Book Review: Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture by Sylvain Reynard

***** 5 Stars!

I think I’d better get cracking on these book reviews. Here is one that I read at the beginning of the summer and still think about once in a while. What do you get when you mix a love story with the sweet prose and poetry of the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri?  You get head in the clouds, soul sweeping romance.   The Gabriel series delivers nothing less than that.

The love story between Professor of Dante Studies Gabriel Emerson and his student, Julianne Mitchell takes many twists and turns as both try their best to avoid going against the University’s fraternization policies and risk losing it all.  Both Julianne and Gabriel have a shared past that serves as a basis for the book’s premise. The story is further enriched by many side plots and other characters that play extremely important parts in the development and outcome of their relationship. As the couple’s past and present collide, Gabriel knows that he must atone for his previous sins so that he can be confident enough to know that he is deserving of someone like his Julianne.

Written so beautifully in two parts by Sylvain Reynard, both books draw many parallelisms between Professor Emerson and the story of the real life Dante Alighieri who wrote the Divine Comedy.  Reynard’s meticulous detailing of scenery and location whether it be at the Toronto University or on the streets of Italy, brings vivid and picturesque images to the reader’s mind.

In the truest sense of classical literature, the author compares Gabriel Emerson’s love for Julianne to that of Dante and his Beatrice. She was the daughter of a banker whom Dante had only met twice in his life but whose presence impacted him so much that he mentions her in many of his writings.  As Beatrice was the only one who can lead Dante to paradise, only Julianne’s love can assure Gabriel of his own redemption.

“You found me”, he murmured. “I should have waited. I love you.”

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