ACCLAMATION (ACCLAMATION #1)
Writing the first-person account of Michael Cassidy, who becomes a Catholic school teacher in the aftermath of the tragic death of his boyfriend, Hoffman balances beautifully lyrical prose with a sensual exploration of people and places.
Ashebrook, its warm community and the house inherited from his aunt provide a comfortable haven for Michael, but it’s the friendship with neighbouring Butler family and their son Dominic that proves most rewarding.
Teacher, friend, soon confidant, Michael understands Dominic’s secrets more than anyone in his sheltered Catholic community, but what else can he allow himself to hope for when love offers him a second chance?
I wish I was half as good with my words as Michael Cassidy. Maybe then I will do this book the justice it deserved but please bear with me on this.
Let me tell you first that I was so surprised I did not chance upon this book earlier and that it was not well known. I stumbled upon this series by accident and was so intrigued by the whole settings I immediately bought it. I was always looking for a series with a constant couple, where I could invest myself on them and not feel that everything is too rushed, too short, too unrealistic. Add in the age-gap, the promise of drama and angst and the controversy of the religion and I was sold! Not that I was a fan of reading mm with a huge religious influence but I liked the drama it usually gives and I was not disappointed. For those having hangups about the religious parts, don’t, Acclamation has enough of it for the conflicts but not enough to be overdone.
This book might not be for everyone in the way it’s being written. It was more of a personal diary or memoir rather than a novel to me. And Michael, as the narrator, was very fond of fancy words, describing stuff related to him in details and leaving anything else vague. You could really see and feel how personal, how biased and how exaggerated it was. More than a few times I thought to myself what a dramatic queen Michael was, but then it felt just right, it was so him to be writing that. This style of writing was something I did not have the chance to read a lot, by my own fault or just the lack of them, but I was only finishing the first chapter and felt positively giddy with excitement. All the promises and great potentials it held!
“What’s the use in dreaming, if you’re not going to fly?”
Reading this book, I felt like peeking at another person’s love letter, a very lavish and fancy one at that. And I loved every single moment of it! Acclamation, as the first book of the series, was like a warmth cocoon of fluff and perfection from the way Michael narrates it. The tentative relationship between him and Dominic was budding, fragile and seemed beautiful. I read with a little dread at the back of my mind at how fragile it was, how easily broken. Of course, Michael himself was not perfect and seemed to have a penchant for drama, I was not sure whether everything was not written under his rose-colored glasses.
Dominic as the mature high school student was portrayed as nothing but perfect, even when he himself denies it. And really everything here was so different from the cliché m/m romance themes that are floating around in the community. It showed another sides of the “taboo” topics and beautified it. Of course everything here was Michael’s own opinions and perceptions and he was not the most innocent and upstanding man himself which of course, I liked.
“Desire. You can’t fight that; you can only fight yourself after it hits you…”
I found it very adorable and heartwarming to see Michael and Dominic falling in love deeper with each others. All the description and how helpless Michael was the more he got into it. It was bordering codependency and might not been healthy but the way he seemed lovestruck and obsessed about every little thing about Dominic made me go “awww” anyway. Especially whenever he mentioned Dominic smiling shyly. (Which he did very often I found!) /o\
“My lips pursed on the shuddering feather softness of his belly and a sigh broke from Dominic that invaded and destroyed and rebuilt my brain, rebuilt it with a true, unwavering knowledge that I was his now. If he wanted, he could do as he wished, but I knew then that no matter the consequence I would follow his whims, wherever they might lead me.”
“My whole body felt light, unguarded. I leaned in without even thinking about it, not too much at least, and kissed Dominic’s lips. I felt him smile against my mouth and it was like the openness of the bridge and the river and the sky and the city got bigger and more infinite as we pressed together, warming each other, happy. So very happy. Ever after.
That must be what it feels like, to dream of flying.”
Some might find this longwinded or boring, with all the detailings and flowery words but I just appreciate all of it. This was one of the few books I really enjoyed without really relating with the characters. At some point I just stopped trying to, and enjoyed reading the life of Michael, Dominic and the little community in the country.
I would really like to recommend this to those who want to get away from the wham-bam of the usual m/m books. Not to say that this book wasn’t hot in the least. It was. And it was beautiful at the same time.
“I had never wanted someone like him, physically. But nor had I ever known someone like him, soulfully.”