I love it when a new world is spread before me in a book. And I love it even more when that world is actually a world I know, only told from a different angle.
That’s exactly what Goodbye Paradise is.
My thanks to Enn Bocci and Sarina Bowen for a copy of this book.
This is one of those stories you wish aren’t really a mirror of the real world, but you know to be exactly that. Bible based cults do exist, sick and controlling polygamy exist, and horrible abuse – exists.
Joshua and Caleb grew up in a cult somewhere in Wyoming. Caleb, the son of one of the leaders has had it easier than most, but Joshua, growing up as a weaker boy, has suffered the cult’s mistreatment throughout his childhood and early adulthood. Caleb and Josh are best friends, and Josh knows that at some point, Caleb won’t be able to be there for him and cover for him during labor hours, and especially once he marries.
Josh is also hopelessly in love with Caleb, and knows, as he’s been taught all his life – that’s a sin.
When Josh is thrown out of the compound, Caleb decides it’s his time to leave, too, and the two make their way to Maggie, a former runaway from the compound whom they know has made a life for herself on the outside. Right there in upstate New York. And you know who else ran away from that same compound? Bittersweet‘s Zach. *squeeee*
Josh and Caleb’s life take a turn for the (so much) better when they meet a truck driver willing to take them all the way to Maggie, and even more so when Maggie and her husband help them get on their own two feet, teach them what they need to know, and basically give them the life they never knew they can have.
You can imagine this expedited journey to real life isn’t easy. Not physically and especially not mentally. There are a lot of issues both boys need to sort out, reconcile with what they were told as opposed to what they learn to be true now.
My favorite part is towards the end; there’s a scene whereJoshua is standing up for himself, realizing his own worth and Caleb realizes the weight of the entire world shouldn’t be his responsibility. It’s a heartbreaking scene but one that feels so so true.
I can’t see how this story could’ve been written differently, and I’m sure there are many other stories with a similar premise. Somehow, though, Bowan managed to weave everything important, the sexy, the emotional, the real and the heartfelt, all into one beautiful story.
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.
And look at the cover of the next installment…
With Elle Kennedy, Sarina is the author of the RITA award winning HIM, and its sequel, US, as well as the WAGs novels.
Sarina also has a new Vermont contemporary romance series, True North. She’s also unrolled new hockey novels from Penguin Berkley including Rookie Move.
Sarina enjoys skiing, espresso drinks and the occasional margarita. She lives with her family, eight chickens and more ski gear and hockey equipment than seems necessary.
To be kept abreast of new releases, please sign up for the mailing list at http://www.sarinabowen.com/signup.
Or visit the her Facebook page, or tweet her @sarinabowen.