Friday, November 16, 2012

Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Reynard

Enigmatic and sexy, Professor Gabriel Emerson is a well-respected Dante specialist by day, but by night he devotes himself to an uninhibited life of pleasure. He uses his notorious good looks and sophisticated charm to gratify his every whim, but is secretly tortured by his dark past and consumed by the profound belief that he is beyond all hope of redemption. When the sweet and innocent Julia Mitchell enrolls as his graduate student, his attraction and mysterious connection to her not only jeopardizes his career, but sends him on a journey in which his past and his present collide. An intriguing and sinful exploration of seduction, forbidden love and redemption, "Gabriel's Inferno" is a captivating and wildly passionate tale of one man's escape from his own personal hell as he tries to earn the impossible...forgiveness and love.


I first heard about Gabriel’s Inferno through word of mouth earlier this year. I was a little hesitant to start reading it, but I am so glad I went ahead and tried it anyways.  Sometimes you have a feeling when reading a book that you will like it and it will be an entertaining way to pass the time. Sometimes a book turns out to be way more than just a quick entertaining read. This was one of those times. To say that this book will forever be in my top ten all-time favorites list should say it all, but I won’t stop there.  I have not read a book this year that I have thoroughly enjoyed as much as this one.

If by reading the synopsis you are thinking troubled professor + innocent student= regular student/teacher love story with secret sexual rendezvous’. You would be wrong. Instead you would find a strong story that is romantic, compelling, sweet, and sensual.

The characters were solid but not perfect.
At first I thought Paul was the sweetest guy and I loved his character, but as the book went on he started to irritate me. I hated the term “Rabbit” that he gave Julia. I didn't see her as a scared little creature that needed someone to be extremely gentle with her and guide her every step of the way.  It could be just me, but it really bugged me.

Christa….I did not understand why she had to be so mean. I know some people are just like that though. She kept things interesting for sure, but I just wanted her to disappear or at the very least, get what was coming to her.

Gabriel at times was too pretentious. I get that he is smart and very good at what he does, but I kept thinking he needed to get over himself. As the story continued however, his behavior and attitude started changing and he redeemed himself in my eyes. I could see how he would be good for Julia.

A couple of instances occurred where I thought Julia should have known better or not been so naive. Aside from that, I did like her. She has insecurities with men and relationships because she was hurt in the past. She is caring, shy yet independent, and does not mind working hard to earn the things she has and wants. Julia for her young age has some moments when she is wise and has the ability to teach even Gabriel and Paul a thing or two about life.

“Why not think that sometimes—just sometimes—you can overcome evil with silence? And let people hear their hatefulness in their own ears, without distraction. Maybe goodness is enough to expose evil for what it really is, sometimes. Rather than trying to stop evil with more evil.”  -Sylvain Reynard, Gabriel’s Inferno

Gabriel and Julia’s relationship is far from perfect and they get off on a rocky start. But once they push through some of the bad stuff and they start to reconnect and fall in love….their romance was incredibly sweet and made me sigh on more than one occasion. I loved it. I fell in love with them as a couple.

“When I am an old man and I can remember nothing else, I will remember this moment. The first time my eyes beheld an angel in the flesh. “I will remember your body and your eyes, your beautiful face and breasts, your curves and this.” He traced his hand around her navel before dragging it lightly to the top of her lower curls. “I will remember your scent and your touch and how it felt to love you. But most of all, I will remember how it felt to gaze at true beauty, both inside and out. For you are fair, my beloved, in soul and in body, generous of spirit and generous of heart. And I will never see anything this side of heaven more beautiful than you”  -Sylvain Reynard, Gabriel’s Inferno

When I finished reading Gabriel’s Inferno I wanted to re-read it all over again.  This book left me feeling like no other book has. It took me on a trip through a myriad of emotions. Julia and Gabriel both had dark pasts they were trying to escape and forget and they ended up finding each other I think when they needed to the most.  I know I am probably gushing too much on this book, but I cannot help it. It could have been a littler shorter, but I thought it rocked and I would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat. 

Rating: 4 ½ out of 5.

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