My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After reading more than a few romance novels, it’s quite refreshing to come across a love story that has a brain. Julianne Mitchell is a graduate student intent on completing her thesis on Dante’s Inferno. Memories of her past loom over her, but she is a vibrant and sharply intelligent woman. Her professor, Gabriel Emerson stands out in a crowd both for his intelligence and striking good looks, but he too, is weighed down by a past for which he punishes himself relentlessly. Adding intrigue is the history the two share together, but only one remembers.
Sparks fly rather quickly, but self-control is necessary in order to abide in the non-fraternization policy of the university. While the physical attraction is heated and undeniable, Julianne and Gabriel connect on a chaste level that leads to a heartfelt and rewarding connection. The result is a deeply satisfying love story.
Peppered throughout the book are well-chosen references to Dante’s Inferno and Tolkien, which add another level of sophistication to an already cerebral romance. Sylvain Reynard’s fusion of intellect with steamy physical interaction gives proof to the notion that romance novels can be smoking hot and smart at the same time.
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The only thing holding me back from giving this book five stars is a personal preference regarding point of view. Reynard’s writing is gorgeous, but the use of third person omniscient can sometimes be a little confusing. I prefer novels where point of view is grounded in one character and does not deviate.
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