Author: Sylvain Reynard
Gabriel’s Redemption is another book which closes out a series in which I have not read the first two books. Something I have been doing more and more of late.
On first glance at the cover of Gabriel’s Redemption I was expecting an erotica like many others flooding the market at the moment but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was mistaken. There was a very sensual side to the story but it wasn’t as explicit and as graphic as I would have expected. This story is focused much more on the romance and the emotional side of the love story between Julia and Gabriel than their physical
Gabriel and his new wife Julia are Dante specialists and much of their journey is compared to his work, which I am not familiar with in any more than the vaguest of terms. Sylvain Reynard is very well acquainted with his work and by reading the acknowledgements I discovered at least one of these characters actually exists.
The lives of the characters are often compared to Dante’s work and I think there was a lot of pertinent information in the first two books about the trials and tribulations that Gabriel and Julia have already faced to get to where they are. A lot of the character building is done in the early books and I think they give a much greater insight into the pasts of the main characters and how their relationship developed.
Julia and Gabriel are both deeply scarred by their pasts and their upbringings so they struggle with their personal sense of self-worth and the love they share is helping them both overcome this. It’s a long and often treacherous journey as they try to navigate solo instead of turning to one another for assistance.
It seems to me that the beginning of the series draws some heavy parallels with quite a well known erotic trilogy, but that’s all guesswork on my part because I haven’t read said trilogy or the beginning of this series. I think it may have been a good idea to track down Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture to read them first so I had the full story but I did still really enjoy Gabriel’s Redemption on its own merits. There was just enough back story included to ensure that we could make sense of the events as they happened and we could keep track of who was who.
Set firmly in the realms of academia Gabriel’s Redemption is chock full of professors, grad students, social climbers and troublemakers – with a healthy side dish of politics. There are Dante specialists in abundance and I have been left wanting to know more, and wanting to acquaint myself with his Divine Comedy even though I don’t know that I have the patience for Italian classic poetry from the Middle Ages. Perhaps I will go looking for cliff notes.
Gabriel’s Redemption is about both Gabriel and Julia coming to grips with their past and working together to move on from that, all the while sharing a scorching intimate partnership in all manner of places and positions. The two seem to be very much a complementary pair. She is very selfless to his selfishness, he is very arrogant and sexually adventurous to her shy and inexperienced, she is very calm to his volatility and they balance each other quite well.
Julia is learning to assert herself more, standing up for what she wants and what she believes in rather than allowing others to push her around, or putting others desires before her own. Gabriel is taming his temper as he battles his addictions, which is easier to do some days than others. Their love is all consuming and passionate which means it can be quite tumultuous when they don’t see eye to eye.
I loved these characters, I loved the way their story was tied in with the Italian poet they both specialise in and I loved that though these newlyweds can’t keep their hands to themselves we don’t get a blow by blow page after page. This book was much more about sensuality and seduction and it left much more to the imagination than a lot of what I have read recently.
A perfectly satisfying read on its own though I do think the experience would have benefited from the depth offered by having read the previous two novels.
Reynard’s writing style is both evocative and sensual, it’s easy to read and has beautiful flow. He has written the softer side to Gabriel beautifully, for a man who was always so self-centred he is endearingly romantic. Some of the things he says to Julia are extremely romantic and poetic perfection, you couldn’t help but go weak at the knees if your man said these things to you.