Professor Gabriel Emerson is in the grip of a passionate affair with a former pupil. But while they can hide out for a while in an idyllic Italian home, eventually they have to return to the real world, where Emerson’s university is aware of what has been happening. Can Emerson and his lover, Julia, survive the challenges ahead of them?
Billed as an erotic novel, Gabriel’s Rapture is the sequel to Sylvain Reynard’s earlier hit Gabriel’s Inferno. As you might expect, there are plenty of allusions to, and parallels with, the work of Dante. I was a little surprised to find the novel listed in the erotica category, because while there are definitely some erotic passages (pun not intended), I wouldn’t say that these are the defining aspects of the work in the way that they are with the likes of Fifty Shades of Grey. Nevertheless, there are some very well-written scenes as Emerson teaches Julia some of the pleasures of sex.
But while Gabriel’s Rapture might not be all-out erotica, it’s certainly a carefully-constructed and very artful account of one man’s struggle to deal with his passions. Gabriel Emerson is a convincing protagonist, flawed yet also – in his own way – quite brilliant. I found some of the dialogue to be a little stilted, but that’s a small complaint with a book that creates its own little pocket universe filled with drama, melodrama and psychodrama. In other words, something for everyone.
Star rating for Gabriel’s Rapture: 3½ stars.
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