My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received a free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
Michael Cassidy moves to the small British town of Ashebrook after the death of his boyfriend. As a gay atheist working at a Catholic school, he keeps his sexuality and non-religion hidden in the closet. On one unremarkable day, a chance encounter with his neighbor’s son, Dominic Butler, leads to a friendship that will fill the hole in Michael’s life. Michael’s relationship with Dominic grows into something more as Dominic confesses his deepest secrets and desires. There’s one problem with Michael’s feelings; Dominic is only seventeen, and his student to boot. Dominic promises to wait until he is eighteen, and the two begin a deep, passionate and beautiful love affair in secret. But tragedy is always waiting just around the corner, and Dominic is about to have his life shaped by loss, a pain that Michael knows only too well.
Acclamation is hands-down the best novel I have read this year. It’s a story told with such breathtaking intimacy, such longing and wanting that my stomach coiled itself in knots just reading it. It’s rare for me to cry at a book, let alone at scenes that are not sad, but there were moments reading Acclamation where the sheer beauty of the thing overwhelmed me and I found tears springing to my eyes. The language is crafted with care, every word intentionally chosen and the book never seems to drag or pad itself out. Every scene is necessary to the book, and it is never gratuitous in its use of sex scenes.
You might worry, based on my description, that Dominic being seventeen at the start could mean this is a tale of coercion or abuse. Let me tell you that this is absolutely not the case. Dominic is an old soul, a man wise beyond his years, despite his lack of sexual experience. Michael and Dominic are equals in the relationship that grows between them, despite Dominic being far younger than Michael.
If you want chemistry in a relationship, if you’re looking for a book packed with longing and wanting that doesn’t race to the finish line, Acclamation will be a rare and fine treat for you. This is the kind of book that reminds me why I fell in love with M/M romance in the first place. It’s not a porno with a pretty cover, or a lackluster story of going through the motions in a relationship. It’s a story about love, loss and longing that will leave you reeling when you reach the novel’s powerful conclusion. The next book is on my must-read list. Acclamation is a rare gem, a tale packed with real emotion that will keep you thinking and feeling about its characters long after you’ve turned the last page.