Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye #1) by Sarina Bowen -★★★
In Front of God and Everyone tells the story of Josh and Caleb. They have spent majority of their lives living on a polygamist compound. When Josh is kicked out, Caleb also escapes and together they build a life on the outside, all the while trying to cope with this ‘new’ world they need to adjust to and dealing with their feelings for one another after being told most of their lives being gay is a sin.
Overall, this was an extremely sweet friends to lover romance and hopeful story with two very lovable characters.
So why not a higher rating? I was kind of looking forward to getting more detail about the cult they grew up in and would have liked more time spent on that aspect. Only maybe 2 chapters cover their life in the cult, and even in those chapters and the rest of the time it is brought up only very minor detail is given. Any real detail or serious topics- like their life leading up to them leaving, their transition after they leave, the inner turmoil they must have felt having grown up in a cult that taught them being gay was wrong, the lead up to admitting their love for one another and dealing with the feelings of falling for their best friend, life for others in the cult – were just skirted over.
I would have preferred a little more drama, a little more angst, and little more something to bring this to the next level. I just felt like there was so much untapped potential locked within this story and the author didn’t do much to let it out.
It was romantic and enjoyable as I mentioned above, but to ME, the blurb reads like this was going to be a more serious, emotional and angsty read, which I didn’t find it to be.
If you’re looking for something on the lighter side with an M/M romance, I would say this book is for you!
*This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone. For more about its previous publication, you can read this blog post.*