Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Reader Review from Karen

Hello Everyone,

After Margaret shared her review of the Gabriel Series last week, we received a lot of positive feedback. I also received this review of "Gabriel's Inferno" from a reader named Karen.  I enjoyed what she had to say about the book and asked her permission to post it here.

If you haven't read "Gabriel's Inferno" yet, please be aware there are spoilers in the review below.

I'm also excited to share that we have another reader submitted post scheduled for tomorrow. If you'd like to share something with us, please feel free to email me at  Coco, Elli, Sere and I love receiving these kinds of things from fellow fans of SR's works. We also love to encourage discussion in the comments section below.

Thanks again to Karen for sharing her thoughts with us.

Enjoy and Take Care,


Gabriel's Inferno is a hauntingly seductive story of lust, forbidden love, faith and redemption. This is not your usual love story. In fact it is rather dark. If you are looking for sex on every page, you won't find it. Reading this book will more often than not leave you feeling on edge. My heart beat so fast throughout parts of this book I could hardly stand it!

The angel and the demon. The innocent and the sinner. Can they find love with one another? Redemption, grace, atonement, forgiveness, restoration, faith, hope, virtue and pure, unconditional love are the main themes throughout this book and not coincidentally, main themes in the Bible. We learn that no matter how great our sins are, if we repent and show remorse, forgiveness and love is for everyone who wants it. Thus we can experience a little piece of what heaven must be like. I have never been more absorbed by a story in my life!

This is a tale of a man's escape from his own personal hell while trying to earn what he believes is impossible...forgiveness and love. It is a story of two broken souls that meet a long time ago, lose each other, find each other again, and find in each other love and forgiveness. Gabriel is the quintessential Prodigal Son. By day Gabriel Emerson is a well-respected Dante professor at the University of Toronto who likes to wear bow ties and expensive suits. By night he's a man who pursues a life of pleasure, with a taste for fine food and fine wine. He uses his good looks and charms to gratify his lustful nature with most any woman he can seduce into satisfying his lust. He is secretly tortured by his dark past and consumed by his deep belief that he is beyond all hope of redemption because of past transgressions, or as he sees them, outright sins. In fact, he feels he is a magnet for sin, especially lust. His sincere hope is that goodness can be recognized, despite the fallen angel's sad and desperate addiction to sin.

When Julia Mitchell, a girl from the states enrolls as his graduate student, his mysterious attraction to her not only jeopardizes his career, but sets him on a path in which his past and present collide. She is a passive, innocent, kind young woman in her early twenties who has been beaten down by people in her life who should have protected her. As a result she has no self worth. The event that directs her life happened when she was 17. She meets her best friend's adopted brother, who is 10 years older than her. For her it was love at first sight. For Gabriel it was an emotional encounter in an orchard when he had just been through a traumatic event in his life. This meeting and the evening they share together leaves a lasting impression on them both. Julia remembers this past encounter with a troubled young man, because he showed her how special a first kiss could be. She never forgets him. Gabriel thinks it was nothing but an hallucination.

When they finally meet again, Gabriel feels he is unworthy of her, not to mention there are rules about fraternization with students. They each have painful secrets and painful pasts that they want to remain secret and in the past. But slowly secrets are revealed and they each deal with their personal demons. At the same time their attraction for one another grows. The reader doesn't learn all the secrets till much later in the book, but this is part of what keeps you on the edge as you read. The transformation that Gabriel makes throughout the book is a radical one, however, the heartaches along the way are many. Eventually Gabriel sees Julianna's forgiveness and unconditional love as the source of his redemption. And Julia, who has experienced shattering heartbreak, struggles with her own worth and her belief in Gabriel's love.

There are some serious issues dealt with in this book, i.e. drug abuse and alcoholism, but many of the scenes have humor to help get the reader through. You can feel the joy of their intimate confessions to one another, the playfulness they have when they let their guard down, as well as the heat of their passion when angry or loving.

There is a lot of discussion and comparison with Dante, Italian art, and literature, thus making this book intellectually stimulating, as well as romantic. You don't need to be an expert to follow the story though. I did find myself going to the internet to do research on these subjects, however. There are also many songs mentioned throughout the book that I proceeded to download onto my Kindle. All of this helped me to feel the story in a more personal way.
There are those that have compared this book to the 50 Shades Trilogy. Yes, there are similarities simply because there is an older man, younger woman, and Gabriel is damaged as Christian was damaged. But Gabriel's Inferno is a far better book!

Love wins out at the end of the this book, so you do get a HEA ending...sort of. But in the meantime, Gabriel and Julianna's happiness is threatened by vindictive students, university politics, and a jealous ex-lover.

In the end Gabriel no longer seeks just fulfillment of sexual desires, but is searching for a deeper, almost spiritual experience to share with Julia. The author has written: "Perhaps sex (when done in a worshipful way) is a glimpse, a shadow of what it would be to bask in the glory of God in Paradise, like Dante and Beatrice. As Dante expresses in his Paradiso, the universe is held together by love..."

I think Gabriel finally finds this with Julia, his Beatrice.

This book has affected me profoundly. Maybe it's because in a way I feel I'm married to a Gabriel, and I'm his Julianna. Everyone deserves love! This will be a book I read over and over again.

There is a sequel, Gabriel's Rapture that continues the story, which I downloaded even before I finished reading Gabriel's Inferno. I'm halfway done with it, and it is every bit as good! These books are must read!


Unknown said...

Karen, I love your review. Your words say what we all feel. SR, whether he expected it or not, is one of our current day most inspirational authors. He inspires thought, generosity, compassion, faith and forgiveness. In a word, he inspires love in us all. It is why we love him.

Ellie T

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