Title: Faith and Fidelity (Faith, Love, & Devotion #1)
Author: Tere Michaels
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: novel plus
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5, DIK
New York City Vice Detective Evan Cerelli has lost his wife, the only person he ever loved and slept with. He’s trying to get on with his life, build a life for his children. Former Homicide Detective Matt Haight is a ladies’ man, all sex/no commitment. He’s depressed, having a midlife crisis, and not sure where his life is headed.
The two find friendship in the bottom of a shared bottle. When the friendship turns to love, it shakes two straight men to the core and flips their lives inside out. Kids, families, careers that are not gay-friendly — can all the love in the world overcome the obstacles to faith and fidelity?
Faith, Love, & Devotion Series
Evan Cerelli never expected that a year after his wife’s accidental death he would meet and fall in love with someone else. Most of all he never would have dreamed that the new person in his life would be a man.
The first few pages of this book were very sombre and depressing and I almost didn’t continue reading. Evan was burying his wife of 20 years who had been killed in an automobile accident; he had been in love with Sherri since high school, had never been with anyone else and it was heartbreaking to witness the grief, not only Evan’s but also that of his four children.
Fast forward one year later. Evan is at a retirement party for another cop and he meets Matt Haight, a former detective. Matt had left the department under a cloud because he had broken ranks with his Brothers in Blue by reporting another cop who was dirty; after that his career was basically over as he was reduced in rank from a New York Police Detective to a Staten Island beat cop. He and Evan hit it off at the party and spend the evening talking to each other, finding out that they had a lot in common. Subsequently, they met regularly for weeks in a bar just to talk and have a few drinks, while underneath their new friendship a sexual attraction was growing and other, softer feelings were beginning to emerge. Neither man knew what to do about this new development and phase of their friendship and each one avoided the elephant in the room until they could do so no longer. Matt starts having dreams about Evan that he can’t explain and everything seems to be going wrong as they both grapple with these unfamiliar feelings towards each other. Eventually they can’t resist the pull of their attraction.
The difficulties in rationalizing their friendship and love for each other were highlighted very early on in the story when Evan couldn’t explain his new love interest to his partner Helena, and didn’t correct her when she assumed he was dating a woman, because he doesn’t know how a male love interest will go over with her. His boss is also another hurdle to overcome and he just can’t go there. Ultimately matters are taken out of their hands when Evan suffers an injury on the job while on a takedown, and Matt has to step forward and assume responsibility for the kids for a short time. Friends, inlaws and everyone else muddy the waters until eventually Evan has to make a terrible choice.
Faith and Fidelity is about love, life, death, family and the impact each has on the other. This is also a powerful story about love and loss and loving again which is moving, emotional and poignant. The book is rich in content and the characters are all well drawn and three dimensional, even Evan’s kids who are so wonderful to both their father and Matt, with whom they fell in love, and the feeling was mutual. Both men are past their first youth since they are around 40 and Matt in particular has experienced many of life’s knocks. Clearly Matt wanted to be a member of Evan’s family partly because his own childhood had been so miserable and, at times, watching him with the kids showed how vulnerable he was and how much he needed this to be real. Evan had his own major hurdles to overcome, one of which was to move Sherri from being front and centre in his life to a much loved memory and the past.
What amazed me was Tere Michaels’ sensitivity in making these characters’ love for each other believable since they are both straight men who had made love to and had had relationships with women all their lives, so it was no easy task to have them transition into this new role. The author did an excellent job on this aspect of the book and also by not minimizing the difficulties Evan would have to face on the job and with family and friends, and she showed how loving another person transcended formerly held views about gender. The story held my interest throughout as it moved from Evan’s and Matt’s first meeting to their difficulties in coming to terms with what their attraction to each other could mean by changing their lives and those of Evan’s children, as well as other people’s perceptions. Faith and Fidelity is complex, touching and emotional as Matt and Evan battle to stay with each other despite all the difficulties, and at times it seemed as if Matt was the only one fighting for their love because Evan had so much more to lose – his family for starters and maybe even his job. Above all, this is a romance that’s incredibly life changing, but mostly it is about two lonely people who are trying to start their lives over with someone they love.
The portrayals were intelligent and did not veer off into fantasyland and while there were many opportunities for the story to become a real tearjerker, the author avoided that trap. It’s rare to find a book with so many terrific characters where all of them are so well drawn and work together fluidly. There were a couple of issues that I had with the book and one was the editing and typos; the second was that throughout the book, Matt and Evan seemed to only have oral sex with each other which I don’t believe is the norm for men in any kind of relationship. However, maybe it takes time for the guys to fully experience the joys of their new sexuality:) and hopefully they will explore a full range of sexual options in the author’s new book Love and Loyalty, due to be released by Loose Id on September 8th, where I believe there might be a little more of Evan and Matt, even though it will be Jim’s story. You have to read Faith and Fidelity to find out who is Jim. The sequel to Matt’s and Evan’s story is planned to be submitted by the author to the publisher by the end of the summer so there’s a possibility of a fall/winter release.
I really enjoyed this book and would rate it as excellent for both the content and the characters.