Glory Lands by Vastine Bondurant

A Texas Piney Woods StoryRural East Texas, 1931. Preacher’s son Emory Joe Logan and a fiddler from Shreveport, Glory Lands, meet and form a tender bond. When they are caught and arrested for homosexual acts by Sheriff Elihu Bishop, the lawman’s sanctimonious bigotry threatens to rip the young men from their families.

Emory Joe’s father, Pastor Charles Logan, is brought to his knees in terror, confusion, and anger. He still regrets not standing up against Bishop when the lawman murdered a youth in cold
blood nine years ago.

Now there’s no longer a choice for the preacher to stand up to the lawman. Cold-blooded justice, bigotry-disguised-as-religion, and hatred take on a whole new meaning when they’re standing on his doorstep, ready to take the son he loves.
I wish there were more stars to give this book because not only is the writing style brilliant, the author took some very sensitive topics and brought it front and center in this book.  If you can read this story and not be affected, or at least brought to examine your beliefs then I am not sure how you escaped it. Emory Joe was just a country boy in the 1930’s.  Shy, timid and what most felt weak, he was the son of a preacher.  His mother had passed on and he was considered a valued partner for his father in the years of loneliness that followed his mother’s death.
Charles was the father.  He knew something wasn’t normal with his son Emory Joe, but he just assumed that the boy had his mother’s soft touch and tender heart.  It wasn’t till he watched his son look at the traveling musician Glory Lands that he began to connect the dots that maybe his son was gay.  How was a preacher supposed to protect and support his son, when homosexuality was against the word of God?
Glory felt something deep for Emory the first time he laid eyes on him.  Knowing that there was no way the two of them could explore their feelings, he had to try to find a way to spend time with Emory.  Maybe just being with him as friends would be enough to put out the fire he felt brewing in his body and heart.
The problem is, in this small country backwards town, the sheriff has a lot of pull as to what goes on and who is allowed to stay.  Unfortunately for this town, the Sheriff Bishop is the one in charge.  While professing his belief in God, he has taken on the role of judge and jury in the town.  He is allowed years to hand down his punishments because the town’s people are scared of him.  NO one wants to be his next target.
Glory Lands, deals with homosexuality between two young men searching for the freedom to express their desires.  It is about a father who must decide if he will stand firm in what he teaches every Sunday or support his son in life.  This is about a town deciding if they can stand up to the sheriff and stop the abuse he hands out to those he decides needs to die.  So many elements in this story that will leave you on the edge of your seat and find yourself questioning what you would do if you were in this town.
Brilliant writing, meaningful characters and a story that will stay with you for a long time after you turn the last page.  I look forward to reading more books from this author.