With a deft hand, author F.E. Feeley, Jr. delivers a satisfying emotional punch with his latest novel, When Heaven Strikes. Combining a gorgeous love story with rich commentary on both religion and it’s saving and destructive nature, Feeley goes beyond simple observations on how one can rise above bigoted, fanatical beliefs and allows for faith to be a major part of the fabric of his characters’ lives. So often we tend to see only the negative aspects of what organized religion has done to the gay community in spewing its narrow minded hatred, but this author shows not only that view, but one in which his men and women rise above that to be more compassionate and yet still retain some sort of belief in a high guiding power. I was stunned by the beauty of this novel, by the interwoven story lines that traveled seemingly in opposite directions only to be carefully tied together in the end.
Two men, one an artist, the other a surgeon, with virtually nothing in common other than their aching loneliness and fear of committing to yet another hurtful relationship, find each other. Ted had used his art to escape not only the brutal family life he was raised in, but also any need for emotional attachment to another man. Living a solitary life that allowed him to keep his demons at bay, he never thinks meeting a wealthy elderly sponsor at the gallery will change his life immeasurably. Eleanor is captivated by Ted’s art and commissions a piece by him for her home, but has an ulterior motive when she invites Ted to visit her to see the space where the work will hang and it involves her grandson, Anderson.
Anderson is a workaholic. Having felt the deep betrayal by a friend who used him and tossed him aside, Anderson is loneliness personified, but determined to avoid falling into any relationships that will expose his heart to hurt again. However when he sees the gorgeous artist his grandmother has brought to her home, he throws caution to the wind and slips his number into Ted’s pocket as he is leaving. Once the two men meet again, they quickly realize the deep-seated attraction they are experiencing toward each other for what it is—a new and fragile love. Now they must both be willing to throw aside their reservations and embrace all the scars within that hold their ability to trust in another captive.
With multiple characters whose lives intersect and the forces of nature threatening to tear them all apart, author F.E. Feeley Jr. weaves a love story that will leave you breathless with its beauty. When Heaven Strikes not only allows for healing and understanding to take place, but also carefully opens a window into how our faith can be restored in both humanity and ourselves. He realistically shows how his characters rise above the hate of this modern world and refuse to embrace its violence, instead focusing on compassion and understanding. This is an impeccably written story of love and healing and one I highly recommend to you.