I hope your Monday went well!! I’m really excited for this post because tomorrow, March 15th, is the release day for THE CONFESSIONS, the highly awaited short stories book by Tiffany Reisz.
WARNING: The Confession should be read after The Queen (The Original Sinners #8) as it contains spoilers from the previous books.
Now let’s get to my review, but first, I’d like to thank Tiffany (and Andrew) for the ARC, I truly appreciate it!!!
Three Sinners. Three confessions. And all the dirty little secrets you could possibly desire…
Father Stuart Ballard has been Marcus Stearns’ confessor since the young Jesuit was only eighteen years old. He thought he’d heard every sin the boy had to confess until Marcus uttered those three fateful words: “I met Eleanor.”
So begins the 40-page “The Confession of Marcus Stearns,” a moving coda to the RITA® Award-winning Original Sinners series. Originally published as a limited-edition paperback for the 2014 RT Booklovers’ Convention, and available worldwide for the first time.
This collection also includes “The Confession of Eleanor Schreiber,” a companion 36-page story written exclusively for The Confessions.
And, finally, all secrets are revealed in “The Confession of Tiffany Reisz,” an exclusive, in-depth interview.
MY RATING: 5 SINNING Stars
***ARC recieved from the author in exchange of an honest opinion***
“LOVE IS THE SHARE OF BEING AND HAVING.”
That is my high school motto, from St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order. I might have mentioned before, but I studied at a Jesuit school for my last 5 years of school, before going to college (8th grade and high school, basically). And after finishing THE CONFESSIONS I can say that this motto makes perfectly sense after knowing my Sinners, specially Søren, Nora and Kingsley. I’m more than ever convinced that there is no beginning or ending when these three are concerned.
I think that small quote could explain your favorite “Unholy Trinity” so much. Without Søren being Søren, they couldn’t ever share anything. Unless Søren is Søren they can’t really have him and I don’t think they would want him any other way. Nora realised that early enough when (in The Saint) she promised God she would never take Søren from Him. To Kingsley though, it took a bit more time to realise it (we get to see it in Tiffany’s Confession), but he got it. True love is unselfish, and these three have it mastered. They can share and be themselves freely, but that doesn’t diminishes their love, just the opposite.
I absolutely LOVED THE CONFESSIONS. I think it answers questions long awaited and even questions I didn’t even know I had. It’s the perfect conclusion for me. After everything these characters went through, I thought I had seen everything and I thought I understood them pretty well. But Tiffany, as usual, just shed a lot more light in their story and brings what we needed to truly understand our Sinners.
In The Confession of Marcus Sterns we have Søren‘s confession to Father Ballard. We saw bits and pieces about Father Ballard before in the series, but I loved more of him because he is HILARIOUS. Seriously, he was a joy to read. And he helps us see so much better inside both Søren and Nora’s minds. In these two short stories for me, Father Ballard is the character who represents Tiffany in some ways. How he explains some things and makes them make sense. It’s like he tells us a bit of what was in Tiffany’s mind when she wrote The Original Sinners.
” ‘If you haven’t noticed, looking taller is not something I need help with’, Marcus said.
‘Humility is, however. You hate wearing a cassock because you feel ridiculous wearing one,’ Ballard said. “
I love how in the previous books we see Sørenso wise, even when he was younger, in the White Years. How he was so wise with Nora from the beginning and made her wait. But in THE CONFESSIONS we can see that he has his own doubts too and even being the all mighty Søren, he needed counsel too. I mentioned in my reviews of The Virgin and The Queen that I loved seeing the human side of Søren, seeing him out of the pedestal everyone (including we, the readers) put him. How we could see he was flawed too. But I haven’t see how human he could be until THE CONFESSIONS. Not only from his own confession, but mostly from Nora’s. But we’ll get there…
I’m really glad Søren have Father Ballard in his life. He is a breath of fresh air in the whole catholic stereotype. He is incredbly funny and generous and forgiving and wise. I wonder how Søren would have been without him as his confessor. Would he still be a priest? Would he have forgiven himself from his past? Would he start feeling guilty for everything he lived with Kingsley when they were teens? And would he have let himself love Eleanor?
As I said, Father Ballard’s voice in both this stories is much Tiffany’s voice. It’s the insight we need to understand yet another layer of not only Søren and Nora, but some of the other characters too (even Grace and Zach). And the fact he was so wise and funny made it more enjoyable to read. How he dealt with such dense matters, such difficult ones with such a lightness. That made the story so quintessentially Tiffany’s.
Here is one example of a funny quote from him that got me laughing out loud:
” ‘When I first saw you eleven years ago, I thought the order had only let you in because you’d look good on the recruiting posters.’
‘The Society of Jesus has posters? I should get one for Eleanor. I’ll sign it for her.’ “
One of my favorite things about The White Years books (The Saint, The King, The Virgin and The Queen) is how they show us a lighter and funnier verstion of Søren. He is so funny. We are used to Nora’s funny and snarky comments in the present-day books, but seeing a lighter side of Søren was a true priviledge.
I’m flooed by the depth of his love for both Kingsley and Nora. He truly loves both of them. And even though sometimes the way he shows them and the way he acts with them might be different, I have no doubt he loves them equally. Kingsley was his first love and we can see how impacted by it he was. And then comes Nora, everything he (and Kingsley) could have hoped for and even more. From the moment he met her, it was inevitable that they’d love each other and I believe that loving Kingsley made him more receptive to love Eleanor and for the depth of this love. And because of Nora, he finally rekindled his friendship with Kingsley (and much more as we all know)! Nora is what bind them, but he also can love them separately and that is the beauty of this amazing and unconventional love story Tiffany Reisz created!
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that before, it wasn’t until The White Years that I truly began to love Kingsley. After The Prince I liked him a lot, but I thought he was a bit too jealous of Nora (and she was never jealous of him – we also learn why, which was very insightful). But in The White Years I could see how Kingsley loved Nora too and I understand how he might have felt jealous of her in the present days, specially in The Mistress. Now I can say that I believe Søren 100% when he tells Kingsley in that note that he would have done for Kingsley the same he did for Nora in The Mistress. I get it. Kingsley is human after all and for me he is the character (from the main three ones, or the “Unholy Trinity” ) that most shows his vulnerability. Søren is complety all mighty and Nora is someone we so far couldn’t be affected by petty things like jealousy. It makes sense for Kingsley to feel that way and only after that bridge burns down he and Søren go back to being intimate (we also learn from Tiffany why the wait, which again, was VERY insightful). But that doesn’t diminish Kingsley’s feelings as I once thought. Kingsley is very real and I could more than ever put myself in his shoes. I guess because he is a man it was always hard for me to connect with him as much as I did with Nora. I have zero problem with his bisexuality (it’s HAWT), but for me it was always easier to put myself in Nora’s shoes. But not anymore. I’m glad Kingsley grew up to be such a center character in the story because these books, specially The White Years, wouldn’t have been the same without him.
I honestly don’t think Søren loves one more than the other. As I mentioned his love for Kingsley and his love for Nora are different kinds of love and for once I’m glad both Kingsley and Nora have their own subs now too. I get now why Kingsley sided with Nora when she left Søren, because if he couldn’t accept the Mistress side of her it meant he might not accept that Kingsley was a switch too. I think that Søren accepted Kingsley for what he was but he couldn’t accept Nora so it must have been a shock for Kingsley to see how Søren could act and be (but these are MY speculations ahaha). It showed that Søren too was human. I don’t think he truly understood his love for Nora until she left him and with King he had YEARS before Nora to understand and know why he loved him. So it’s only fair that it would take him years to accept Nora too. Truly accpet her. It was a bit shock in The Virgin and The Queen to see how Søren could not understand Nora completly when we all thought he did. I ABSOLUTELY loved seeing Søren explain his feelings for King, since they were teens too. So just like he didn’t undertand the love of his life (one of them) until later, you will only fully understand Søren after reading this story too!
Now if The Confession of Marcus Sterns shed some light inside Søren‘s head and into his feelings for both Nora and Kingsley, The Confession of Eleanor Schreiber shed some (much needed – at least in my case) into some matters of the present reality of them.
I ALWAYS had a feeling Nora couldn’t be THAT cold-blooded towards EVERYTHING and her confession proved that to me. She is, besides Søren, the one character I always had a hard time seeing as “human”. She was always so accepting and forgiving. It was often hard to put myself in her shoes (not connecting and relating with her, I did from the beginning) because I was jealous for things SHE wasn’t and I always wondered if she could be THAT much well adjusted.
” ‘It hurts when we realize we can’t give everything to the person we love, that we can’t be everything to the person we love.’ ”.
Her confession to Father Ballard (and they meeting) was the most lightening story about their love and present reality for me so far. I had to go through a lot to finally understand it all. It had me CRYING my eyes out. Crying for her and her feelings but also for all the bittersweetness it brought.
” ‘ […] Thinking I’m enough to be everything to him. And I’m not. I already knew that because of Kingsley, but I’ve known about Kingsley for decades. Kingsley was Søren‘s first love and I respect his primacy.[…]
How can we NOT love Nora????!!! I LOVE this more vulnerable side of her we get to see in THE CONFESSIONS.
I can see why Søren was so hurt when he realized he hurt her and she left. I understand more than ever how hurt he was in The Queen. But I understand MUCH more than that now!! I love that Søren wanted to protect her from getting hurt and I love how she is always afraid to see his sweeter side. As readers we have seen a more sweet side of him, specially in The Saint, but I never realized how hard it was for Nora to see this side of him. Yes, I belive she knows he can be sweet, but in his own kinky, dominant way. Seeing how he could be sweet to her and prevent her from getting hurt (even though she did get hurt unknowingly) is just so unexpected, but still such a Søren thing!
Again, I’m VERY glad Father Ballard is there to help her through it all. When you read THE CONFESSIONS you will understand why I said he is Tiffany’s voice inside the story. He truly makes us see things we (and the characters) haven’t before. I wish I could share all my highlighterd quotes with you without spoiling these stories, but I basically highlighted everything important! That’s HOW GOOD this book is!
THE CONFESSIONS is FULL of angst. It’s a GRIPPING and bittersweet story that will have you satisfied and happy you learned more about the Sinners and their story. If you are a fan like I am you will ALWAYS crave more (and we’ll always wait for the free short stories Tiffany posts on her website, they are AWESOME), but these short stories in this book will crown the whole story and close (at least this chapter of their story) with a GOLDEN key!!!
As a reader I feel I can ALWAYS trust Tiffany to give me what I need in the story, either I knew I needed or not and either I agree with it or not, it’s ALWAYS what I need. And more important, what the story needs!
Take the whole Grace thing for example, it was REALLY HARD for me to ” accept” it. But I don’t have to accpet it or not. It’s Tiffany’s vision and these are HER characters, they need to stay true to what she belives and true to themselves. From our email exchanges Tiffany explained Grace and Søren to me in a way that made me see the everything in a whole different way. Here are her words:
” I adore Grace and have from the beginning. I always had a good feeling about her. I think of Grace and Zach as a funhouse mirror image of Nora and Søren. Grace was a teenager when she and Zach first slept together, he was in a position of power over her, etc.. But they went the traditional relationship route and Nora and Søren went the kinky and non-traditional route. Grace is Nora if Nora was a wife and amother which is why I think Søren was so drawn to her. I know I’ve always been drawn to Grace. […]” .
She’s told me a bit more but it has something to do with the story and I don’t want to spoil it for you, but if you read THE CONFESSIONS and want to talk shoot me an email or PM me on my FB page.
We also get an interview with Tiffany and that too will enlighten us to more things about this story. I LOVED it! It’s always fascinating being inside her genious mind!
So yes, I respect the hell out of Tiffany Reisz. Not only because she is an INCREDIBLE writer, but because she respects her characters and story enough to gives us what the STORY needs and not what we think we need and WANT. And even if it might be different than what we want, it’s still AMAZING and blows us away! So thank you, Tiffany, for another amazing journey inside your head in the Sinners’ heads!!! ❤
CHECK MY REVIEW OF THE WHITE YEARS BOOKS: