Enraptured by Gabriel and Julia
The writing and the plot are wonderful in this series, but I wish to focus on the characterization in my review. It's uncommon when both the hero and the heroine are strong characters, but this is the case in the [b:Gabriel's Inferno|10140661|Gabriel's Inferno (Gabriel's Inferno #1)|Sylvain Reynard|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1343961643s/10140661.jpg|15038778] series. I love Gabriel and Julia equally, which is quite a feat for the author.
(For my review of Gabriel's Inferno
and interview with author Sylvain Reynard, go here
University professor and Dante specialist Gabriel Emerson can be an insensitive jerk until he meets the sweet, self-effacing grad student Julia Mitchell. Their romance and effect on each other have progressed since book one. Gabriel has become softer, and Julia more confident. I loved when Gabriel is patient with Julia's past romantic trauma, and when Julia stands up to Dean Aras.
Gabriel is brilliant, classy, and layered. There's a lot of vulnerability hiding beneath his pompous exterior, and nobody brings out that depth like Julia. He's eloquent; he's caring. Gabriel's fashion choices are...interesting. Like a bow tie and a beret. Only a man with such a great body and beautiful blue eyes can pull it off.
The story begins in Italy, where Gabriel delivers an invited lecture.He removed his glasses for dramatic effect and fixed Julia with an unblinking eye. "Many people fail to see how modesty and sweetness of temper compound erotic appeal."
Gabriel nails Julia's appeal with this statement. She is so kind and thoughtful, like when she tells Gabriel how his baby Maia is safe and loved in Paradise, which brings rare tears to his eyes.
Julia's wisdom continues to impress me, especially the time she tells Gabriel she doesn't want to become his new drug of choice. She has some clever thoughts of her own, like this pillow talk with Professor Emerson:"For me, your name is synonymous with orgasm. I'm going to start calling them Emgasms."
I loved their conversation about "sticky little leaves" that form on spring trees--the true blessings of life; signs of hope. Julia explains:"Everyone wants to know where evil comes from and why the world is riddled with it. Why doesn't anyone ask where goodness comes from? Human beings have a tremendous capacity for cruelty. Why is there any goodness at all? Because there's a God, and he hasn't allowed the earth to be entirely corrupted. There are sticky little leaves, if you look for them. And when you recognized them, you can feel his presence.
That is very much how I feel God as well. My sticky little leaves include my sisters, the sport of swimming, and the pleasure of helping others as a psychologist.
I also enjoyed the exploration of a balanced love. Gabriel says "...no human being can every make another human being completely happy. Human beings are far too imperfect for that."
Amen! Too bad he quickly denies that statement has anything to do with him and Julia, ha ha.
I'm a big fan of any book with therapy scenes, and I found Julia's work to be interesting with her therapist Nicole. (It's unfortunate Gabriel doesn't buy in). Nicole's explanation of "wounded duck attachment" interested me:"Of course, some women have the feminine equivalent of chivalry syndrome--wounded duck attachment. They seek out men who are bad boys or broken and afflicted and attempt to fix them."
Hmm, Julia--should you be looking in the mirror? I know quite a few women like this.
Credible threats to their relationship occur, and I wanted to bop the professor over the head for causing a misunderstanding between them. But I couldn't stay angry with him for long. The writing is stunning, and I can't wait until book three!