I jest, of course.
One word for this book; erratic. Some of the content is wonderful, 5 star quality stuff, some of it is annoying, and some of it is actually a bit cringey.
If you've read Gabriel's Inferno, which was brilliant, then I do recommend you read Gabriel's Rapture, because ultimately it is a satisfying conclusion, but be prepared to wince and huff a bit along the way.
****** SPOILERS FROM HERE ******
The fantastic connection that the author develops between Julia and Gabriel. It's astonishing. It's also the reason for so many 5 star reviews.
The literary refernces and the fabulously romantic settings.
Some of the writing and some of the concepts the author explores are wonderful.
What Doesn't Work
Is it me, or was Gabriel so over-the-top redeemed by the end that he seemed meek and emasculated? Some of Gabriel's "caring" was, quite frankly, a bit back-away-slowly-dysfunctional. His behaviour became so over-romanticised that it became a cringeworthy parody of what women expect from a romance rather than a depiction of what felt like a genuine and real relationship.
Some of the dialogue, particularly some of the romantic stuff uttered by Gabriel, was so over-the-top that any right-minded woman would be booking a plane ticket to Paul's place, where at least she could be sure of having a sensible conversation.
Both their behaviour was so baffling at times that even I, who live in a dream world (!), couldn't suspend my disbelief.
The obstacle to their relationship felt really contrived and much of the story was driven by (I can hardly say it) The Misunderstanding. (Wash my mouth out)
Christa. Where is she? The story lacked that satisfying "Grr! Foiled again!", stamps foot, and exits moment
I am not a fan of the "Sweet + virginal + Weak = Good" equation of romantic heroines. Got to be honest, Julia could be really pathetic and annoying. I thought her goodness became cloying, and some of her expectations ridiculous. Similarly I think the author overused the religious themes to try to create a sense of of the spiritual in their relationship.
Overall, it resulted in that kind of overdone Susan Elizabeth Phillips-esque effect where the author just goes too far and tries too hard. I found the inclusion of the miscarried baby, the Franciscans, orphans, homeless etc etc. weirdly manipulative and overly sentimental. What man puts a scan picture of a miscarried baby in a frame on his desk? It's just too weird. I also felt that I was being preached to at times, especially regarding a pro-life agenda. Either write religious pamphlets or romance novels. Please don't try and combine them both.
That said, the ending was very satisfying which, we all know, causes women to leap to the computer in their droves to offer up 5 star reviews as tokens of their thanks. Sorry. I wish I could do that, but it just wasn't good enough.
Want another superb college romance like Gabriel's Inferno?