Title: And It Came To Pass
Author: Laura Stone
Artist: CB Messer
Publisher: Interlude Press
Release date: 5/18/17
Rating: 4.5 stars
Warnings: Assault, institutionalized homophobia
Adam Young is a devout Mormon whose life is all planned out, by both his strict father and his church. He follows the path they’ve established for him, goes off to his mission in Barcelona, Spain, and realizes that his life may not follow the trajectory already chosen for him.
His mission companion, Brandon Christensen, is a handsome, enthusiastic practitioner on the surface. But as their mission progresses, they both realize they have major questions about their faith… and substantial feelings for one another.
Oh my heck. If this book wasn’t fiction, and you looked up “repressed” in the dictionary, you’d absolutely find a picture of Adam Young. Two pictures, even, because in one, his stoic expression reflects the seriousness with which he regards Heavenly Father, and in the second, he’s double-guessed himself and tried for a smile, because he’s full of the airy joyousness of God’s love and…stuff. Isn’t he?
Reader, he is not. Adam arrives in Barcelona for his two-year mission weighted with what can only be described as dread. He’s spent his entire life being told by literally everyone he knows that being called (as is the term) to field work is an exciting and important part of his religious journey, one that will give him purpose and satisfaction almost instantly, if he does it right. And there’s no doubt that Adam can follow every rule in every book down to the tiniest detail, so why does Spain feel like a different planet? His supervisors and the fellow missionaries who become his peers are essentially the same ~type of folks he’s grown up with, guided by the same boring (slash comforting) routine as always, but they may as well be literal aliens to Adam, for all he can relate to them. The isolation he experiences is staggering.
Except there’s Brandon. Brandon, Adam’s new companion, who is cheerful and charming and by far the most successful member of their mission group. Brandon, tall and handsome, with a family that loves not only him, but each other too; Adam can’t even imagine his parents sharing a hug. He gets caught up in Brandon’s effusiveness – as probably anyone would, when starved of affection for almost 20 years – and everything is going along rather swimmingly until Chapter 4, when Brandon dares to voice a single question about a direction they’ve been given for approaching potential converts.
It’s a mild query, the nature of which has run through Adam’s own mind more than once (more than ten times, to be honest), but he is stunned to hear it fall out of Brandon’s mouth. To give breath to such doubt is a sin! To do so as the de-facto class president is probably two sins! Why, Adam would be working himself into a proper fury if he weren’t so distracted by how much he agrees with Brandon and wants him to keep talking.
And therein lies the rub. The more Brandon asks out loud, the more unable Adam grows to just…not answer him, and pretty soon they’re using what little free time they have to independently, critically explore the texts, testaments and procedures they’ve been taught since birth. Brandon’s parents are able to fill in most gaps as they pop up, and though Adam remains kind of anxious and scandalized, he comes into himself as a thinking adult with a swiftness and surety that almost made me cry with its sweetness. The growth of his character and the accompanying (absolutely lovely) dynamic between Adam and Brandon are only two of the many reasons to pick up And It Came To Pass – just the third novel from the talented Laura Stone – as soon as you get the chance.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for a fair & honest review.