Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen
Published by Rennie Road Books on March 21, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, M/M, Romance
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Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home.
In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.
But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.
It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.
Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.
Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?
Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord's name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter.
I’ve been on a Sarina Bowen kick for the past year. I first discovered her through her True North series and then on to her Brooklyn Bruiser series. I told myself I would go back and read more of her previous work but sadly hadn’t found the time. Thankfully, I can check one thing off my list. Goodbye Paradise was previously released under the title In Front of God & Everyone and is now released with the new title. I’ll have to say, I really enjoyed this book and I got a little taste from the True North series. More on that later. I’m a huge M/M fan so when I saw that Sarina had her own M/M book, I about lost it. I couldn’t tell you how giddy I was to get my hands on it.
Josh and Caleb have grown up in a polygamist and religious cult. Caleb seems to shine and has a strong heritage to grow in the ranks in the cult but Josh seems to be more of a farm boy without any political ties. He’s ridiculed and he’s hard on himself because he’s in love with his best friend. Which is of course again their beliefs. He’s been harboring this secret for a while now and it seems to be getting harder and harder. When the cult turns on Josh and kicks him out, leaving himself to survive in the very world he was shelter from, panic steps in. However, Caleb promised to meet up with him and when he finally do, the two of them search out a previous member of the cult for help and guidance.
Here’s what I loved the most about this story. In the beginning we are made to believe that Josh just might not be that strong of a male lead. Sure he’s in love with his best friend but from his point of view, he makes himself look weak and possible inferior in looks compared to Caleb, who he makes out to be the ultimate protector. While that is true, we learn just how strong and equal Josh is to Caleb and just how perfect they are for each other.
The two of them have their own battles to fight. One fights the morality of two men being together because they’ve been made to believe that is sin and the other fights to do the right thing when a situation arrises that could potential split them but. Their path to each other is certainly not easy but ultimately their love for each other provides them the strength they need to get through anything.
I liked that I got a little bit more of this cult world because I was first introduced to it through Zach’s story in the True North series and I wanted more about the cult. I just didn’t there was already a book out that there gave that to us so I’m so happy this was re-released and I was given exactly what I had been looking for.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. While I do feel greedy and wanted a lot more sexy times with the boys, I really enjoyed their story and how they were finally free to love and support each other like they were always meant to.