I hope to spotlight books with LGBT main characters that aren’t romances or erotica. I have here a review of Angel by Laura Lee.
The book opens with a prologue with a spiritual, contemplative tone, which I like a very much. A forty-two year old minister, Paul Tobit, is bereaved of his wife Sally. He is kind, gentle, overall likable and sympathetic. He crosses paths with twenty-four year old Ian, a gay man with a drinking problem. And so unfolds redemption, love, romance, add in opprobrium from his church family and religious issues. I think you can already guess what happens. And it ends exactly the way you think it will. The prologue hints it strongly.
The relationship between Paul and Ian is for the most part sweet and life-affirming. The book dealt with Paul coming to grips with his desire in a realistic way. The book misses the mark in a few ways though.
The book strives to balance a contemplative tone with its discourses on spirituality and a simple love story. I didn’t think the balancing worked too well, as I thought the romance was too simply and too plainly executed.
The dialogues on religion and homosexuality, I found, to be cliched. For those familiar with gay literature, these dialogues are a dime a dozen. For those not familiar with gay literature it might come off as preachy.
More damning problem with the book was the pacing. After the relationship’s consummation, which happens halfway the story, the book dragged from then on. I dreaded reading the cutesy couple moments and relationship gushiness because the sad ending was like a sword of Damocles over my neck. I had to force my way through to the end.
When the book was unabashedly literary, I enjoyed it. I liked the constant use of the mountain metaphor. I enjoyed the theological digressions, for example Paul’s thoughts on the Eucharist were very interesting. The opening paragraphs on spirituality were also very enjoyable.
That said, I would urge you to give the book a try. It’s a quick, easy, fairly comfortable read. I would rate this a solid three stars.
Buy here on Amazon