social icons

search

Places to Construe

A desideratum.

more from the blog

REVIEW: GABRIEL'S INFERNO

SYNOPSIS

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.

MY THOUGHTS

The first time I picked up this book I couldn’t believe that there was a romance novel about a professor who teaches Dante. My inner bibliophile screamed with excitement. After all, I am working my butt off so I can study Dante in graduate school. After reading the synopsis, I wanted to dive right into the series in hopes that Dante played a significant role in the storyline. It turned out that he does. Dante Alighieri undoubtedly influenced this book in more ways than one. I dove into this book with no expectations other than a few clichés and a lot of Dante. It was time to get cozy.
Gabriel Emerson is a rude male lead. In the first page alone he picks on Julianne while he is sat on his high horse. He is pretentious. The way he treats Julianne through most of the book is enough to give anyone whiplash. The New Yorker in me was begging to give him a piece of my mind. In the story, Gabriel battles between his feelings for Julianne, being her professor, and his demons. One moment he is nice. The next moment he says something rude and Julianne is too good of a person to retort. He has so many secrets which something that kept me reading. I wanted to know him completely. He's not completely awful. The third person narrative gives a little insight on what's happening with Gabriel. He doesn't stay a rude professor forever. He becomes overbearingly chivalrous. He begins to show how passionate and romantic he is. He's an attentive lover which I learned through all of the whiplashes. He made me swoon. He's a smooth talker. Enigmatic is right. Gabriel is very educated and great at referencing literature and the arts through the ages when talking about or expressing how he feels. If I strip away his rude, overbearing, asslike characteristics, he'd be more than a dream. I'd sign up for the next season of The Bachelor.
Julianne Mitchell followed her heart which leads her to Toronto. She is a masters student at the University of Toronto's Italian Program. She is both beauty and brains. Unfortunately, she is portrayed as a weak woman which is maddening. It is way too cliché for me. A woman without a backbone falls in love with someone who has asslike characteristics. *Cue eye rolling* She is also called "rabbit" by Paul which is probably because she's so fragile. She even has a bully in graduate school named Christa Peterson who is wholeheartedly mean. I don't believe in violence, but I'd get Feyre (ACOTAR) to teach her mortal butt a lesson. One thing I wish Julianne understood is that there is a fine line between being an equally rude person and telling someone how you feel when they mistreat you. My patience ran thin with Julianne. Still, Julianne's warmth is inviting. She's been humbled by life and is grateful for the little things she has. She's graceful and easily reminds Gabriel of his mom. Her kindness is often overlooked, but she never stops giving it. She's charitable even though she barely has anything. She has her demons too. One of their names is Simon who has crippled her in the romance department. Despite the way Julianne is portrayed, she is a wholesome woman. I liked her mostly in her not so rabbit moments.

Apparuit iam beatitudo vestra.
“I don’t know what that means.” She sounded shy.
“It means now your blessedness appears. But really, it should be now my blessedness appears. Now that you’re here.” He pulled her closer, snaking his arm beneath her neck and down to her waist where he splayed his hand, fingers wide, at the small of her back. “For the rest of my life, I’ll dream of hearing your voice breathe my name.” 


Despite all the clichés, I actually liked the book. There is something about a storyline that is inspired by the Divine Comedy's themes of redemption, love, and forgiveness that I am a sucker for. The truth is Gabriel, whether you learn to love him or hate him, will grow on you. There is something about a man who tortures himself to Sting's Mad About You (get past the first book and you'll know what I'm talking about) when his heart is broken. He is a medievalist after all with great taste in music. Gabriel is also such an old fashion sap who'd do anything for his beloved Julianne and he does. He learned about love and marriage through his parents. Julianne and Gabriel fit like a glove. I really enjoyed Julianne sort of being portrayed as Dante. She had to love from afar before she could get close. She was inspired to study Dante by the man she fell in love with all those years ago. Gabriel is sort of her Beatrice although he doesn't die while Julianne is in exile (fyi, she wasn't exiled. This is just a reference to the Divine Comedy).

In many ways, both characters needed redemption. The title itself makes sense. From past Gabriel to present Gabriel to future, becoming a better man for Julianne and eventually himself is redemption in itself. You may personally begin recommending therapists while reading the first couple of books, but it is worth diving into the second book to see what becomes of Gabriel as a person and not just Julianne's lover. Love is a big theme too. I'm not just talking two people being in love. I'm talking about two people needing love the most and loving themselves. Julianne and Gabriel needed to be loved properly. They are both broken people. The truth is their love was custom made for each other. I'm sure Julianne would've been happy even if she and Gabriel never met. There's a possibility that Gabriel may have been stuck exactly where he was when the story began if he hadn't come across Julianne (again). I'd wish them both happiness and love even if they didn't have each other, but their love was custom made for each other. Eventually (book two and we'll get there), they (mostly Gabriel) learns about himself and loving himself. For now, it's almost as if they were hand-picked and destined to find each other. Forgiveness is the last of the themes that I enjoyed. Forgiveness wasn't just about apologizing to the other person, but apologizing and forgiving themselves. Julianne had to realize that she is not what all of the people have done to her. Her mom and Simon don't define her. Gabriel needed to forgive himself for all that he has done and thinks he's done. They must go through the brutal process of self-love and a few trials and tribulations before they can progress and go anywhere, but I'm rooting for them.

I'm rating this book a four out of five mostly because of the way Julianne was portrayed, the level of toxicity throughout the book, and Gabriel's clichéd asshole personality. Beside that, I really enjoyed reading it individually and as a series. It's a book I've read every year since its release and I will contiue to reread as well. My last note is that this book is comapared to, marketed, and described as a book like Fifty Shades of Grey. It is far from it. Have you read this book before? What are your thoughts on it?

Comments

do you wanna know when a new post comes out?

Instagram