This is Sylvain Reynard's debut novel and I was lucky enough to read an unpublished version of this story first. He takes his readers on an intense ride of emotion and longing that will be sure to bring everybody back for more.
Gabriel is a Dante Specialist, a Professor, but he's also held captive by the mistakes of his past. And when he first sees Julianne in his seminar, something about her strikes a chord with him. He manages to strike out at her every turn.
Julianne is quiet and shy, introverted because of the pains of her past. She and Gabriel have a connection that goes beyond their love of Dante and Academia, one that has changed them both thoroughly. The two have to learn to rely on each other and love with abandon, but will the aches of their pasts prove to be too much?
One of the things I enjoy about Sylvain Reynard's writing is that it's very smooth, almost lyrical. You almost feel as though you are there, experiencing everything that the characters are going through. It's a difficult thing to accomplish and SR does it with style.
The growth of the characters throughout the story is beautiful to watch. Julianne becoming more self-assured and Gabriel understanding the power of love. There's still so much for these characters to do and grow into, but just in this first part you get a glimpse of the blossoming under each other. Their affection and attention for one another helps them to heal.
And can I just say that I absolutely love the cover! On goodreads it looks like a beautiful picture, but on the copy that I have, the cover appears to be more of a painting. In true fashion of the paintings that were inspired in Gabriel's Inferno.