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The Book of Love: The Magdalene Line    by Kathleen McGowan order for
Book of Love
by Kathleen McGowan
Order:  USA  Can
Touchstone, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Maureen Paschal is writing a book after discovering a gospel, believed to have been written by Jesus' own hand, that revealed Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married! This goes against all the tenets of the church and Maureen gains believers as well as enemies. The Book of Love encompasses two different time periods the present day with Maureen and the eleventh century AD with Countess Matilda of Tuscany.

Matilda is a Cathar one of the first true Christians and believes in the message that Mary Magdalene wished the world to acknowledge. The Book of Love - a volume that the church would have preferred to disappear - appears in Matilda's time and she embraces it. The irony of her life is that Pope Gregory married her secretly, even though he was the one who brought celibacy for priests to the Catholic Church. Matilda and the Pope found passages in the gospel that they believed allowed them to become one through the force of their love.

The Book of Love is an epic in every sense of the word. It is gripping at times, and revelatory about the beginnings of churches. It describes Chartres Cathedral in France in such glowing terms that this glorious edifice is going on my must see list. Trying to keep this explosive Book of Love from the hands of those who would destroy it both in the 1100s and today keeps readers on the edge of their seats.

The intricate plot of this novel is too complex to summarize in a few words. If you are a religious person, this book will enthrall you and give you much to contemplate. If not religious, The Book of Love - the second in a trilogy, the first being The Expected one - is a finely researched historical novel and will still enthrall you.

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