Pages: Oversize paperback, 413
Publisher: Berkley Trade, September 4, 2012
Opening Lines: "The poet dropped the note to the floor with a shaking hand."
"Professor Gabriel Emerson has embarked on a passionate, yet clandestine affair with his former student Julia Mitchell. Sequestered on a romantic holiday in Italy, he tutors her in the sensual delights of the body and the raptures of sex.
"But when they return, their happiness is threatened by conspiring students, academic politics, and a jealous ex-lover. When Gabriel is confronted by the university administration, will he succumb to Dante's fate? Or will he fight to keep Julia, his Beatrice, forever?"
~ Jacket copy
Well, I read the first one, and I wanted to know what happened. Seriously, with the lead up, everyone knew that the university was going to find out about the relationship and pursue matters; the old, torrid love affair would come back to bite Gabriel in the ass; and, of course, the two lovers would have to part and somehow be reunited. Yes, as predictable as it is, I wanted to read this book.
Hmm, didn’t I just describe that in the previous paragraph? Well, if you want a little more, I can do that!
Gabriel’s Rapture picks up right where the previous book left off: sex. After wandering around Italy, going to the lecture, Julia being hit on by another professor, more sex in different positions, and so on, the couple finally returns to the states. Honestly, aside from the “everything that could go wrong does” scenario, nothing really happens in the book. Seeking to get revenge over her perceived slight in the first book, Gabriel’s other Dante PhD brings charges against Gabriel and Julia, Gabriel’s old flame returns to win him back, Julia is briefly threatened by an old friend, and the couple are forced into separation.
Ug, this book was predictable. The sex was boring and too overdone. It felt as though I was reading a dime store romance; however, those are usually better written. My biggest beef was with Gabriel’s lecture and his portrayal of courtly love. For someone who is a Dante specialist, it was completely astounding that such filth would leave his mouth. I found myself just as distressed as the rest of his audience during the lecture. And, yes, I would have gotten up and walked out. In addition, the whole comment about the Spartans was WRONG! The boys were told, by their mothers, to come home with their shields or ON them (ἢ τὰν ἢ ἐπὶ τᾶς). The shields were so large that the men would have to drop them in order to run away. Therefore, if they came home without them, they were cowards. The bodies of the fallen were carried home ON the shields. Hence the statement: come home with your shield or ON it. In addition, if you’re going to talk about the real Battle of Thermopylae, please use the real event. If you must use a movie, The 300 Spartans is far more accurate than 300.
There was absolutely no character development in the characters. Also, there were no real secondary characters. Granted, people such as Paul are returning, but they couldn’t even be classified as supporting cast.
As with the characters, the setting is just about as lackluster. The author goes into detail while in Italy; however, everything in the states is just meh. I couldn’t decide if the author felt it would be a waste of time to describe the setting to us or if she just lost interest.
The only thing I can give the book is the fast pace. Furthermore, it kept me reading. While I was upset by some of the university proceedings around the relationship, I was very curious to know what happened, the ruling, and so on. With that, the pages did keep turning. In addition, all of the medieval art references and the quotes from medieval texts were lovely and made my heart soar. However, I’m not sure if that’s enough to save the book.
Will I read the next book? Yes. Why? It might be simply because I am a glutton for punishment, I want to get pissed off, or I’m just too damn curious. That being said, unless you like the Fifty Shades books, don’t read this series. If you like medieval lit, culture, and art, stay away from these books!
Current Pages: 7161