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The Book of Love

Narrated by: Linda Stephens
Series: Magdalene Line, Book 2
Length: 21 hrs and 53 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (272 ratings)

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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.

©2009 Simon and Schuster, Inc; 2008 Kathleen McGowan

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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."

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Female strength...Love for faith

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

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • RJG
  • dallas,tx
  • 08-16-16

great book bad narrator!

The narrator was not at all attractive. She made all the characters seem like they were coming out of a Shakespearian play, an old one at that!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A wonderful trip of the imagination.

A wonderful trip of the imagination thru history filled with insights on both the know and unknown biblical stories. filled with wonderful descriptions of art and locations.
What I really enjoyed was the fact many of her ideas and story lines hit home on many of my own ideas of what really was.
I enjoyed the intertwining of history and art with a captivating story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A wonderful read!

Very interesting and wonderfully written book. Almost believable. Kathleen McGowen has weaved history, love, and Christianity into a “Book of Love”

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Truth in the telling

I have read this book and now have listened to it... It was wonderful both times. I love how its put together and also gives history lessons. I find this to be very powerful and am grateful for what it shares, as it makes more sense than what I had learned in the 'traditional' church teachings.
I recommend this book, and the full series, if you question in your heart the life and times of what you were originally taught.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

For those with ears to hear

I enjoyed listening while taking long walks in nature where I could "hear" with my heart most clearly

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Pippa S.
  • 12-04-18

Terrible narration of a perfectly brilliant story

Having been appalled at the narration of The Expected One I was secretly hoping she’d have done better this time round. But alas - it was not the case. The narrators reading ability is poor but her portrayals and accents of the characters is shocking. It would be preferable if she didn’t try and do accents at all. It’s such a shame. I love these books dearly and the narration ruins them.