Brigette Reviews: Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard

10140661Enigmatic and sexy, Professor Gabriel Emerson is a well-respected Dante specialist by day, but by night he devotes himself to an uninhibited life of pleasure. He uses his notorious good looks and sophisticated charm to gratify his every whim, but is secretly tortured by his dark past and consumed by the profound belief that he is beyond all hope of redemption.

When the sweet and innocent Julia Mitchell enrolls as his graduate student, his attraction and mysterious connection to her not only jeopardizes his career, but sends him on a journey in which his past and his present collide.

An intriguing and sinful exploration of seduction, forbidden love, and redemption, Gabriel’s Inferno is a captivating and wildly passionate tale of one man’s escape from his own personal hell as he tries to earn the impossible—forgiveness and love.

  • Reading level: Ages 18 and up
  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade; Reprint edition (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 042526596X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425265963
  • Buy at Amazon

On completion of my first manuscript I had a fellow author look it over. Her first advise to me was, “show, don’t tell”, seems easy enough, right? Since then when I read a book that someone else writes, I watch for this. I want to see if this advise is a standard in the writing world or something my mentor thought was just imperative to me. With Gabriel’s Inferno, I felt time and again that someone should have given this same advice to Sylvain Reynard.

Why, you ask?

Well, in this story which I found to be a little on the long side, there were many times when the author continuously repeated himself and told way too much about Dante and the classics. Yes, some of it pertained to the story but I think he could have used half as much and still got the point across. Maybe if he had more time his story would have been shorter. Besides I thought this was a love story not a history lesson, if I want to read about Dante and Beatrice I will Google it, what I did want was a hot and heavy romance. Sadly I was disappointed.

Yes, Gabriel and Julia have a love story, and if you change their names and professions you could easily have Bared to You or Fifty Shades all over again just without the heat. Why is this idea so lather rinse and repeat? The set up, the story, the messages to each other and the dark past issues of the characters are all very similar, have we not had enough fan-fiction yet? Give me something new, for crying out loud!

The characters in this story gave me a hard time; they just did not give me what I needed. The female lead Julia, a naïve twenty-three year old seemed more like fifteen. How can a woman in University, living on her own in another country, that has been overseas by herself, and came from an abusive family be embarrassed by EVERYTHING? I get that she is a virgin, (How many freaking virgins are there anyway?) but with her past and life experience she came across as non-believable and weak. She bored me when I wasn’t having thoughts of slapping her into a backbone.

The other character, Gabriel, was a little more what I look for in a male lead, strong, good looking, smart, (Again how many billionaires with issues are out there?) but just barely. I had a hard time with his amazingly fast transformation from man whore to sickly sweet lover, that was willing to wait until the last two chapters to finally deflower his long awaited virgin. Really? Maybe the author should have spent more time writing about the dark issues of his characters to make them more believable than all that back ground about history.

Again my mentors voice rings in my ear, show, and don’t tell, give the people the story they want not the story you wish you could write. Being an inspiring author myself, I feel bad for coming down on Sylvain Reynard. I mean this is his story and he can write a good tale. The way he manipulates his way around the story and his vast knowledge alone makes me jealous of his writing voice. It was a very well written story and I am a glutton for punishment because I will be reading his second in this series, not because I think it is a great tale but because I like to see how he finishes this thing off.

This could easily have been a stand-alone novel and really did not need to have a second book, so I wonder what does Sylvain have in store for us? Whatever is in store for the second book I hope it fairs better than Gabriel’s sizzled-out Inferno.


  • Dana January 28, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Spot-on review! I completely agree.

  • Rhonda February 1, 2013 at 5:42 am

    Painful and book 2 was even more painful. Save a couple hours of your life and don’t read it.

  • Ellie Totten February 26, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    I smiled when you remarked about show not tell. I belong to a couple writing groups and this point is stressed constantly. As for your views about SR’s books, it astounded me. One of the things I loved about the story was that the reader learns something. I spent a good deal of time in Italy, and visited the same places. It brought back happy memories. As for Julianne, (perhaps it is my age), but she reminds me of one or two friends I went to school with a hundred years ago. I considered her background, her abusive mother, and what she witnessed as a young child. Her father was neglectful as well. There are still unanswered questions about Simon. Perhaps, SR will touch on this with book #3. These were all reasons for Julianne’s behavior. I adored Gabriel and fell in love with him. With all his issues, he still was an amazing man who treated Julianne with respect because of his deep love. It’s a love story about redemption and forgiveness. Perhaps you compare Gabriel and Julianne to how many young people are today. In my day, morals were a bit different. There was an actress, Ingrid Bergman, who had an affair and had a child out of wedlock. Her career ended because of this. Today in Hollywood, it’s not thought about twice.
    I know many women who’ve read these books more than once. They, as well as I, loved the story and are anxious for #3. Sylvain Reynard is a compassionate and brilliant writer.

    Ellie T.

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