Title: Ancient House of Cards
Author Name: Bryan T. Clark
Publication Date & Length: Feb 21, 2014 – 196 pgs
Sebastian Morales is smart, gorgeous and has just turned 30. He is also one of the youngest Priests to be assigned to the sleepy little town of Morris Colorado, nestled just below the majestic Rocky Mountains.
Born in a remote village in Spain, Father Morales’ life had been perfectly scripted as he obtained his dreams. Now in America, he is at task with revitalizing an aging congregation. The job seems easy until he meets Ian Stephens. Ian is troubled, good looking, openly gay and trapped between his own dreams and the responsibility he feels for the care of his aging mother.
Escorting his mother to Sunday Mass one morning, Ian and Father Morales’ life intersect, changing both forever. Ian believes he has seen something in the Father’s eyes that morning, a spark, an intuition, or was he just fantasizing about the seductively alluring priest.
Ian is willing to risk it all in order to find the answer, in turn feeding his own sexual desires and causing boundaries to be questioned by everyone.
After an unforeseen yet unforgettable kiss between the two men, will an Ancient House of Cards be toppled when they are faced with confronting the moral dilemma that neither of them can escape?
I chose this book because I can’t resist stories with spiritual or religious themes. For the most part, I enjoyed it.
As with any story, my favorite part is always the characters. The people populating this story were interesting and diverse, and none of them felt flat to me. I liked reading about their various struggles, all of which were relatable. Their human failings made them more, not less, likable and intriguing.
I appreciated that the characters were not all standard, white Americans. There was quite a bit of diversity. And I did think it was fun that Ian’s best friend was named Niles and had a cat called Mr. French. Those were details I found particularly charming.
I did feel that the writing was uneven at times. There were some absolutely brilliant moments, including some of the details about the setting and some of the character interactions. At other times, however, the narrative seemed flat and the dialog a bit stiff. The whole thing could have benefited from a thorough going-over by an editor or a few skilled beta readers.
The end also left me feeling a bit deflated. That wasn’t because of where the main characters ended up but because it felt rushed. I had been hoping throughout that we might see a bit more depth regarding their spirituality, but it never quite got there. Then, at the end, there was an epilogue that sort of tidied things up. Unfortunately, it wasn’t terribly realistic, and not enough time passed for the particular scenario to have been realistic.
Overall, it was an enjoyable read, and I recommend it, but with the qualifier that it may not be what you’re looking for if you want a book with deeper spiritual themes.
I give it 3.5 stars.
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On the rare occasions he isn’t writing, Bryan enjoys traveling, following his husband around the state of California to various equestrian competitions, lying by a body of water soaking up the sun, or watching a good movie while snuggled up with his husband and dog on the couch.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Bryan now resides in the Central Valley of California with his husband of twenty-eight years and their four legged loyal companion, Miss Celie.