My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The sequel to Gabriel’s Inferno follows the same route of its predecessor in that it is smart, sexy, and heartfelt. Picking up where the first left off, Julianne and Gabriel continue their romantic getaway in Florence, Italy. They remain wrapped in bliss until returning home, where every obstacle imaginable threatens to tear them apart.
One of Gabriel’s ex-lovers is out for revenge, while a lovesick suitor is desperate for Julianne’s affection, (and poses serious competition). However, both of these issues are relatively minor in comparison to the outright violation of the university non-fraternization policy. Gabriel’s plan to remain chaste until the end of the semester was misguided and the college administration is very aware of an inappropriate relationship between a professor and a student.
All of these problems highlight the cracks in an already fragile relationship. Issues of trust, equality, and jealousy create an internal struggle in conjunction with everything going on around them. The connection that Julianne and Gabriel share is put to the ultimate test, which leads to an evolution of sorts for both individuals. Gabriel embarks on a journey to come to terms with his past and transform into the man he wants to be, while Julianne finds the strength she never knew she had.
When these two characters evolve past their demons, the love they have for one another only grows. For all the strife they endure, the last few pages make it all worthwhile. This is a love story from beginning to end that sizzles with sensuality and crackles with wit.
While Reynard’s writing is elegant as ever, Gabriel’s Rapture falls a little short of the first book in the series. It’s clear the author did incredible research on legal procedures, but the scenes that include these details draw on much too long. On the other hand, scenes where more details would have been welcomed whip by with little or no attention, (such as a particularly romantic day between Gabriel and Julianne). Had it not been for this imbalance, the rating would stand at four stars instead of three.
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