Lead Me Not, Ann Gallagher
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
Well, when I first was looking for info about Ann Gallaher it seemed this was a debut book. I was very intrigued by the story premise though and decided to request it. Its a fabulous read which I was really pulled into, characters for whom I was so invested in thier future, bigotry, hate and anger wrapped up in a message of God’s word. A really interesting read, full of things to think of. Then when I came to write this review I discovered Ann is the alter ego of one f my favourite authors L.A.Witt – no wonder I loved this book. she writes people I care about, stories that make me think and question myself…
Isaac and Colton were true stars of the book. Colton was thrown out of his home at a very young age for being gay, and has gone through an incredible amount of trauma before being found by Pastor Mike, who runs an open to everyone church, and a shelter for those in need. Through him Colton has found God and now works nights as a barman in a gay bar, and spends most of his free time helping with the church and shelter – he wants to do all he can to help others escape the life he fell into. Then Isaac turns up and its an attraction he feels strongly, after being afraid for so long. There’s something about Isaac, he’s cautious, shy and so innocent of all that being gay means. He tells Colton he’s only just come out even though he’s also in his mid twenties, and Colton offers to help him find his way after the awful start he got beaten up outside the bar by homophobes.
Isaac is struggling, this life is not at all like his church, led by his father, has always preached. The people aren’t sexual deviants, lustful and degenerate…he doesn’t understand either how the church Colton attends can be so open about something he’s always been taught God absolutely forbids, and after attending several sessions he starts to think. Is it like Colton and Pastor Mike say – simply that the bible is God’s word but times have changed, and interpretations for things differ. They give a new meaning to the stories Isaac has been told prohibit homosexuality. Its all making him very confused, along with his growing feelings for Colton. Can it really be so wrong to kiss him when it feels so right? He’s praying constantly, and struggling with his upbringing in a very devout, homophobic church against what he’s learned since being in his new role…
It illustrates for me all the things that make me a non church going Christian type. I can’t believe that God, if he exists ( I do believe in some form of higher being, just not sure what it is) can be so unforgiving. Why let people love each other if its wrong? And why do people “cherry pick” which stories to believe. The parts referring to the Bible here are some that I know, and had been taught the traditional interpretation so reading Pastor Mike’s views felt far more comfortable, and fit well with my belief that the bible is a set of stories, passed down verbally through generations and open to interpretations and the “Chinese whispers” facet that belongs to verbal histories. Why do we know it forbids shellfish and mixed fibres ( I didn’t know that last one) but ignore it, and if God’s word via the bible is law why are we still not stoning wives for adultery…sadly in some parts they still do, but in the educated world we like to thing we’ve adapted, so why not adapt all the Bible, look at all interpretations. I’ve always thought the story of Job,. held up to us as kids as a testament of his Faith, was unfair to the wives ( plural –we don’t do that either- and kids that died. What had they done wrong? The story of the man who was told by God to kill his first born son, and takes him up to a mountain, pulls out a knife and has it at the boys throat, before Gods says “ sorry, just a test – you’ve passed” We’d lock him up now if he did that!
Its a great read, full of things to ponder, a beautiful and tender romance, and a story that makes me wonder once again why people are so bigoted. Its really sad that awful as the things are in this novel they aren’t the worst things that happen to people, and under the guise of religion people are happy to spout bigotry and abandon their families, genuinely believing that its what god wants….Isaac and Colton’s histories show this so well, and feel so real. There’s a short epilogue that ties up any lose ends I’ve wondered about, and I really enjoyed that. I like to see what’s in store done the road for those I’ve come to love, and just a few pages is a perfect ending .
Stars: Five,a beautiful and tender romance, surrounded by a very thought provoking story.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers