Format: Kindle Book
Release Date: April 18, 2011
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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.
GABRIEL'S INFERNO was so spectacularly awesome that I’m not even really quite sure where or how to start this review. I haven't read anything like this in such a long time. It’s a dark, intellectual, emotional, honest, heart-warming and complicated all rolled up into one brilliant romance book. Sylvain Reynard’s intense writing evoked such a range of emotions from me and connectivity to his characters. The story touched upon various subjects that were very reminiscent of classic works of literature. The very title of this book is a nod to Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. Paralleled with the classic Italian literature, Gabriel’s Inferno explores the allegory of friendship, lust, love, forgiveness and redemption. It’s not often that a romance author has me thinking about metaphors or researching works of art or literature. I had to open up that vault in my brain that stored all the classic art and literature information that I had learned years ago.
“Sometimes goodness doesn't tell everything it knows. Sometimes goodness waits for the appropriate time and does the best it can with what it has.”
GABRIEL'S INFERNO begins with Julianne ‘Julia’ Mitchell on her first day of graduate school at the University of Toronto. She is one of Professor Gabriel O. Emerson’s students in his Dante’s Inferno seminar. She’d gone to the school to learn from one of the world’s “Dante Specialist” and her reasons for going to the school isn’t totally based on her academic career. Julia has been unrequitedly in love with Gabriel ever since she was sixteen years old after her best friend show’s Julia a picture of Gabriel, who happens to be her decade older brother. Even after they’d spend a “moment” together six years prior, Gabriel is unable to recognize Julia. From the instant they meet again he is nothing but rude and disrespectful, which even brought tears to my eyes. After a tumultuous start, Gabriel finally realizes their connection and that’s when their intense, tumultuous, forbidden, and secret student / professor relationship begins.
“Bad things happen to everyone. Not that this was an excuse or a justification for wronging another human being. Still, all humans had this shared experience — that of suffering. No human being left this world without shedding a tear, or feeling pain, or wading into the sea of sorrow.”
At the beginning, Julia was an unlikable character for me. She was skittish and I couldn’t get over her annoying habit of lip biting, stuttering and fumbling around. I seriously was thinking maybe this girl needed to be on some kind of medication. But as her past and secrets are revealed I became a little more sympathetic and understanding of her character. She comes from a broken home and her parents showed very little or no ounce of love for her. After seeing how the people who were supposed to love and protect her failed, it was clear as to why she lacked a sense of self-worth. Being involved in an abusive relationship during her undergraduate years didn't help with her already flailing sense of self-worth.
“Look at me. Look into my eyes." His eyes fixed on hers as they fluttered open. "I'll give you anything. My body, my soul, Take them. Take everything.”
Gabriel is a very perplexed character. He comes off as very rude, brash, obtuse and insolent. He suffers from serious anger management issues and I was concerned as to how I would eventually fall for him as the male lead. Gabriel is riddled with his own dark past and personal demons. He’s unable to forgive himself for sins he committed in his past be believes that he’s unredeemable. I seriously was thinking maybe he'd been a murderer or serial killer, that's how set he was in his own damnation. Like Julia, I couldn't comprehend Gabriel’s struggles until he finally confesses the sins he's committed. Gabriel’s dark past is as heartbreaking as Julia’s and the path they both take to learn about redemption and forgiveness is not an easy road.
“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”
The romance between Gabriel and Julia is intense and unhealthy. In reality I would not stand being in that sort of relationship myself but I live for it in my books. Reading about their relationship was so addictive. Gabriel is more than experienced in the bedroom and when he has sex, he likes for it to be hard, fast and intense. On the other hand Julia is still a virgin and it's her pureness that really attracts Gabriel to her. But since Julia is still a student of Gabriel's, they abstain from having any sort of sexual relationship until the end of the semester. Both are aware of the repercussions if they were ever caught to they keep the relationship as PG as possible. Although there wasn't any sex till the very end, Gabriel's Inferno was still sensual. Throughout the book Gabriel seduces Julia with his words and make out sessions. If you know me, you know that I love me some sex scenes but this book still kept me satisfied. When these two do finally consummate their love it was scorching hot and made me wish Gabriel Emerson had taken my virginity. It was hot!
GABRIEL'S INFERNO is a story about two broken souls that meet, learn how to love and forgive. I found myself laughing, crying and learning with them. As each try to find their way through their personal hell, you end up growing with the characters. The romance was intense and the depth of emotions it goes to is something fairly uncommon in a typical contemporary romance. At 506 pages, it’s not a book you can read in one sitting but with patience and time, Reynard will suck you into the lives of Gabriel Emerson and Julia Mitchell. Gabriel's Inferno is not only gripping but thought provoking and I was more than happy to walk through the fires of Julia and Gabriel's own personal hell and end up in their own version of paradise.
Gabriel Emerson has some pretty good choices in music and this is one of the songs he plays for Julia which I loved. This was already an awesome song in my opinion before I read Gabriel's Inferno but after it's used in one of the scenes's it's taken a whole new meaning for me. Not only is Gabriel intense, smart and seductive, he's also got great taste in music. Makes me love him even more.