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I Belong

Review: Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard

gabriels infernoTitle: Gabriel’s Inferno

Author: Sylvain Reynard

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Gabriel’s Inferno (Book #1)

Publication Date: September 4, 2012

Format: Paperback, 545 Pages

ISBN-10: 042526596X (Berkley/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0425265963 (Berkley/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Kristie


From national bestselling author Sylvain Reynard comes the haunting, unforgettable tale of one man’s salvation and one woman’s sensual awakening . . .

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.

Quick & Dirty: Gabriel’s Inferno is a Professor/Student relationship that spends more time exploring the past and setting up a relationship that is quite anti-climactic.

Opening Sentence: The poet stood next to the bridge and watched as the young woman approached.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Gabriel’s Inferno is a very deceiving book. I was expecting an erotic romance or at least some kind of steamy romance. In an age with books being marketed towards the 50 Shades readers (I will state I haven’t read them yet.) and covers being redesigned to be more obscure I can understand why these books are placed with the more erotic products. I will also state that I think this book was a fluke, I imagine the other two books in the Gabriel’s Inferno series are probably more steamy and erotic after the events of this one.

I was really conflicted at the beginning of the novel. I couldn’t stand how terribly Gabriel treated Julianne (Julia). He was totally uncalled for and I really wanted to set the novel aside. Then also in the first chapter there was a huge chunk where the point of view was by a classmate of Julianne’s, Paul Norris who kept talking about how attractive she was, I just remember thinking that this book was supposed to be about Julia and Gabriel and not some guy named Paul. I powered through until Julia overhears Gabriel receiving the news that someone in his life died. Then when Julia gets the same call, I was hooked for a while. I really wanted to know how they knew this person but yet didn’t “seem” to know each other.

Julia and Gabriel have a past together that Gabriel is unaware of and it is kind of frustrating all in itself. This past really influences Julia’s present as a graduate student specializing in Dante, Gabriel’s specialty. Gabriel just didn’t piece it together, much to Julia’s dismay. Gabriel is a Professor at the University of Toronto where Julia is accepted into the graduate program. She was also accepted at Harvard but couldn’t afford it. Their attraction for each other is pretty much instantaneous (past & present) although Gabriel doesn’t quite understand why he doesn’t want to hurt the poor, nice girls feelings at first. Not to mention dating a student would ruin his career, but since he isn’t hurting for money, that isn’t too much of a problem.

Gabriel’s Inferno is basically a “courting” book. Gabriel courts Julia the entire book and this isn’t a short book at over 500 pages. The reason why…Gabriel and Julia have secrets. Secrets that are potentially devastating.  Once their feelings for each other are revealed, the next step in their relationship is to divulge the secrets that could end their relationship. Also, Julia is a big V and Gabriel has to make taking that away from her uber-super special, even planning out the big day.

Gabriel is crazy moody. He easily goes from hot to cold and back again. He thinks he is this dark creature who can’t have anything or anyone he wants. He is in a self-imposed prison. He has no problem sleeping with any woman he sees. Outwardly, Julia is this really nice, naïve and sweet girl, everyone thinks she is beautiful and she doesn’t see it. Inwardly, she does suffer from some really poor self-esteem. I felt that they did have some steamy interactions with each other but their respective moodiness kind of ruins the moment.

This novel is told in the third person and it is constantly jumping from person to person, even time jumping from one paragraph to another. It took a little bit for me to get used to but once I did I really didn’t have too much of a problem with it.

I’m just going to go on a stupid rant here…What do you think of books that bash something you really like? I am a pretty huge fan of Nine Inch Nails. I know a lot of people don’t like them but I like that type of music. This novel just bashed them left and right, including the fact that Trent Reznor really made the girl want to hurl. Yes, Gabriel stated that he liked Nine Inch Nails but that didn’t turn out too well in the end. I know this could have been any band, it just happened to be one that I really liked so much so that I had to listen to them while reading this novel. I’m going to try and pull a Taylor Swift and try to “Shake It Off”. Rant over.

Overall, this novel was a half & half for me. I enjoyed half of it. I didn’t enjoy the other half of it. It might not have been a problem if it wasn’t soooo long. The buildup just didn’t pay off in the end. I was not too thrilled with the climactic buildup and subsequent revelations. One of the characters terrible secret was so not a secret to me and that in itself was annoying. I just really can’t recommend this novel unless you are looking for something with a bit of steam, some moodiness and/or really like Dante and Italy.

Notable Scene:

“Beatrice.” He clasped her wrist, pulling her toward him. He shifted slightly on the bed to accommodate her, enveloping her in his arms as she rested her head on his naked chest. “I thought you’d forgotten me.”

“Never,” she choked out as the tears began to flow uncontrollably. “I thought of you every day.”

“Don’t cry. You found me.”

Gabriel closed his eyes and turned his head, his breathing beginning to regulate again. Julia lay very still, not wanting her sobs to disturb him, trying desperately not to shake the bed as she let her grief and relief wash over her. Tears travelled in small rivers down her pale cheeks and onto the expanse of tanned and tattooed skin that lay beneath her head.

Her Gabriel had remembered her. Her Gabriel had finally returned.

“Beatrice,” his arm tightened around her waist as he moved to whisper against her hair, still damp from the shower. “Don’t cry.” With his brilliant blue eyes closed, Gabriel pressed his lips to her forehead, once, twice, thrice.

“I missed you. So much,” she whispered, her lips moving against his tattoo.

“You found me,” he murmured. “I should have waited. I love you.”

Now Julia wept harder, clinging to him as if she were drowning and he was her savior. She kissed the skin of his chest lightly and ran her fingers up and down his abdomen.

In response, Gabriel’s fingertips traced the goose-pimpled flesh of her arms before slipping under the loose fabric of her T-shirt. He feathered his fingers across her skin until his hand finally stilled against her lower back. He sighed deeply and seemed to pass into his dreamland once again.

“I love you, Gabriel. So much it hurts,” she said, her hand coming to rest over his gently beating heart.

Gabriel’s Inferno Series:

1. Gabriel’s Inferno

2. Gabriel’s Rapture

3. Gabriel’s Redemption


FTC Advisory: Berkley/Penguin provided me with a copy of Gabriel’s Inferno. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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