I would like to begin this review by stating that this story is not YA. Although most of the books I review are YA, I do read adult books as well. This book is one of those.
I think I can get your attention by summarizing this book with three little words: sexy, sensual, romantic. This book has all three and then some. The first thing that caught my eye was the mere size of the book. At 500+ pages I knew I was in for an intense book with lots going on, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be taken on a wild emotional ride. Sylvain Reynard is an extremely talented writer. He has a very special way with words. His master of the English language is such that the words he writes will sing to you. That is how strongly I felt about this book.
Julia Mitchell goes off to Toronto to attend graduate school and what she finds is a pretentious, overbearing professor, Gabriel Emerson, who seemingly picks on her since the beginning. He gives Julia an extremely hard time and she can't figure out why, until she overhears him talk about a recent death in his family that she believes is the cause of his attitude. A huge misunderstanding ensues because unbeknownst to Professor Emerson, Julia might not be a stranger after all but actually someone from his past who he is having trouble remembering. Old, confused feelings, resurface and he is faced with the challenge of having to earn Julia's trust after the way he initially treated her. She is extremely shy and innocent. So innocent in fact, that she has trouble understanding why people "can't just be nice". The fact that she is so sweet, innocent, and also pretty, makes her the target of many. She invokes in others mixed feelings such as jealousy, admiration, and even obsession.
Prof. Gabriel Emerson, is an expert in the art of seduction and a Dante specialist. This fact coupled with the fact that he is good looking and well off financially, makes him the perfect womanizer. Gabriel frequents a night club where he meets and sleeps with different women every night. He is what seems only interested in purely sexual and not any meaningful relationships. Gabriel has a dark past, a past he doesn't like to talk about. He struggles with the fact that no matter how smart and successful he has become, he is still the black sheep of his family due to his short temperament and bad choices in the past.
Julia and Gabriel establish a rocky relationship from the beginning, knowing that they are violating rules with their teacher-student link. As the reader, I was immediately invested in their affair, feeling the despair and desperation that came with trying to make things work out with a less than favorable situation. I fell in love with the main characters. Their personalities translated so well on paper I felt like I knew them and I wanted so bad for things to work out for them. There will be a Gabriel's Inferno Part 2 which I am dying to read already because these characters have become a part of me. I miss them already. Needless to say I highly recommend this book to any adult. 5 Huge stars!
Note: Little fact about this book. It was published once as a fan fiction for a popular book series, but was later published. Good thing too, otherwise I might have never read it.
(Originally reviewed at JJiReads.blogspot.com)