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Vespertine

Written by: Leta Blake, Indra Vaughn
Narrated by: Michael Ferraiuolo
Length: 14 hrs and 18 mins
Categories: LGBT
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

Can a priest and a rock star obey love's call? 

Seventeen years ago, Jasper Hendricks and Nicholas Blumfeld's childhood friendship turned into a secret, blissful love affair. They spent several idyllic months together until Jasper's calling to the Catholic priesthood became impossible to ignore. Left floundering, Nicky followed his own trajectory into rock stardom, but he never stopped looking back. 

Today, Jasper pushes boundaries as an out, gay priest, working hard to help vulnerable LGBTQ youth. He's determined to bring change to the church and the world. Respected, admired, and settled in his skin, Jasper has long ignored his loneliness. 

As Nico Blue, guitarist and songwriter for the band Vespertine, Nicky owns the hearts of millions. He and his bandmates have toured the world, lighting their fans on fire with their music. Numbed by drugs and fueled by simmering anger, Nicky feels completely alone. When Vespertine is forced to get sober, Nicky returns home to where it all started. 

Jasper and Nicky's careers have ruled their lives since they parted as teens. When they come face to face again, they must choose between the past's lingering ghosts or the promise of a new future.

©2015 Leta Blake (P)2019 Leta Blake

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Zizawah
  • 2019-12-30

Slow burn romance with wonderful narration

I’m a Leta Blake fan. I’ve pretty much read most of her books. However, I didn’t pick up Vespertine until now because I didn’t think I would like to read about a priest (I kind of saw Thorn Birds when I was very young and was disgusted by Father Ralph). However, with Michael F. narrating (he’s one of my fav narrators), I decided to give it a try AND very glad I did.

Father Jazz (Jasper) is SO unlike awful Father Ralph that I’m rooting for his happiness throughout. He’s honest, helpful, caring, and generous. Nicky, born of an addict mother, has been an addict and now out of rehab, a stone throw away from letting all go, and he’s come home to seek a closure of sorts. Jazz and Nicky grew up together and discovered their friendship morphed into one of desire. However, an unlucky separation divided them from each other for over a decade and neither expected the other to still have feelings for each other.

The story is a slow burn romance — it’s honest and emotional but not overly angsty. The past was threaded into the story so well that you don’t get a sense of displacement that can happen with flashbacks in some stories. Supporting cast was well defined and very real. I love how Jazz and Nicky’s connection to each other gets re-established, strengthened, and became tangible. The ending was perfect though the mixup near the end was very near a tragedy.

As for the narration, there’s a reason Michael is one of my absolute favorites. You can get lost in his narration. He’s soulful, soothing, and just incredibly romantic! The story is addictive once you started. I was lost in it and can’t wait to get back into it when I had to take a break. Definitely recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Neta_BER
  • 2019-12-30

Beautiful, touching and narrated to perfection!

I had this book in my Kindle library for so long, and now that it's out on audio with Michael Ferraiuolo behind the mic I knew this was my chance to get to it! Michael outdid himself here, with rich characters, distinguishable voices and emotion bursting from my earbuds.
I adored Jazz'es voice, Michael made him so gentle and innocent sounding and it fit him perfectly. I was always feeling like he needed a cuddle. I liked his character too, his devotion to LGBTQ+ homeless teens was a central part of the story.
Nicky was, by far, my favorite character. His emotional journey is compelling and so real feeling. I liked that it was not written in an overly dramatic manner, that the drug addiction was something he is getting over and not the focal point of gruesomely detailed events. I also liked that it took them time to get back to the friendship they shared, and even more time to fall back to the romance of so long ago.
This was a story that was a lot less dramatic then I was anticipating, and if you read other books by Leta and Indra in the past this one will not warrant 5 packs of tissues while still having an emotional kick in the guts. I enjoyed it immensely, and I hope there might be another story in this world.

1 person found this helpful

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  • The Book Wench
  • 2020-02-05

A good story, but so painful

This was a really hard story to listen to. There was so much happening, so much suffering, so much grief and joy, so much love between the Reverend Jasper Hendricks and his old lover-turned-enemy-turned lover again Nicholas Blumfeld -- aka Nico Blue, guitarist and songwriter to the world-renowned band Vespertine. The story begins in so much fragility, so much woundedness, so much guilt and grief that it weighed me down and I almost gave up on it. And though there are many warm and happy moments, many hopeful and sweet moments, and some heated times, the dark overtones remain. I loved the way they came back to each other, and I appreciated the way the writer taught us about what it's like to be an addict in recovery. I listened to the end but never managed to completely shed the pain I felt at the beginning and all the way through. Michael Ferraiuolo did a great job of differentiating the characters and emoting at important points, whether in laughter or tears, whether in tender or heated moments.

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  • Claudia CG Lezar
  • 2020-01-21

as great as the ebook

The story is always full stars, because if I wouldn't like the story as ebook, I wouldn't listen to the audiobook.

The performance from the narrator is also very important for me. I can't listen to a lot, because my English as a non-native-speaker isn't so perfect to follow a whole story over hours, when the narrator speaks too fast or too sloppy. Normally I have to SEE the person, who is talking to me in English. Michael Ferraiuolo is one of the top 5 narrators for me, I can listen without break and have no problems to follow.
I'm just not yet finish with the book, but I listen enough to give a review.

PLEASE READ MY RATING SYSTEM!!!

To my ratings:

5* - very very good
it's like an A+

4* - very good and will be often re-listening
it's like an A

3* - it's more then a one-time-listening.
it's like a B

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  • Cynthia Lewis
  • 2020-01-19

blue oasis

i loved the book and i loved the audio just as much if not more.

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  • Randall J
  • 2020-01-17

A rocker and a priest? Oh, yes!!

A amazing book like this comes along once every ten years, if you’re lucky... I loved it! Narration by Michael Ferraiulo is flawless!

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  • Annika
  • 2020-01-09

Perfect and beautiful second chance story

I’m always hesitant to pick up books where religion of any kind play a huge role. I’m not a religious person. I never have been, and probably never will be. I worry that the books will turn out preachy, with scripture quotes etc. On the other hand, previously I’ve read one book with a priest as a main character that balanced in religion just perfectly. It’s a book that has stuck with me for years and will stay with me for many years to come. And after finishing Vespertine I can happily add another book to that short list.

For a long time I didn’t know where I wanted the book to go in regards to Jasper and his priesthood and Nicky. I mean Jazz knew from early on he was destined for the church, not even Nicky, the love of his life, could keep him from that fate. For years he was happy in his role and never questioned the choices he’d made. He loved helping his congregation and the LGBTQ youth community. That is until Nicky came back into his life, re-awakening old feelings and wants. Only those feelings and being a Catholic priest were mutualy exclusive. He had to choose one or the other.

This is something I don’t and probably won’t ever understand. Why isn’t a Catholic priest allowed to love? Why does the church put regulations on whom to love – and who is allowed to love and in what way? That part is infuriating to me. The world needs all the love it can get. Love is a beautiful thing and putting limits on it feels wrong to me. But the world is as it is, and change takes time – if that will ever change.

Indra Vaughn and Leta Blake did a fantastic job with this book and these characters. They were multi-facetted and genuine. They were relatable. I’m not devout or have ever been addicted to drugs, but these authors and narrator made me feel both Jasper and Nicky’s struggles deep in my bones. Both being dragged in multiple directions, with no clear path of where they should go. How much they should fight the system that put them on the path they find themselves today. They also created a beautiful love story about two men that fell in love when they were teenagers. It was a love that stayed with them both when they were apart. From the beginning it was clear that Nicky and Jasper loved each other, that they both were that elusive “one” for each other. They fit and complimented the other. Sure they had a lot of stuff to work through, old and new, but the end result was worth all the hurt and pain.

The book was performed by Michael Ferraiuolo and I have to say he was a great choice – maybe it was a calling? – for this book. He truly captured the essence of it and characters. The emotions were clear, there were so many times I could hear the smile in his voice – and the heartbreak. He took this story and made it his own, shared it with the listener in a way that captured them in this whirlwind of emotions, good and bad. Because this book is emotional on so many levels. And each and every one of those emotions are given space to be fully explored and felt by the characters, but also by the listener. We go through the withdrawal with Nicky and how much he struggles with being sober. His fear of not being able to create music and in general his place in the world. More than that we feel the love he still has for Jasper, how much he needs him but also how much he doesn’t want to hurt him. As far as Jasper goes, his part is far less angsty and more introspective. His need to save the kids, to keep his shelter open for LGBTQ kids. His growing, or rather returning feelings for Nicky and his need to help. But also his struggles between his priesthood and the love he felt for Jasper. We are there for it all, we feel it all, thanks to a spectacular narration.

This book might be 14+ hours long, but never once did the book feel dragged out or repetitive. It was beautiful, sweet and definitely worth listening to.

A copy of this book was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review for Love Bytes.

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  • Janice Birnie
  • 2020-01-08

A beautiful second chance romance.

Vespertine is a beautifully written and narrated love story that manages to skirt any hint of fetishising the priest and the rock star trope. It is simply a love story that will move you and have you wishing the boys on to a perfect HEA.

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  • Jen Valencia
  • 2020-01-04

No words... 5+ stars!

Okay, so the headline for my review is "No words", but obviously, I review can't be a review if it didn't have words, so fingers crossed I can find words sufficient enough to explain why Vespertine gets the five-plus stars I felt that it deserved. I've listened to all of Leta Blake's currently available audiobooks, and while I have read Indra Vaughn's Patchwork Paradise, I've yet to listen to its audio version, so this one counts as my first from her, even if it is co-written. And...drum roll, please...it's narrated by none other than Michael Ferraiuolo, one of the most gifted voice-over talents out there, and clearly one of two of Blake's go-to narrators (the other being John Solo).

The story itself is considered a controversial one, what with one of the main characters being a Catholic priest. You'd think that being Catholic would have me shying away from books like Vespertine, but to be honest, I'm drawn to them, particularly when they're written by authors that I love or when the blurb sounds original enough to pique my interest. I want to see how the faith is presented and how the main characters find their way to each other. Suffice it to say, Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn have given me what I would consider the most original take on this particular story line. Now, I've had the eBook for a few years now, but it wasn't until I had the audiobook that I decided to do a read-along while listening to the audio, and goodness, but how this turned out to be one of the best dual experiences I've ever had.

Jasper Hendricks and Nicholas Blumfeld were friends who fell in love but went their separate ways. Jasper went on to become an ordained priest in the Catholic faith and Nicky launched a career as a rock star with his band, Vespertine. I loved how even when they grew up and turned into Father Jazz and Nico Blue, they were still Jasper and Nicky at their very core. As teenagers, a life together was not meant to be. Ironically, as adults seventeen years later, it was when everything was far more complicated that the possibility of having a future was far more palpable. I loved how this story was told, both in terms of Blake and Vaughn's writing and Ferraiuolo's narration. This was angsty and heavy, yet tempered by bites of wit and more lighthearted blips. Dare I say that Vespertine was Blake, Vaughn, AND Ferraiuolo at their best. Five-plus stars for this highly recommended audiobook. (And well, will you look at that? I actually found the words for this review!) ♥

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  • loveQhuay
  • 2020-01-04

Beautiful isn't a big enough world for this audio!

What happens when two my favorite thing came together? Awesomeness, that's what!

Michael's voice is GOLD. Eargasm every time I listen to one of his audiobook. And Vespertine is my all time favorite, so I was really happy when this audio came out.

Jasper and Nicky's voices were so good, I loved listening to them.

And now, my review back from 2years ago (translated from my original hungarian review)

There are books tthat broke your heart, books that makes you the happiest, books what makes you smile, what makes you cry, and there's Vespertine, which gives you all the above.

This book was everything I've never hoped for, and everything I've ever needed. A love story and a friendship, both lasting forever. So much emotions on the pages and I could feel all of them, and they were so beautiful I could cry.

A love story between a rockstar and a priest. A man who's first love meant the world to him, and a man who believed his mother that love isn't last forever. Two lives on different ways, but deep inside both wants the same. And then the old feelings comes on the surface again, and what they thought would be a friendship, turns into more.

I was there with them while reading their story.
I was afraid.
I was afraid of each and every page.
I was afraid, because I couldn't imagine a world where a priest and a rockstar could live in love and be happy forever.
I was afraid, because I couldn't imagine a world where a priest and a rockstar couldn't live in love and be happy forever.
I was afraid, because I didn't know when would find Nicky a way to the drugs again.
I was afraid, because I didn't know how would Jason decide.
And I was afraid, because I didn't wanted to feel all those feelings, they were too much, and at the end all comes out from me in a big sobbing.

This book was everything. Perfect in every way possible. And I'm so so happy that I read this book, becaus it gave me so much. It broke me, but i'm happy about it.

Father Jizz was the best scene! LOL They were so funny, and I loved when Jazz was priest, and loved when he was just a man like any other.

Beautiufl isn't a big enough world that describes this book.

Highly recommend both in ebook and in audio format!