An advance copy of this book was provided free of charge for this review.
Seth has escaped his extremely homophobic father, whose religious beliefs led him to try and beat the gay out of his own son, and sending him to brutal conversion camps. He finally screws up the courage to visit a gay bar, where he’s aggressively approached by a pair of jerks. Malcolm is just trying to have a quiet drink, but he’s not the type of guy who can stand seeing another person picked on, and once he gets a better look at Seth, he knows the young man needs a guiding hand. The question is, can Malcolm forget his past hurt to give Seth what he needs?
There’s quite a bit going on in this book. First and foremost is Seth’s escape from his family and trying to cope in a world he’s largely unprepared for, even excluding the gay angle. The stories of hypocrisy and abuse should be no surprise to anyone who reads the daily headlines. Seth is definitely a very sympathetic character. It’s impossible for me to say if he’s realistic, but Seth is definitely believable. His journey to self acceptance is a major factor in making the book such a page-turner, although I suspect on reflection his turnaround is a little more sudden than is realistic. It’s probably a little bit of literary license that works well.
Malcolm’s own story is perhaps not as heartbreaking as Seth’s but still quite melancholy. The love of his life, who although older was still his “boy”, died years before the start of this book, yet he still mourns the loss and has more or less given up on finding someone he wants to call him “daddy”. The specifics of his emotional needs may not be all that relatable, but Malcolm’s loss is something most of us can understand and sympathize with.
Even for someone strongly attracted to the Dominant/submissive dynamic, the daddy/son roles can seem a little sketchy, even though it’s really just a small variation of the typical D/s lifestyle. Even Seth is uneasy at first when he realizes that Malcolm sometimes refers to him as a boy. However, it’s clear that the young man needs a strong, loving guiding hand to help him navigate the world outside the church, and Malcolm goes to great lengths to ensure that Seth comes to his own conclusions about what he needs from the older man. In the end, it’s what works for two consenting adults, so deal with it.
“In the Name of the Father” is available from Amazon.