Title: Losing Faith
Author Name & Publisher: Scotty Cade (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 10, 2016 – 200 pgs
Father Cullen Kiley, a gay Episcopal priest on hiatus from the church, decides to take his boat, T-Time, from Provincetown, Massachusetts, to Southport, North Carolina, a place that holds an abundance of bittersweet memories for him. While on a run his first day in Southport, Cullen comes upon a man sitting on a park bench staring out over the Cape Fear River with his Bible in hand. The man’s body language reeks of defeat and desperation, and unable to ignore his compassion for his fellow man, Cullen stops to offer a helping hand.
Southport Baptist Church’s Associate Pastor, Abel Weston, has a hard time managing his demons. When they get too overwhelming, he retreats to Southport’s Historic Riverwalk with his Bible in hand and stares out over the water, praying for help and guidance that never seem to come. But Abel soon discovers that help and guidance come in many forms.
An unexpected friendship develops between the two men, and as Cullen helps Abel begin to confront his doubts and fears, he comes face-to-face with his own reality, threatening both their futures.
This is a small, gentle story that quietly tackles the important issue of faith and sexuality. When a Southern Baptist preacher meets a retired Episcopalian minister, both doubt their faith. Cullen is grieving his partner and Abel is swamped by self-doubt.
I enjoyed the relationship between the two men and I enjoyed watching them wrestle with faith, doubt and religion. The romance was very sweet but perhaps a little quick for a closeted Southern Baptist pastor.
Personally, growing up in the Bible Belt made me a firm Atheist, so while I understood Abel’s feelings of rejection and self-doubt, his openness to Cullen’s version of Christianity seemed almost too quick and too easy.
I don’t think that the author needed to make such obvious villains in this story as they didn’t quite ring true and Abel and Cullen’s personal struggles are complicated enough to carry the story on their own. The very obvious evil took away from the complexity of Abel’s struggle and reduced the impact of the story for me.
Overall, I really enjoyed the characters and themes in this story.
Scotty Cade left Corporate America and twenty-five years of Marketing and Public Relations behind to buy an Inn & Restaurant on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with his partner of over twenty years. He started writing stories as soon as he could read, but just five years ago for publication. When not at the Inn, you can find him on the bow of his boat writing gay romance novels with his Shetland sheepdog Mavis at his side. Being from the south and a lover of commitment and fidelity, most of his characters find their way to long healthy relationships, however long it takes them to get there. He believes that in the end, the boy should always get the boy.