New Men: Bonds of Brotherhood
Mario Dell’Olio (@DellOlioMario)
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)
“The new men at NAC seemed to be a different breed. There always seemed to be some drama brewing among them. The guys were incredibly forward with their desires and sexual preferences. They called out hypocrisy or any perceived injustice that may have occurred…”
What happens when the will of ‘God’ and the heart of men collide? Could there be anything better than to be in love in Rome, one of the most romantic cities on the planet? Where though does it leave you if your ‘love’ is regarded with bigotry and disdain by those who you are learning to call ‘brothers’… in the seminary where you are training to be a priest?
So many questions and much to ponder as the destinies of the young men Anthony, Kevin and Miguel are intertwined here in New Men: Bonds of Brotherhood. How does one deal with falling in love with your best friend but having to hide it from the world? For Miguel, in particular, his love comes at a price. Miguel never thought he’d meet the love of his life while studying but when he falls head over heels for the vibrant young woman who greets her life with such a sense of adventure it changes everything.
If you’ve enjoyed the fiction of André Aciman you’re in the right place because much like Call Me By Your Name, New Men is a multi-layered treat.
'everyone's a critic'
Mario Dell’Olio writes with a sizzling mixture of passion, theological insight and heartfelt descriptive skill. He makes what could be a trite ‘the homophobia from the church and society is evil’ message is handled with a light touch and witty tale of idealism and hope. It’s an impressive skill to blend a cross-genre romance that keeps fizzing along whilst bringing plenty of historical fiction, and no small amount of insider knowledge of life in a seminary too.
The struggle of being gay and Catholic is one that doesn’t often get explored in such a backdrop of training for ministry but Dell’Olio blows the doors off the intolerance and hypocrisy that the young heroes find themselves facing. The book is a powerful testament to how those who preach ‘love your fellow man’ don’t like when you take them literally…
I might be a straight guy, but this book was a fascinating romance-against-the-odds and I’d recommend it to anyone who is LGBTQ+ friendly and ideally beyond as there is real spirituality to be found in these pages.
The best seminary set novel I’ve experienced – and that’s from someone who spent 7 years working for a theological college!?
Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(5 - A vital joy of hidden romance and struggle)
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