Saturday, September 8, 2012

Complete Faith, by Sue Brown

Complete Faith (Morning Report #2)
by Sue Brown
Published by: Dreamspinner Press
Word count: 71,000


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.


First, this is the second book in a series. I haven’t read the first (Morning Report), so do yourself a favour and read the first before reading this. I’m sure that I would have become more invested in the characters if I had. There were many things that were obviously put in for those who’d read the first book that I didn’t find necessary to the plot. For example, the big scene toward the end where there’s rain and a cowboy goes missing (don’t want a spoiler here). That whole event was pretty pointless to Tommy and Noah’s story. It didn’t even have anything to do with them and everything to do with the characters from the first book. The event was exciting after the previous pages, but the result of the event was anticlimactic. The author could have used the event better and made it more about Tommy and Noah. Tommy wasn’t even in the party that found the missing cowboy. I probably wouldn’t have minded if I’d read the first book, but I hadn’t.

There were other things that rubbed me the wrong way. Like Tommy’s closet issues. He accuses Noah of blackmailing him to come out. Noah says that maybe he is. I say that he definitely is! I understand that Noah wouldn’t want to be kept in a closet next to Tommy after having come out, but the way he went about things and the things he said just didn’t do it for me. I felt he had no compassion for Tommy’s struggle. I was rooting for Tommy to turn on his heel and just walk away. But that would have ended the story at 12%.

The prose in the book is very good. Sue Brown can write, that’s for sure. However, the book is slowly paced, especially at the beginning. It was too easy to put down. Again, this is probably not a problem for those who have read the first book as they’re getting re-acquainted with the farm, characters, and situations. As a standalone, things started looking up at 30% and even more at 40%. Finally at 50% the story was really good and stayed that way from then on.

I loved Tommy. I wasn’t as fond of Noah, but that initial blackmail thing had me on guard toward him. There was some character development for both characters, but nothing major. Tommy had a decent voice in the story and it was persistent throughout the book.

All in all, a good romance. Good for a rainy day, curled up in the sofa with a cup of tea. I think that the first story is probably better, more exciting, but this wasn’t bad. It wasn’t fantastic either. It just...was.

Writing/Voice: 5/4
Characters/Development: 4/3
Plot/Pace: 3/3
Heat: 3
Stars: 3.5

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