Priest by Sierra Simone

priestTitle: Priest

Author: Sierra Simone

Year of publication: 2015

The heroine: Former stripper/CPA Poppy Davenport

The hero: Priest Tyler Bell

The blurb: There are many rules a priest can’t break. A priest cannot marry. A priest cannot abandon his flock. A priest cannot forsake his God.

I’ve always been good at following rules.

Until she came. Then I learned new rules.

My name is Tyler Anselm Bell. I’m twenty-nine years old. Six months ago, I broke my vow of celibacy on the altar of my own church, and God help me, I would do it again.

I am a priest and this is my confession.

Standalone or series: First in the Priest series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: I love reading independently published books. I subscribe to Bookbub, and every morning I wake up to an email with links to free and cheap books. I find this an excellent way to discover new authors and you can specify the types of books you want in your chosen genre.

‘Priest’ was free through Bookbub, and I was drawn to it because of its theme. I love forbidden romances, and years ago I plotted out a story about a priest who falls in love with a parishioner, so I snapped it up immediately.

I loved this book. It was well written and captivating. The subject matter – a priest who falls in love with a woman he can’t have – is quite serious, and could easily have been handled poorly. Sierra did a really nice job of capturing Tyler’s struggle of being both a priest and a man.

Tyler was ordained three years ago, and he’s the parish priest of a small town called Weston. He found God after his older sister, Lizzy, killed herself at 19 because she was being molested by the local parish priest. Her family, including Tyler and his three brothers, has never been the same. Tyler turned to God and eventually became a priest himself, determined to be a good priest and restore his parishioners’ faith in the church.

One day, a woman steps into the confessional box. A woman he has never seen before. She’s not Catholic and has never done this before, but he’s drawn to her. He wants to help her, because she’s obviously weighed down by her troubles, but he’s also attracted to her, something that has never happened in all the years he’s been a priest.

Tyler and Poppy fall in love, and Tyler tries very hard to fight it. He takes his vows to God and the Catholic Church very seriously, but he begins to doubt that this is the path he should follow. He struggles with his love for the Church, his love for God, and his love for Poppy. He eventually decides to leave the priesthood because he wants to marry Poppy, but he catches her kissing her ex, who then releases photos he had taken of them kissing online, so Tyler has no choice but to walk away.

He spend the next seven months in Kenya on a mission helping locals there, then decides to track Poppy down. He’d gifted her Lizzy’s rosary and Poppy had left it for him before she fled town, so he wants to give it back and see her one last time to get closure. He finds her in a church, of all places (and I loved the symbolism of that), and she reveals why she kissed the ex and that yes, she still loves him. They get their happily ever after.

There’s a novella after this book, set three years later, and another book about one of Tyler’s brothers, Sean.

There is very strong language and explicit sex scenes, so if that’s not your cup of tea you won’t like this book. But if you’re cool with that, you should read it. It’s currently free at Amazon for Kindle, so hurry and download it now.