Title: The Book of Love
Author: Kathleen McGowan
Release Date: March 10, 2009
Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Since the events of The Expected One and her discovery of the gospel of Mary Magdalene, Maureen Paschal has been tirelessly promoting her book about the discovery of a lifetime. She’s looking forward to some peace and quiet when she receives a mysterious package. Inside, she finds the story of Mathilda of Tuscany and the beginning of a thrilling journey to find the Book of Love – the gospel written by Jesus himself.
The Book of Love is the sequel to Kathleen McGowan’s novel, The Expected One, and what a sequel it was! I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the trilogy and wasn’t sure The Book of Love could live up to it. However, I was happily wrong – McGowan proves that her first novel wasn’t a fluke. She manages to capture the excitement and beauty of The Expected One while also making The Book of Love very different from its prequel.
One of the most striking aspects of The Book of Love was Mathilda’s story. Often, in novels such as this, the historical fiction part is almost just an aside. It’s something you sweep through, anxious to get back to the present. However, McGowan did an amazing job making Mathilda’s story just as captivating as Maureen’s. Both of these women are strong, resourceful, and very smart. McGowan develops both of them incredibly well, making them very appealing heroines of this story.
Though some background in Christianity is probably necessary in order to understand this book, the entire premise of the book ensures it is not Christian fiction. It deals with the history of the church, definitely, and there are spiritual messages within – but anyone of any faith can read and enjoy the story within its pages. However, I would recommend reading these books in order – The Expected One provides valuable and necessary background for The Book of Love, as McGowan doesn’t hold her readers by the hand as she leads them through the story.
One issue I did have with the book is that it moves slowly. While that worked for me because I was not in the mood for an extremely fast paced book, those expecting a fast-paced historical thriller might grow tired of The Book of Love quickly. Additionally, the verses interspersed between different sections of the book definitely make for slow reading. If you go into this book with a mentality of savoring each page, you’ll enjoy it – just don’t expect a Da Vinci Code-esque thriller.
The Book of Love was a wonderfully written and enjoyable read with fabulous characters and intricate historical details. I simply cannot wait to read the final book in the trilogy, called The Poet Prince.