Author: Sierra Simone
Publisher by: Independent
Published on: December 8, 2015
Genres: Erotic Romance, Romance
Related Books: Priest
We are told that God will punish the wicked. That sinful men will reap what they sow. We are told to scourge our souls with prayer and pain to become clean once again.
Well, here I am. Wicked and sinful. Desperate to become clean…even though it feels so good to be dirty.
But even I never expected what came next.
Even I never expected my punishment to come so soon.
***Midnight Mass is a novella and a sequel to Priest. It’s intended for mature audiences only.***
***Possible Spoiler Alert***
Midnight Mass is Ms. Simone’s follow up to Priest and takes places four years later. One month in the life of Tyler and Poppy Bell. This is a turning point within the marriage of Tyler and Poppy.
Poppy still has her studio which is very successful. She is working on a gala that is the opening of the flagship studio. Tyler, well, hm. Tyler is still struggling with guilt. He is currently a PhD candidate, writing his dissertation and teaching undergraduate classes at Princeton. Written in the prologue, Tyler feels that he is still haunted by the ghosts of his former self.
“There’s the small boy who used to run into his sister’s room after having a nightmare. There’s the teenager who pulled that same sister from a rafter in his parents’ garage. There’s the college student who drowned his pain in aggressive sex and whiskey. “And then there’s the parish priest who couldn’t stop himself from falling in love.”
Tyler, literally made me want to reach into the book and smack him across his face. The story is told in his point of view. So yes, I wanted to smack him. After four years, he still feels guilty about falling in love and leaving the church. He is also jealous of the time that Poppy is spending with a co-worker, Anton. Of course, he feels guilty because at the moment, he thinks that he is neglecting his wife. He is working long hours through the night writing the dissertation trying to finish it up before his interview with the panel. Poppy is working long hours trying to get the flagship studio set up. Needless to say, the constant absence of Tyler is slowly adding fuel to a fire that he does not even know is building within Poppy. The big blow up happens and Poppy tells Tyler that she needs a break. She wants him to leave until she is ready for him to come back.
I loved how strong Poppy’s character has become with the help of Tyler’s love. While Tyler is the dominate in the bedroom, Poppy is the dominate in the marriage. Tyler is still completely besotted with his wife.
“Even after three years of marriage, that word still punctured me, pained me with the beautiful awe and wonder of it all. This woman, this polished, driven, smart-as-f**k woman, had chosen me”.
Tyler needs to go counseling and work on his self-esteem. His issue is that he holds everything in. I am not sure why, unless he is a typical guy. However, she is strong. She loves him. I loved getting to chapter nine and reading what Poppy tells Tyler. He needed it. So did she. Tyler needed everything that happens in the book to learn to move on. To get over his guilt and jealousy. Ms. Simone writes beautifully,
“Life is a spiral. As long as we lived, we would keep moving forward. But on a spiral path, getting closer to your destination meant periodically passing the same things – emotions, issues, character flaws – over and over again, the way a person walking up a spiral staircase would continually find himself facing north, every ten steps or so.”
What Tyler had to go through to get to the point where he finally understood what that statement meant is heartbreaking. I had tears in my eyes. This was the point where I felt that Tyler almost hit bottom.
“I felt so hollow and yet so full, so blank and yet so scrawled upon by events outside my control…..this ridiculous distance between me and all the people I cared about. Nothing felt real, nothing felt intimate or close or true—it all seemed like a terrible movie of my life that I was being forced to watch from hundreds of feet away”.
Tyler has one more trial to face before the ending of the book. This is the one that could have broken him completely, however, he moved forward.
“That spiral again. The same steps but with different meanings. The same actions but with different consequences. Maybe it was my penance, my duty, but I didn’t care for her out of guilt – although the guilt hovered elsewhere, I cared for her because I loved her”.
What a huge meaningful statement for Tyler to make. His actions through the second dark time allowed Poppy to heal and for both of them to come together stronger.
“And suddenly I took a step forward on my path, advanced along my spiral several paces. Quitting my addiction to guilt wouldn’t be easy. It would probably be an emotional project for the next few years…maybe for the rest of my life. But I couldn’t help Poppy leave her guild behind if I didn’t do the same with my own”.
At that point, you know that Tyler and Poppy are going to be okay. They are going to succeed and live a long and happy life together. This realization comes to Tyler during Midnight Mass.
“Midnight Mass. It started as a tradition in the Holy Land, where believers would gather in Bethlehem during the night and then, torches in hand, walk towards Jerusalem, making it to the city at dawn. A ritual that could fuse narrative into real life, where followers of Christ could stand in the same place He was born before making a pilgrimage to the Holy city.”
I have never attended a Midnight Mass, however, I have attended Christmas Eve services. Christmas is a time for a new beginning. It is the celebration of a life born.
“One hour into Christmas morning, a new beginning was being born” for both of them. For Tyler and Poppy, it was a beautiful, hopeful ending of a tragic month and a beautiful, hopeful start to a new chapter in their lives together.
I loved this book. It was beautifully written. I loved the continuation of the characters and the hopeful ending that Ms. Simone wrote. Make sure you have some tissues handy. If you are a sap like me, you will need them.