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The Book of Love | [Kathleen McGowan]

The Book of Love

Maureen Paschal thought she might rest and work on her book after discovering the gospel written by Mary Magdalene that revealed Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. The truth of their story rocked the world and made Maureen a target of those who did not like her discovery and a heroine to those who did.
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Publisher's Summary

Maureen Paschal thought she might rest and work on her book after discovering the gospel written by Mary Magdalene that revealed Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. The truth of their story rocked the world and made Maureen a target of those who did not like her discovery and a heroine to those who did.

Then Maureen receives a strange package containing what looks like an ancient letter written in Latin and signed with a symbol. She discovers that its author is an extraordinary woman whom history has overlooked -- or covered up -- Countess Matilda of Tuscany, and in the letter Matilda demands the return of her "most precious books and documents." Maureen soon finds herself in a race across Italy and France, where hidden dangers await her and her lover, Bérenger, as they begin to realize that they are on the trail of another explosive discovery: the Book of Love, the Gospel written in Jesus' own hand.

As Maureen learns more about Matilda, an eleventhcentury warrior countess who was secretly married to a pope, she begins to see the eerie connections between herself and Matilda, connections she must trace to their source if she is to stop the wrong people from finding the Book of Love and hiding it forever.

©2008 Kathleen McGowan; ©2009 Simon and Schuster, Inc

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (139 )
5 star
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4.3 (74 )
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Story
4.2 (71 )
5 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Laura 04-16-09
    Laura 04-16-09 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    273
    6
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    "So interesting!"

    If you are into traditional religion this is not the book for you. If you are open to a great story, spiritual and romantic, woven into history in a "heretical" way, I definitely recommend this book. The narrator does a wonderful job playing all of the parts. I hated for the book to end. Who knows what really happened in history? Even if we were there would we know the whole story? I cannot wait for Kathleen McGowan's next book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol B. 09-03-09
    Carol B. 09-03-09

    Reader & Wordsmith

    HELPFUL VOTES
    58
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    273
    19
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    "A "must" read"

    This book tells several stories, weaving them together into a wonderful tapestry. It's fiction. Or is it? The story line makes a lot of sense. It will make you think and question what you were taught as a child. Read "The Excected One" first, if you can. It will add good background to help in the understanding of "The Book of Love."

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Oxnard, CA, USA 06-24-10
    Michelle Oxnard, CA, USA 06-24-10

    I love to read novels but haven't had much time to read. I do however drive about 2-3 hours a day! So i Gave this a try I love it :)

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    5
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    "Female strength...Love for faith"

    It is a good mixture of love faith and politics.Demonstrating the secrets behind them.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard D. Shewman Erie, PA United States 01-11-13
    Richard D. Shewman Erie, PA United States 01-11-13 Member Since 2001

    rshewman

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Engaging at times yet also frustrating"

    It’s been about 20 years since I did graduate studies and encountered Matilda of Tuscany in one of my courses. My professor was a fan of Matilda and introduced us to this larger than life woman who had such a profound impact on Western history. Thus, when Kathleen McGowan dedicated the greater part of "The Book of Love" to the story of Matilda, she had me. Since much of what passes for the history of the middle Ages only focuses on the military and economic conflicts among the narcissistic power brokers of the period, Matilda is often overlooked except in her political and military roles. Yet, this woman impacted so many aspects of medieval society that her influence is still being felt.

    McGowan tells the story of Matilda within the context she introduced in her first book that includes Cathar beliefs, the theory that Magdalene was the wife of Jesus and that there has been an alternative “underground” Christianity since the time of Christ. In the author’s notes she makes it clear that she believes this to be true but that she presents it in the guise of historical fiction. She is a storyteller not an academic and is more comfortable presenting what she believes to be true in the form of story than as an academic disputation. She challenges the reader to consider the beliefs she presents on their own merit. Since this is a review of the book as a work of fiction, I will not attempt to discuss the merits of the beliefs presented in the book.

    As a tale, the author draws me in whenever she tells the story of Matilda. She gives a nice sense of life in Medieval Italy and most of the characters from that period are fairly well developed and engaging. Even the villain of that part of the story, Henry IV, is believable in his malignant psychopathy. There are many little fables and vignettes, presumably from the “Red Book” that season the story and flesh out the mythological context in which the characters find themselves.

    The author looses me when she shifts into the present. I get the feeling that the characters are there simply to explain the beliefs that the author is presenting in the book. Neither Maureen nor Beringer engage me as characters. Cousin Peter Healy seems to be the only character that shows any depth or development.

    In a review of "The Expected One", her first book in this series, I complained that the villains were one dimensional, cardboard characters that were not really believable. At least one of the villains in "The Book of Love" is two dimensional. Most of the villains in the shell story are sneering, hooded figures, who skulk in the shadows and whose motivation is unclear. She develops the apparent leader of this cabal a little, yet the contemporary villains are not really necessary to the story. They don’t move the action forward to any significant degree, as that is done by the quest for the Book of Love and hints dropped by a mystery character.

    As with the first book in the series, when the story is in the past I’m engaged and enjoy the series. That is what got me to read "The Book of Love" and that is what will get me to go on to the third book in the series.

    The narrator does a good job and adds to the enjoyment of the audio book version.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kacey Broderick 10-31-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    3
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    Story
    "Amazing!"
    Any additional comments?

    This book speaks to my life at this moment. Amazing!
    Thank you for all of your lovely work and service, Kathleen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Riverside, RI, United States 03-02-13
    Susan Riverside, RI, United States 03-02-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    Story
    "had potential but..."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The history and stories of Matilda and Italy were interesting, but the modern-day characters had no development.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Kathleen McGowan again?

    Probably not


    How could the performance have been better?

    A completely different narrator. This narrator spoke in a slow, choppy manner with odd inflections and sustained pronunciations of some words. It was so irritating to listen to and I was tempted frequently to stop listening. I do enjoy stories about Italy, and that was the only reason I completed the audiobook.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    The plot was fair, but the narration detracted from the story. My reactions were irritation, anger and boredom.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blithe Spirit US 09-03-12
    Blithe Spirit US 09-03-12
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    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Davinci Code Scramble"
    Would you try another book from Kathleen McGowan and/or Linda Stephens?

    Not after this one.


    Has The Book of Love turned you off from other books in this genre?

    The genre, no. Books by McGowan, and books read by Stephens, yes.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Read the book before beginning narration. Many sentences are read in a way where it seems that the reader is not expecting a sub clause, but WHOA, there it is! Her stress and intonation are often irritatingly off. Further, when narrating a particularly significant and emotional segment, Stephens' voice often rises into some sort of plaintive whine which further emphasizes the overdone-ness of the style.


    Did The Book of Love inspire you to do anything?

    Yes, it inspired me to be more careful how I spend my credits.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is the tedious and disappointing bastard child of Kate Mosse's _Sepulchre_ and Dan Brown's _Da Vinci Code_. Enough with the Cathars and Waldensians already. I wish I could have my credit back.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    davidxenakis Sioux Falls, SD, USA 05-09-11
    davidxenakis Sioux Falls, SD, USA 05-09-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An adolescent masterpiece"

    The title of the review says it all. If you are over the age of 16 and of either gender, you'll probably find this as adolescent and "girly"as I did. I am always astonished at the number of people who wish to cash in on the Dan Brown success, but I am even more surprised that the publishers of this dreadful book cannot spot that Kathleen McGowan hasn't 1/100 of Dan Brown's abilities. Skip this book, and allow it to wither in whatever place adolescent fantasies must inevitably end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Pensacola, FL, USA 05-14-09
    David Pensacola, FL, USA 05-14-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    "Not worth it"

    Ms. McGowan took a plot line pregnant with possibilities and still birthed a very poorly written novel. Her command of adjectives is inadequate; many of her conversations forced and unnatural. She cannot paint with words and her characters are underdeveloped at best. I was set to enjoy a page-turner and got a page-burner. I quit after 5 hours. I do not recommend this book to anyone.

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
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