Review: When Heaven Strikes by F.E. Feeley Jr.

Can love survive heaven’s wrath?

Artist Ted Armstrong lives a solitary and eccentric life. The survivor of child abuse disguised as religion, Ted has cut himself off from the world.

Then Ted meets Anderson Taylor, and it’s like being struck by lightning.

Anderson is a cardiac surgeon whose passion for his work has consumed him. He fears he’ll never find a partner—until he sets eyes on Ted. It’s happening fast, but both men know what they feel is right.

Confronted with an angry preacher, a scandal, and an act of God that threatens to destroy everything, their relationship will face its first true test.

This story is told in two parts. Part 1 is a dual POV between Anderson and Ted. Ted is an artist who is still healing the damage done to him by his fundamentalist Christian family. He is reclusive, and doesn’t want to put himself out there to be hurt by anyone. The most social he gets is when he does gallery showings to sell his art.

Anderson is a surgeon, and the story starts off with him as a child during a beach trip and his family’s reaction to him, while a storm blows through. It sets the tone of something dark and broody, and I was expecting something much more angsty than it actually was, based on that prologue.

Part 1 is the set up of Ted and Anderson’s meeting, and subsequent relationship. I enjoyed reading about how they met, and getting to know them. There is just enough collective backstory to understand why they are the way they are, and their reservations about connecting on an intimate level.

Part 2 introduces a fundamentalist preacher and his family. They appear briefly in the first part as door knockers, and this is about how their lives intertwine with Ted and Anderson at a later date.

This flip to entirely new character POV was somewhat confusing, but I wouldn’t call it bad. It set up the rest of the plot, and the overall message and resolution.

There were some things I found over the top. There is violence in this story, so reader beware. There is also a lot of homophobia from secondary characters. There is a tangled web to unravel and some mental illness thrown in for extra points. I’d say that the angst level turned up to the nth degree with a storm blowing in that mirrors the emotional storm that is plaguing the preacher and his wife and the lies they have lived with for most of their married life.

Being Atheist makes me view these types of stories a little differently than I imagine a Christian reader would see things. I appreciate faith based stories intellectually, but I don’t understand them the way I think I am meant to. I did enjoy the way this separated the fundamentalists from other Christian denominations, and that this was not a rejection of Christianity overall. God is very much present in this story, and it created an intellectual debate within my mind about what happens to create strictly fundamental cult like groups and how it is justified when hatred seems to be the driving force that fuels it. I thought that message came across strongly in this story.

Some minor editing errors that I was unable to overlook, but otherwise the writing was strong. This wasn’t hard to read, and only a small part dragged for me toward the end of the story.

I am certainly interested in this author’s other work and will be looking out for anything in the future.

Recommended for readers who enjoy religion in their stories, and those who are looking for something different in their MM romance.

I received a review copy from the author for an honest opinion

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