Normally I would begin a review with the synopsis of the plot, carefully detailing some succinct information, but not so much as to reveal too much lest it give the story away. But not this time. By That Sin Fell The Angels by Jamie Fessenden deserves something more than a tepid synopsis and short critique. To say that this book (a second edition just re-released by DSP Publications) is timely is a vast understatement. With the SCOTUS decision making the right to marry legal for all, this author’s novel sheds truthful light on the nasty underbelly of a nation at war with itself. All across this country there is both political and religious posturing condemning now lawful gay marriage. Once again the LGBT community finds itself under siege. And that in a nutshell is the plot of this amazing novel.
In a small town, a gay teacher struggles to keep his sexuality and his love for a gay lawyer out of the public spotlight. Quietly he had begun a support group for other gay men, but it has been three years since he placed a flier announcing that group in a public coffee shop and since then he and his group have kept to themselves. So, when Terry receives a phone call at 3 am from a young man obviously distraught and needing to talk, he is wary to extend help. How could this teenager have found a flier that had not been posted in over three years? Little did Terry know then that the phone call he took would lead to devastating consequences for himself and others, including three teen boys who needed a supportive hand but were only shown the cold retribution of a close-minded Christian community.
Jamie Fessenden’s novel opens wide the doors of bigotry and hate that currently hide in some (please note the word “some”) supposed Christian communities across this country. Through a changing point of view and a daily log of a town in turmoil, this author uses incredible skill at unfolding a story that rings with truth and sincerity. My heart wept for these characters and every page had me understanding more how incredibly suffocating religious hate is to men and women in this country who simply ask to have the same right as you and I to love another person.
I was drawn into this remarkable plot that followed a roller coaster of reactionary events that pushed its characters to the breaking point. Threats of lost jobs, attempted suicide, and attempted murder all piled up on top of one another as a town lost its mind in a zealous effort to “protect its children from the pestilence of sin that is the homosexual lifestyle.” I wept as innocent victims fell under the hatred of bigotry and ignorance. I cheered as one teacher made the decision to stand his ground and fight against the intolerable weight of a community’s self-righteous shaming. And with every page I saw glimpses of our nation, and I shook my head in dismay.
By That Sin Fell The Angels by Jamie Fessenden is not just some political rant or condemnation of all religion; rather it is a novel that begs the question of how we can stand and allow hate to continue to drive our country. Wrapped up in an smartly written and intriguing story, the truth that all people have the right to love whom they please cries out on every page of this novel. I highly recommend By That Sin Fell The Angels by Jamie Fessenden to you.
A review copy of this book was provided by DSP Publications.