87 points/100 (4 ½ stars/5)
Alert: LGBT themes
Matt Johansson is a performer in a musical by Ray Parrish. Ray wrote the story based off true events that happened in his hometown of Needsville, Tennessee. The musical has one mystery that refuses to be answered: what is buried in the ruins of the chapel of ease? When Ray unexpectedly dies after opening night, Matt decides to take him home, and figure out the mystery once and for all.
Chapel of Ease is very different than all of the Tufa books to date. It doesn’t exactly feel like the series until part of the way through the book. In fact I had to double check I had opened the right book because it starts out so different. Overall, I’m a bit confused on this one.
It was an odd shift. The rest of the series has been third person following various citizens and guests of Cloud County. This wasn’t. It was first person, and it starts in New York City. The whole book is first person, but eventually we end up in Cloud County. Typically, I prefer first person perspectives, and I’ve been told I’m weird because of this. Yet, in this series I actually preferred the third.
The musical based on events that took place in Needsville fascinated me. I had to know the whole story, the true story. And, I had to know what was buried. Obviously because it is a musical, there was a lot of music. For once, I actually understood a large part of it. I was very proud of myself over this fact (probably shouldn’t have been, though).
Other than to get the main character to Tennessee, I’m not really certain why Matt had to bring the ashes to Ray’s family. I’m especially not certain why he stuck around so long. Maybe this is a cultural difference I have just never had to run into before. I’m not certain.
The best thing about this series has been the Tufa. Since the main character is an outsider, we get to learn about them all again. Reading these back to back, and it can get a bit repetitive. I’ve noticed something, though. They reveal their secrets to outsiders really, really easily. How they’ve kept all of this so under wraps for so long if they tell everyone as easily as they tell Matt. He wasn’t married to one of the Tufa, or even going out with one when they told him. Maybe they can read the signs better than me.
Frankly, I’m not surprised at the end of this book. If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t you’ll figure it out.