3 February 2015

Review #139: The Sharp Hook of Love: A Novel of Heloise and Abelard by Sherry Jones

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

God knows I never sought anything in you except yourself. I wanted simply you, nothing of yours.

                                                                     ----Héloïse d'Argenteuil, a 12th-century French nun, writer, scholar, and abbess, best known for her love affair and correspondence with Pierre Abélard

As the author, Sherry Jones, an international best-seller author says in her note at the end of her book, The Sharp Hook of Love that though this is a fictional story but Heloise and Abelard's love affair is not like fictional characters Romeo and Juliet's love affair, instead they were very much real. Inspired by one of the famous love stories of the world- Heloise and Abelard, dating back to the 12th century in France, the author, Sherry Jones, has crafted out a fine historical novel, The Sharp Hook of Love: A Novel of Heloise and Abelard that encompasses Heloise and Abelard's heart-breaking and devastatingly beautiful love-story.

Among the young women of 12th century Paris, Heloise d’Argenteuil stands apart. Extraordinarily educated and quick-witted, she is being groomed by her uncle to become an abbess in the service of God. But with one encounter, her destiny changes forever.
Pierre Abelard, headmaster at the Nôtre Dame Cloister School, is acclaimed as one of the greatest philosophers in France. His controversial reputation only adds to his allure, yet despite the legions of women swooning over his poetry and dashing looks, he is captivated by the brilliant Heloise alone. As their relationship blossoms from a meeting of the minds to a forbidden love affair, both Heloise and Abelard must choose between love, duty, and ambition.

Sherry Jones has spun a story of Heloise and Abelard from the letters shard between them, so mind it! this book is a tribute to one of the greatest love affair in our history! And for that I'd like to hats off to the author, Sherry Jones, for honoring Heloise and Abelard in the form of an alluring and reminiscent novel.

This 900 years old love story of Heloise and Abelard which is not only romantic but also very passionate, have scandalized the whole community in Notre Dame. Heloise, a very young 12th century intellectually gifted scholar, who is left abandoned by her very own mother. Having grown up in a church, Heloise has always wanted to be an abbess, but when she returns back to her uncle Fulbert's home in Notre Dame to seek knowledge about human existence, there was only one philosopher and theologian who can give her what she was seeking for- Pierre Abélard, one of the most celebrated philosopher of the 12th century! Intrigued by Heloise's quick wit and infallible intellect, Abelard fell for her passionately thus making her his inspiration for the poems he wrote. Soon they find themselves entwined in the inevitable attraction for each other thus embarking their forbidden love affair! Read the novel to lose yourself in the fascinating aura and passion of their love story.

I have to confess this that I'm now a huge fan of Sherry Jones, because I now think of no body else, who could have pull off Heloise and Abelard's love story so strikingly. From the very first page, when Heloise is left abandoned by her own mother to the time when she returns back to her hometown with her Uncle Fulbert to the time when she first meets the intriguing and highly educated Pierre to the time when she passionately opens up her soul to Pierre, the author's eloquent narrative style kept me gripped to it's very core. Moreover, she unfolded the whole love story compassionately and with enough mystery, thus leaving us anticipating as to what is going to happen next! The prose is absolutely articulate, layered with expressive words from both Latin and French. The time period that she drew in her novel is thoroughly vivid and lively, and at times you can almost see the aristocrats and the scholars strolling around Notre-Dame de Paris and that medieval aura was very much alive in the author's prose.

The author portrayed those real life characters with enough depth, thus making us acquainted with their demeanor. Since Heloise and Abelard are real life characters, so it's not a real easy thing to portray such characters true to their demeanor, but Sherry Jones has brilliantly brought them alive in their tale and have maintained the realism. Moreover, the way she told her story leaves us with enough space for us to contemplate with them.

PS: Since Heloise and Abelard's love affair scandalized the whole community, so even on their death beds, they were not allowed to have each other in their arms. So 600 years after their death, Napoleon I's wife, Josephine Bonaparte, ordered the remains of Heloise and Abelard be entombed together at Pére Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

Verdict: A must read novel for everyone to relive in the burning passion of Heloise and Abelard through Sherry Jones words!

Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Sherry Jones, for giving me a golden opportunity to read and review this intriguing and gripping love-story! 


Author Info:
Sherry Jones is an American journalist and internationally best selling author of the controversial "The Jewel of Medina" and other historical fiction novels about women's power. She is also a speaker on issues including women's rights, free speech, and Islamophobia.
Her latest novel, THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE, tells of the forbidden love affair between two of the Middle Ages' greatest intellectuals: Peter Abelard, headmaster of the Notre-Dame Cloister School and a poet whose good looks and love songs make women swoon; and Heloise d'Argenteuil, a beautiful woman scholar being groomed by her uncle to become an abbess. This erotic, passionate story about the sacrifices we make for love debuts Nov. 25 from Simon and Schuster's Gallery Books.
Jones's other books are:
"White Heart," an e-novella about Blanche de Castille, the legendary White Queen of France, who braved sieges, scandal and heartache to protect the Crown from usurpers for her young son, King Louis IX (Saint Louis). The novella is a prequel to:
"Four Sisters, All Queens," about four sisters in 13th century Provence -- Margeurite, Eléonore, Sanchia, and Beatrice of Provence, who became queens of France, England, Germany, and Italy.
Jones became the center of a national controversy in the summer of 2008 after Random House cancelled publication of her historical novel, The Jewel of Medina about Aisha, a wife of the Prophet Muhammad.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Random House had paid Jones a $100,000 advance for the novel when University of Texas Professor Denise Spellberg say a copy of the galleys and decided to "warn Muslims" of the pending publication of a novel that, in Spellberg's opinion, "made fun of Muslims and their history." Random House immediately cancelled publication.
Beaufort Books published the book in the U.S. in October 2008. Publishers in Germany, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Portugal, Hungary, Macedonia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Greece, the Czech Republic, Sweden, and Albania have followed. It has been a best-seller in Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Kosovo, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Spain.
A sequel, "The Sword of Medina," continues the story of A'isha's life after Muhammad's death and the rivalry with his cousin, Ali, which led to the first Islamic civil war and the Sunni-Shia split. It has been published in a number of countries, as well, and was also a best-seller in Serbia. "The Sword of Medina" was awarded a silver medal in the IPPYs, the Independent Publisher Association's book of the year awards.
The controversy over her books has sent Jones on the lecture circuit, speaking in the U.S. and Europe on topics including free speech and censorship, women's rights in Islam, and racism. She has written on these topics for Index on Censorship, New Humanist, AOL News, the Washington Post, and the Huffington Post.
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  1. Thank you for this wonderful review! I am honored and delighted. :)

  2. Thank you for your kind words! I'm glad that you liked my review.


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