Title: I Lift My Eyes to the Hills
Author: Connor Wright
Length: Novel (176 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (November 3rd, 2014)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4.5Hearts
Blurb: Justinian Clark, a new-minted journeyman scribe, has a lot of faith: faith in God goes without saying, faith in the orderly workings of the universe, faith in the administrative minutiae that ticks along in the background of his life. That minutiae has brought him to Saint Gabriel and All Angels Cathedral, where he is assigned to assist Brother Ezekiel Frost.
Ezekiel Frost, a ten-year veteran of The Eternal Brotherhood of the Guardians of the Church of Greater Anglia, is quite comfortable with his routine: helping the people of St. Gabriel’s parish, annoying the archdeacon, and not getting too used to his assistants. While he doubts that having a complete novice assigned to him will change this pattern in any way, he resolves to make the best of it.
Between exorcisms, murders, the attention of something, and an overly observant child, Justinian and Ezekiel have no time to settle into a comfortable routine. Nothing is as certain as they once believed, and they can only hope their faith will see them through.
A Timeless Dreams title: While reaction to same-sex relationships throughout time and across cultures has not always been positive, these stories celebrate M/M love in a manner that may address, minimize, or ignore historical stigma.
Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5643
Review: This is the type of book where the more I think of it, the more I enjoyed it. It’s certainly one of those books that has made me think more deeply, hence why I’ve decided that I really enjoyed this one more than I had originally decided (I’ve pushed the heart rating from 3.5 hears to 4.5 hearts and now I’m happy about that).
For this book, we get two warnings on historical inaccuracies: once in the blurb and once in a forward written by Connor Wright. So now, we can’t complain and nitpick that “that’s not how gay people were treated” and “that’s not what the Church would do”. The forward also adds in other literary liberties that were taken. After all that, I was more than happy to overlook the inaccuracies that would normally irritate me. This is a book that has been thoroughly researched and perhaps some evidence of this is that at the end, we have some translations and the biblical references used in the book.
Ezekiel may be a brother of the Anglican Church, but he is also a realist, a rather gritty character and generally just the cool type. He’s been in the job for a while so a lot of things are routine to him so teasing people is his fun, as well as the odd lover. Justinian on the other hand, is a scribe within the church. He is perhaps naive, maybe due to his age, 19, but I wouldn’t think so, but he also has a true sense of compassion despite what he sees while he travels with Ezekiel.
Both Ezekiel and Justinian show that throughout this book their faith is an asset. The relationship and budding romance between Ezekiel and Justinian is subtle, allowing the demon and exorcism story line to develop. The idea of these men investigating strange happenings and exorcising demons is fun. There were a few smaller exorcisms as well as that involved in the overarching plot of the book.
Finally, I also enjoyed the enlightened view that society and the Anglican Church had in this book, that being one of the major liberties taken. There certainly weren’t any shady “lavender houses” to be seen, there was a sense of freedom that relied on discretion. It’s basically the ideal perception based on what society actually did. Women were also viewed well in this book too, which is good to see a historical fiction without soldiers and whatnot trying to rape every woman they wanted.
However, to finish, I have to say I both like and was amused by the euphemism used for homosexuality “I sleep on the other side of the bed”.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *