by Sylvain Reynard
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Lazy but curious hands caressed naked skin, exploring gently but chastely. Sighs commingled in the dark as two souls breathed as one. Two heartbeats synchronized when they recognized one another. And two troubled, conflicted minds finally came to rest.
A completely unexpected surprise, I found myself jumping on the Gabriel bandwagon, regretting every day that I chose to skip over this magnificent sea of poetically written words. I suppose I had thought this was an erotic novel, which isn’t my favorite genre in any way, shape, or form-so I chose to ignore the hype that surrounded GI, isolating myself from a story that genuinely transported me to another world, a world where I was completely content to be away from reality.
“For the rest of my life, I’ll dream of hearing your voice breathe my name.”
Sometimes books come along where I’m struck speechless, and this is definitely one of them. How can I possibly write a review that will do justice to this masterpiece? There were times I felt myself sighing in a contented state of euphoria when Gabriel would go out of his way to show Julia she wasn’t alone, that there was someone else in the world who cared for her well being, even if they could never really be in a relationship. Other times I felt myself swept away by the expertly written words that had my brow furrowing in confusion, for I had no clue what they were even talking about-lol. The level that GI reached was far beyond my comprehension, but I felt myself falling in love with the story, nonetheless, with each passing page. I’m no imbecile, but the teachings of Dante and Beatrice and the foreign languages and words they spoke in, at times, befuddled me. They were beautifully written, of course, as I mentioned above. Don’t mistake what I’m saying for a complaint, I just wanted to express how much time and effort went into writing such a breathtaking story.
“I’m sorry I disappointed you. I wish I was the knight rather than the dragon. But I’m not.” He pulled back to stare deeply into her eyes. “Everything is up to you. You can rescue me or banish me with a single word.”
Gabriel Emerson is the type of man I would like to imagine really does exist. At first, he is brooding, harsh, and somewhat cruel in his expectations and judgements. But then, layer after layer starts to become exposed, and we get to see that the harsh exterior is far crustier than what truly lies beneath-a beautifully broken man who only wants the best for his life and those he feels he has done wrong to. He doesn’t want to be involved with anyone, really, that needs an emotional attachment he is not willing to give, because that only leads to obsession and heartache. His somewhat uppity attitude had me chuckling out loud, because some of the problems he had were beyond ludicrous-things we take for granted in day to day life and would never re-evaluate as he did. I found myself wondering if men like Gabriel truly exist, or if it’s possible that all the Gabriels in the world only exist in the fictional realm-he was kind, forgiving, charming, and head over heels for Julia. There was nothing he would not do for her, and he more than shows it as the book progresses.
He looked at her book bag and decided then and there that it had to go. If he had to see that hideous thing one more time, he was going to lose it. And Paul had touched it, which meant that it was polluted. She’d have to throw it away. (see, I LOVE how much he hates her damn bookbag [and Paul, for that matter]-too funny)
Julia was a little hard to swallow at first-there are only so many times a person can flush/blush or hide behind their hair before I, as a reader, start to become frustrated. I feared the whole story would be centered around how shy and mousy Julia was, and I am not one to love a pushover for a protagonist. Now, while Julia’s personality centers around how insecure and shy she is, it never shadows her character. As the story progresses, we begin to see Julia blossom into a confident, sure-of-herself woman thanks to Gabriel’s gentle pushing and encouragement; we start to see how brilliant, kind, and charitable Julia truly is. I began to understand and sympathize with her as her character grew into someone who had a backbone and was willing to fight for what she wanted. I started to love not only Gabriel and Julia together, but Julia as an individual who was on the road to Harvard and making her life what she always wanted, but never dreamed possible.
When everyone in the whole world believes one thing and you are the only one who believes differently, it’s very tempting to assimilate. All Julia would have to do would be to forget, to deny, to suppress. Then she would be just like everyone else.
A perceptive novel that I could never possibly explain the way I want to, I was completely enthralled from beginning to finish. Intricately woven with barely masked passion between a professor and his student, this complex tale of a forbidden romance is made even sweeter when they finally do fall completely for one another. An intense love affair ensues and we are left breathless and begging for more-I immediately jumped to the second book, and I am already half way through. For those who are skeptical, I suggest you pick it up and at least give it a try. Gabriel and Julia’s love is one of the most beautiful and pure I have seen, and you are truly missing out if you haven’t met them yet.