Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Andrew and Paul learned about God and Jesus in different churches and realize their views of spirituality are worlds apart.
Andrew was raised Catholic and was told his homosexuality was a sin. For his entire life, he hid the truth. He married and had children to present a façade to the world—that of a straight man. It’s not until he has an affair with Paul, who shows him a different side of Jesus, that Andrew realizes he can be gay and still believe in God. Paul’s Jesus is one of acceptance and love, and in Paul’s church, being gay is not a problem.
For Paul and Andrew, falling in love is the easy part of their journey. They must make it through the fires of cheating, being discovered, Andrew’s wife leaving, the necessities of childcare and family life, the demands of their jobs, and working on their commitment to each other. Only then can they be safe in each other’s heart.
As I suspect for many, I was anticipating a different sort of followup story for one of my favorite Renae Kaye novels, Safe in His Arms (Safe, #1). I knew that Paul, best friend of Lon Taylor, had a love life to sort out and this would be that story. The question? Which way would Renae Kaye go in choices for Paul? Well, she made the most difficult choice she could make, for Paul, her readers, and herself. And the end result is a story that is at times makes it hard to connect with one or more of the main characters and their relationship, makes you think about religion, the foundation of marriage, cheating, trust, and so much more right up until the end. I loved it.
That’s right. I loved this story. But its a hard won sort of love. Not the easily, fell in love at first sight that I do with most of Renae Kaye’s stories. This one made me work hard for it.
It starts right at the beginning with Andrew. Closeted, married Andrew. For many readers, that is a huge “no” right there. But in real life? Its a fact, as is much of the rest of the story. Conservative, religious background. Homosexuality made to be a sin that will land you in hell via church teachings enforced by a rigid family. Not uncommon. So for Kaye to bring Andrew to life with all his faults so vividly splayed out before us, messy, sort of cowardly but human…its understandable. As the story wears on, he becomes someone we connect with as well. We watch him fail, be miserable, and go forward. Yep, human. And his relationship with his wife? Equally complicated, full of layers too.
Paul too, (loved Paul in the first story) is not without his own issues as he recognizes. But he also knows what and who he wants. Its Andrew. The author has the tricky problem of having Paul deal with not one issue but many….a closeted Andrew, a married, cheating Andrew, religious guilt, his own resolutions to live openly…that’s a lot of obstacles to tackle at one time for love. And a novel. But Paul slowly works through them…with help, with no help…but we the readers are there with him each step of the way.
The story is told from two points of view and its necessary to bring every aspect of their lives into focus and examine its impact on themselves and their relationship such as it is. This will include Andrew’s household, something which could have become problematic when the children and wife become involved. Yet I think they added not only believability but balance. You see why Andrew stayed married and why he married in the first place. It works.
Will this story make readers happy? I don’t know. It depends on how you like your romance. If you want your romance stories without cheating, without real life struggles and mess, self-inflicted wounds, then perhaps this isn’t the story for you. But if you like stories that challenge you to think about how hard it sometimes it to reach for love, to grab for happiness, and surmount some very real emotional obstacles, pick up Safe in His Heart (Safe #2) by Renae Kaye. The writing is wonderful, the story difficult yet moving. I recommend it as I do all Renae Kaye stories.
Cover Artist: Anna Sikorska has a nice cover but its sort of generic. I know its supposed to be Paul but eh.
ebook, 270 pages
Published May 2nd 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 163477227X (ISBN13: 9781634772273)
Series Safe with links to my reviews:
Safe In His Arms
Safe In His Heart