of the best books of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews. J.A. lives in Chicago with an extremely judgmental dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.
Connect with JA Rock:
Giveaway: Win 1 of 3 e-copies of any Lisa Henry or JA Rock back catalog book! Open Internationally.