Yvonne's Reviews > Between Sinners and Saints

Between Sinners and Saints by Marie Sexton
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's review
Jun 18, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: june-cat-challenge, m-m, loaned-book

This is probably more like a 4.5 Star for me. Levi is a man who is somewhat estranged from his religious Mormon family, who works as a bartender and engages in frequent fairly anonymous sex. Jaime is a massage therapist who due to his past is living a fear filled life. Both characters are very likable & the romance is built up very nicely & slowly between the two of them as they start off as friends. You end up really rooting for both of these guys & it's nice to see their growth over the course of the book.

There are several issues addressed in the book from Jamie's PTSD to Levi trying to reconcile his religious beliefs with his lifestyle & of course trying to reconcile with his family. I believe that there was a real attempt to balance all this without having it overwhelm the story. Was there too much religion in it--It all depends. For some the mere mention of God outside of the context of certain biblical acts, is one mention too many. Religion is a hot button issue for many & this could be a deal breaker. I found that it wasn't too much for me & I got to learn a little about a faith I was fairly unfamiliar with.

The other issue, and the one that really keeps this from being a 5 star book for me is Levi's family. Even though there was a careful effort made to not paint anyone as a villain, their attitude towards Levi, their little family pow wow & votes & their 'conditional' love just made them totally unlikable to me--all of them, even the sister who deigned to talk to him.

(view spoiler)

It's the ending though that really threw me in this book as we get to see the family at their most sanctimonious as they decided that Levi was finally up to their standards as he's moving away from being a sinner by quitting his evil bartender job & no longer engaging in casual sex (how they knew about his sex life I could never figure out.) And instead of Levi stating that's what he needed to do to get to the place he ended up at & what a lot of young people do in their 20's, he seems to buy into this characterization & ties himself into a pretzel trying to prove he's a reformed sinner. His love for Jamie is not enough to get his family's acceptance.

(view spoiler)

The ending was a let down for this story, which is too bad because the majority of the story is all out wonderful. I do like the fact that Marie Sexton took on a difficult topic & attempted to push the boundaries for m/m romance. It was a worthwhile albeit somewhat flawed effort.

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