I read this one way back when while it was gaining popularity, receiving tons of attention, and I too, found myself enjoying it for the most part. I’d say the first 65-75% I crushed on Professor Gabriel Emerson, despite (or maybe even because of) his obnoxious mood swings. After all, so many of us love a hero that doesn’t show his true emotions easily, except for his grumpy, “keep-away” side. And when he finally does open up to someone… we swoon. It makes it all that much more special. Gabriel is “that” hero… the wealthy, brilliant and gorgeous University professor, but with an angry, impatient and somewhat snobbish aire about him.
… he’d come into her little home that she had tried to make confortable because she had no other place to go, and he had said it wasnt fit for a dog. He had made her feel worthless and stupid when she was neither. What would Grace say if she could hear him now?
Professor Emerson was an ass. But at least now he knew it.
Known to be distant and arrogant, yet the utmost professional and a master at what he teaches, he is respected by faculty and students alike. He realizes (and fears) that his impersonal stance and stoic resistance to personal relationships is faltering when he finds himself consumed with one of his female students. His need to protect himself (personally), and professionally (no fraternizing with the students) often takes a hit when his alpha-male comes out to publicly growl at her. Oh yes… he had a terrible need to mark his territory. Even at school.
Except she was not alone. Paul was holding her abomination of a book bag and walking with her. They were chatting easily and laughing and strolling dangerously close to one another.
Carrying her books now, are we? How very adolescent of you, Paul.
Professor Emerson watched as the couple’s hands brushed against each other, drawing a small warm smile from Miss Mitchell. A growl rumbled low in Emerson’s throat and his lips curled back from his teeth.
What the hell was that? he thought.
I enjoyed seeing him struggle with his need for distance by remaining aloof and yet succumbing to his desire to… well, heck. I’d almost say “keep” her, ’cause that’s pretty much what a lot of it amounted to be. I’m sure he’d rather say “protect” her. 😉
And of course, Gabriel had that “Christian Grey” thing going on… I mean, I’d be hard-pressed not to acknowledge that, and I discussed it with a fellow reader who had just finished the book:
Maryse: Im still having fun with it. So far. I’m only at 50% though, and my friend wasn’t so much a fan, so we’ll see. Yeah but Christian was a *beep* too sometimes. They have personal issues with emotion and love and turn into hard-assed jerks to cope. Christian has his way of dealing (domination) and Gabriel is a pompous ass. And both try to remain unemotional, and by remaining that way, they can say some really crappy stuff, or act terribly in their attempts to keep distance and control. But he seems like he has the potential to grow. I’m interested…
Jackie: I was ok with it until about then… i can see the similarities – but they are miles apart in my eyes. Oh no – totally different class. The language he uses in the second half annoys me too. Too arty.
Maryse: Hrmm… yes I noticed that… I just found it clever (and a bit stupid on his part) trying to pass his message to her in class … although he is playing wirth SERIOUS fire by pursuing her like he did. But I enjoyed that scene – and even more so when she saw him in his office right after – when they were fuming and what he said to her… *spoiler*
Jackie: That is probably the best scene in the book barring the first orchard scene. and I found it unreal that he *spoiler* … you don’t know his demons yet???
Nope, at that time, I didn’t. But I sure found out! There is a reason behind his ways. But of course!
And what about her? Julia Mitchell. (whoops I had to look that up! *embarrassed* It’s been awhile since I read it, bear with me 😉 ). Hrmmm… she was a very sweet, quiet, responsible and highly intelligent woman (after all, she managed to be a student in his class), but she had an extreme sense of meekness and vulnerability about her that I found at times, off-putting. She was easily intimidated by Gabriel and responded to his mood swings in a way that had me shaking my head and wondering just how good for each other they would be in the end (whatever the *end* may be, of course.) Hehe. No spoilers. *silly smirk*
And yet I relished many of their private moments and public arguments (after all, I love to read about the alpha-male claiming and protecting his “woman”), and the dynamic between the two certainly made for some memorable scenes. I had to know where this was going. Because, you see, she has a certain secret. They’d met once before. And she knows him more then he thinks she does. Gabriel has his own traumatic past (don’t they all? 😉 ) Yet, he seems to have forgotten her, entirely. How is that possible you ask? It’s explained. And while I shrugged and just “went with it” (hehe!!) I know a few fellow readers who… really struggled with this part of the story.
So what took me so long to write this review? I found myself warring with just how much I “liked” the book. An internal struggle with my initial reactions to Gabriel, the intensity at which I found myself initially connecting with (and hoping) for a certain result, and my surprising feelings for how it ended. I’m not saying that it ended well (or not well) in terms of an HEA. So many of you have already read this and the sequel, but for those that haven’t… I’ll let the fact that there’s a sequel “tease” you and keep you guessing.
But it was more along the lines of a tone change that had me changing my enthusiastic tune for it. *shrug* An ending that I found somewhat tedious and ended up skimming through. BUT!!! So many LOVED this book. Out of my friends, it almost seems to fall half and half with those that absolutely loved every bit of it, to those that barely felt a thing. And considering how popular this book is, and just how often it is recommended, it was time I worked out my feelings for it.
Maryse: up to the 60% mark, pretty good, entertaining… I liked Gabriel even in his *beep* times (<— I said a bad word!!). Well I didn’t “Like” him when he was like that – but I enjoyed the drama. But the end… tooooo much… tooooo long, I literally skimmed that whole last part.
Sherry: I LOVED GI ♥ How sweet was he?… I loved Gabriel and his book….I loved it to the last page and I so thought *spoiler*….god, my stomach hurt for that!!! Loved it!
See? So MANY fellow readers LOVED it, and some… not so much. I was with the “love it” crew for the most part. Didn’t want to put it down, thought about it at work, chatted about it with my friends as I was reading it. Sure sign that I was into it. But it’s how I experienced the ending, the last part of the book, that had me conflicted, and somewhat disappointed. My friend originally mentioned it to be an “anti-climactic” ending, and I’d have to agree, considering much of the buildup. But who knows… maybe book #2 (Gabriel’s Rapture) will wow me? After all, it exists for a reason. 😉 We’ll see…
So, for the most part it was a 4 star reading experience for me, but with that 3 star ending, I’ve gotta give it 3.5 stars.