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The Book of Love (Magdalene Line Series #2)

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Overview

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 ...

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2009 Hard cover First edition. All Numbers are Present. New in new dust jacket. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 516 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: ... General/trade. New. Ships Immediately and Trackable from Williamsburg, Virginia. Customer Statisfaction is Our Pleasure. Read more Show Less

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2009 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Tight binding with clean text. New. First Edition. Edges of d/j are slightly worn. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With ... dust jacket. 516 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. The author of the "New York Times" bestseller "The Expected One" continues to illuminate the fascinating world of Christian esoterica as her heroine searches for the mysterious and explosive Book of Love, the gospel written in Jesus' own hand. Read more Show Less

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The Book of Love

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Overview

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.

Weaving together Matilda's little-known true story and Maureen's thrilling search, The Book of Love follows two amazing heroines as their stories intertwine through time. Maureen is immersed in the mysteries of the labyrinth, the beautiful poetry of the Song of Songs, the world's greatest art and architecture, and Matilda's amazing legacy...until a potentially fatal encounter reveals the Book of Love to Maureen — and to the reader.

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  • Kathleen McGowan
    Kathleen McGowan  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Maureen Paschal, last seen discovering the secrets of Mary Magdalene in The Expected One, returns in this overstuffed sequel. Haunted by dreams of Jesus telling her to search for "the Book of Love," Maureen, now a bestselling novelist, takes off for France, where her estranged lover, Bérenger Sinclair, reveals that the mysterious manuscript is supposed to be a gospel written by Christ and whose existence is merely a rumor. Both Maureen and Bérenger receive strange clues pointing them toward the story of Countess Matilda of Tuscany, an 11th-century noblewoman and an early champion of the Book of Love. With the help of Maureen's cousin, a Jesuit scholar at the Vatican, Maureen confronts dangerous forces bent on covering up the truth and follows Matilde's trail though Belgium, Italy and France, culminating in a stunning sequence within the Chartres Cathedral. However, Matilda's hefty story line exists uneasily next to Maureen's contemporary narrative and relies too much on long-winded narration to explain Christian esoterica. Series fans and readers into Da Vinci Code- style church intrigue will enjoy the hell out of this. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

This second entry in McGowan's "Magdalene Line" series is sure to please fans of The Expected One and entice new readers enthralled with conspiracy theories. Following her discovery of the Mary Magdalene gospel and the subsequent publication of her fictional account of that discovery, journalist Maureen Paschal and Madgalene scholar Berenger Sinclair receive a mysterious package holding an ancient document written in Latin and in code. Research determines that the diary belonged to a little-known woman from history, Matilda of Tuscany. Her diary reveals Matilda's participation in a secret Cather society, her marriage to a pope, and her mission to protect what may just be the most important book in history-the teachings of Jesus, written in his own hand. From Rome to France, from the Inquisition to the present, Maureen and Berenger search for clues that will lead them to the brink of danger while they fulfill their own destiny. McGowan is a master storyteller, and her latest will appeal to Da Vinci Code fans still awaiting Dan Brown's next thriller. Highly recommended for all public libraries and academic libraries with conspiracy collections.
—Nanci Milone Hill

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743299978
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 3/10/2009
  • Series: Magdalene Line Series , #2
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen McGowan

Kathleen McGowan is an internationally published writer whose work has appeared on five continents and in at least fifteen languages. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three sons. You can visit her website at www.theexpectedone.com.

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Reading Group Guide

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. When Maureen begins having dreams about The Book of Love, she immediately plans to embark upon a search for the sacred text. What factors motivate Maureen in her quest?

2. What similarities does Maureen share with Matilda of Tuscany and the other Expected Ones? Compare and contrast Maureen's and Matilda's roles as Expected Ones within the context of their respective eras, taking into account religious, social, and political factors.

3. Discuss the symbolism of the labyrinth. What does Isobel hope to illustrate by recounting the "labyrinth legend" (133) to Matilda? In what ways does the legend mirror events that take place in Matilda's life?

4. In medieval times, women were "pawns in the affairs of men, with no right to choose in their own future" (133). How was Matilda able to overcome the limitations imposed on women in that era? How was she not? Why was Matilda able to earn the adulation of her soldiers, which Conn asserts "was not in spite of the fact that she was a woman, but because she was a woman"?

5. Maureen and Berenger parted ways under strained circumstances two years earlier, and she admits that while she's attracted to him she has concerns about his reputation as a playboy. What ultimately brings them together? How does knowing that Berenger is the bearer of his own legacy as a Poet Prince alter Maureen's feelings about their romantic relationship?

6. Matilda and Gregory's first meeting was "an intense, stimulating game of wit and banter, highly charged on both sides" (399). What attracts them to one another? Why are they each willing to risk their prominent standing — and possibly their lives — to have a relationship?

7. Is Matilda and Gregory's relationship one that is truly equal in power? How does their disagreement over Henry's act of "penance" alter their relationship? What was the strategy behind Matilda's decision to relinquish all of her property to the church — and into Gregory's control?

8. Matilda "was, in many respects, the first modern woman" (619), writes Kathleen McGowan. What examples from the book support this premise? What can women today learn from Matilda?

9. How do the excerpts from The Book of Love and The Libro Rosso enhance the storyline? How does the tale of Solomon and Sheba in particular resonate throughout The Book of Love?

10. How interested were you in reading The Book of Love for its theological premise? Did your own religious views affect your reading of The Book of Love? Why or why not? Has reading the book altered your religious outlook in any way?

11. Discuss the theological implications of The Book of Love and The Libro Rosso. Why are they considered such a threat by the Vatican? Why do you suppose the idea of Jesus marrying Mary Magdalene and fathering children is such a disturbing notion to some religious leaders? If a document substantiating this premise were to come to light, how do you think it would be received by society?

12. Father Girolamo de Pazzi lures Maureen to the crypt of Chartres Cathedral under false pretenses. Why does he later have a change of heart and allow Maureen to leave? Did you guess Father Girolamo's true identity in the story before it was revealed? If so, what clues did you pick up on? Did the revelation of Destino as Longinus come as a surprise?

13. Father Girolamo wants Maureen to "repent" and say that she forged the Magdalene gospel. Why does Maureen refuse to give in to his demand even at the risk of her life? How does she draw on her faith to see her through this situation?

14. Have you also read The Expected One, the first book in the Magdalene Line series? If so, how does The Book of Love compare? In what ways have the characters, including Maureen, changed over the course of the two stories?

15. In the Afterword, Kathleen McGowan writes, "In homage to the Lady Ariadne, I have attempted to weave a 'clue' for all of you to follow in and out of the labyrinth. As such, I have written this book using the ancient mystery school technique of 'layered learning.' The more you read it, the more veils will be removed and the more truths revealed." What "clue," if any, did you pick up on while reading The Book of Love? Are you inspired to re-read the novel a second time? Why or why not?

Tips to Enhance Your Book Club

In addition to The Book of Love, read the first book in the Magdalene Line series, The Expected One, which features Maureen Pascal's search for the gospels of Mary Magdalene.

Visit www.KathleenMcGowan.com for resources and background information about The Book of Love.

Learn more about the life of Matilda, the warrior countess, in Michele K. Spike's biography Tuscan Countess: The Life and Extraordinary Times of Matilda of Canossa.

To view images of Chartres Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site, go to: whc.unesco.org/en/list/81.

Decorate with lilies and roses. The beautiful blooms are "symbolic of Mary Magdalene."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 75 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(46)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(10)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 76 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Epic Nove

    I loved this book. McGowan's follow up to the book of love delivers.

    This is such an epic story. I had never herd of Matilda of Tuscanny or Nicodemus. I was shocked to read that the centurion who stabbed Jesus ended up where he did. I don't want to give anything away. A must read for lovers of DaVinci code drama only with an amazing compelling sometimes devastatingly sad story.

    11 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Highly Recommended follow up to the Expected One...

    I had read the Expected One and had been waiting for the next in the series to be released. When I received an early pre-order I was thrilled. This book begins a short time after the 1st book left off. We catch up with Maureen on tour promoting the book she had written based on the adventures of 'The Expected One'. She begins having dreams about a book written by Jesus based on his teachings and how she must find this book and share it with the world. I really enjoyed how she reconnected with the characters from the first book and the adventure that unfolds as they look for the Book of Love or Libro Rosso and learn about its message.

    This book really sparked a lot of interest in reading on the divine feminine for me as well as suppression of this concept in religion. Whether it is fiction or nonfiction, I have an avid interest right now to read more on the topic. This is a great book club book as it really inspires discussion and debate on spirituality. I would highly recommend this second in the series and I am hoping the third book is not too far behind. I also enjoyed Matilda of Canossa as a character in the book. Doing some research I saw that she was a real historical figure and quite a strong female in her time. I want to know more about her story. Between the strong characters, undercurrent of the divine feminine and the great surprising finish (which has me wanting to take a trip to France) I think this is a must read for anyone who enjoyed the Expected One, or other books that get you thinking about the way religious history is written.

    10 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Thrilling Read

    This novel reads like it was written by someone who was there at the time of Jesus 2000 yrs ago,

    I felt the pain of a wife,mother and friend who had not only lost her beloved, but who was now in danger herself and had to flee the country with her children I visited some of the places in France and Italy that the characters in the book visit and it is obvious so did McGowan.

    The book took me back there and these places are as amazing as the writer says they are,

    I was on a tour and we spoke to the locals who told us some of the same stories McGowan speaks of like the places Magdalene hid while living in France, the church where The Book of Love was hidden. We visited Orval where Matilda of Tuscanny lived and hid the Book of Love

    This is an epic story that needed to be told

    I recommend this book not as fiction but as non fiction. It just feels right.

    9 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2009

    Great Follow up to The Expected One

    A friend loaned me a review copy of this book. I hadn't read the first book in the series so I didn't know if starting with book 2 would work. I have to say I loved the story and am now reading The Expected One.<BR/><BR/>There is a lot of information in this book. Really heavy at times. I found that I needed to have a clear mind before I started reading,<BR/><BR/>This book revolves around Matilda of Tuscany. I cannot saw I ever heard of this remarkable woman. She should not have been forgotten as she was a part of ending the dark ages. There is no doubt in my mind it was because she is female that she was buried by a male dominated world.<BR/><BR/>O not to give it away but Jesus wrote a gospel according to the author. Mind blowing stuff<BR/><BR/>Highly recommende

    7 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This second "Magdalene Line" thriller is action-packed from the moment the heroine travels to France and never slows down

    Maureen Paschal has become a bestselling novelist after writing a so called fictional account of her recent quest in search of and uncovering the secrets of Mary Magdalene (see THE EXPECTED ONE). However, instead of basking in her glory, she receives a strange package with a symbol and a medieval letter from a Countess Matilda; she also suffers from dreams that interfere with her sleep; Jesus directs her to find the Book of Love.

    Knowing not to ignore messages, Maureen travels to France to discuss this with her lover Berenger Sinclair. He explains the supposed manuscript has never been proven to exist, but allegedly is the gospel as written by Jesus. They both receive enigmatic clues that send them to search for the eleventh century true believer in the existence of the gospel, Countess Matilda of Tuscany. As they follow Matilda's wandering in Western Europe with the help of Maureen's Jesuit scholar cousin Father Peter Healy, some Vatican officials want the truth to remain buried; if that includes burying Maureen and Berenger so be it.

    This second "Magdalene Line" thriller is action-packed from the moment the heroine travels to France and never slows down as the race for the Jesus Gospel takes off even with its obvious Brownian connection. The story line intermingles the present subplot with Matilda's adventures, but each feels a bit overloaded with in fairness insightful Christian cryptic canon that adds to the readers understanding of religious dogma a millennium ago vs. today but also slows down the pace. THE BOOK OF LOVE is a deep exhilarating novel.

    Harriet Klausner

    6 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2009

    You'll Hate the Book of Love!

    If you are seeking information on the Cathar's alleged lost gospel, "The Book of Love", don't waste your money on this book. Although McGowan entitles her own book after the lost gospel, she fails to deliver. Nothing more is to be learned from her tedious novel. Her work is just a rehash of authors such as Elizabeth van Buren, Walter Birks and R.A. Gilbert, and Raymond Escholier who have all stated that there IS, in fact, a lost gospel. These authors claim that legends state that a predestined person will find the lost gospel at a predestined time. Additionally, Escholier's heroine, is a young woman set against a 1950's backdrop (which is when he wrote his book), and her ill-fated search for the "Book of Love". So, we already have known for several hundred years that there was a lost gospel of the Cathars that many treasure seekers have sought. Unfortunately, McGowan offers us no further information, and provides no further insights into what the text could have contained. She merely sets up her scroll-seeking heroine against a Medieval backdrop. Yawn. You'll be lost in her labyrinth of pseudo-history, with no further information about the Book of Love than when you entered her myopic maze.

    6 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2009

    fascinating, fast-paced, provacative

    I didn't know much about this subject matter but when a friend gave me an advance copy the title intrigued me and I thought I would give it a try. Several hours later, I glanced up to discover it was past midnight! This is one of those books that grabs you right from the start. I guess some might say it's kind of like The Da Vinci Code but really, it is so much better than that book. You can tell the author has done a lot of research and loves her spiritual subject matter , but the mysterious, fast-moving plot keeps the book highly engaging even for people who don't consider themselves very religious. It's a great read, with tons of provactive information that I can't wait to discuss with others who've read it too.

    6 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2009

    Boring, boring, boring

    I thought I might enjoy this book. But it's just too long, too complicated, and too boring. I kept having to refer back to previous pages to just keep of track of the different characters. So, it became too much trouble. I didn't finish it, so I honestly can't give it agood
    recommendation.

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2009

    Corny Love Scenes

    In spite of the cheesy cover, I purchased the Book of Love. But this book was not nearly as good as her first book - it did not keep my interest, and was difficult to follow the plot and characters. The corny love scenes (ala "he cups her head in his hands", and calls her my "Dove"). These cheesy scenes made the book read like a cheap romance novel from Barbara Cartland! Personally, there are much better historical/religious mysteries out there to read. Really disappointed,and probably will not buy another book from the author.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2009

    The journey of re-examination continues...

    I recently received and am just diving into the long-awaited "Book of Love" (I'm several chapters in), and am intensely curious to see where this installment takes me on my never-ending journey of rediscovery and reexamination of my own personal faith and relationship with Christ, God and the mysteries of the spiritual omniverse.

    Raised as I was amongst "Bible-based" Evangelicals, I turned away from God once the repressive cord of intolerance and unquestioned fundamentalism was severed. Casting about in dark corridors of Atheistic, Agnostic and Deist thought for years, I stumbled upon "The Expected One" at one of the lowest points of my spiritual life, and it literally lifted me up, filled me up, and put me back on the road to enlightenment and understanding of God's love, Christ's true life and message, and the important, elevated role of women in early Christianity. It was like a breath of fresh, rose-scented air, and it all suddenly MADE SENSE. All the doubts and misgivings I had during my Evangelical, Born Againer youth melted away, and the message of love, forgiveness, esoterica, mysteries, magic and "heretical" knowledge outside the Bible's strict and manipulated canon washed over me. It was a form of salvation, actually, and rejuvenated me spiritually like I had never felt, bringing me back to God and bringing me closer to Christ than I had ever felt as an anxious, quivering child, closing my eyes (and ears) whilst waiting for the Rapture (and hoping like mad - although never sure - that I was whisked up with it).

    Now, I stand on the brink of "The Book of Love," and can't wait to immerse myself in Kathleen McGowan's intensive research into more little-known, but hugely important figures in the annals of Christianity, Gnosticism and Catharism. People that matter, but are hard to find by the lay public. McGowan, as always, does the work for us, and brings us extraordinary half-hidden history in the midst of a thrilling, deftly delivered tale. What could be better?

    "The Book of Love," much like "The Expected One," is a necessary part of any Judeo-Christian's path of enlightenment, providing a strengthening challenge to the status quo, an introspection on the nature of faith, love and God. Only through rigorous examination and challenge can Faith stand the test, and emerge stronger, more real and accessible.

    Everyone has their role. Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln did. Dan Brown did (although I haven't read his stuff, I admire him for making the topic of the married Magdalene a mainstream discussion). Now Kathleen McGowan does, too. In the end, it's all about spreading the Word, spreading the Truth, to as many people as possible, so they, like me, can hopefully be transformed and find a new understanding of a failed system of judgmental, rigid faith based more on fear than actual logic, history and truth.

    God bless Ms. McGowan and her brave stance and bold writing. Much like He whom we all love and follow, Ms. McGowan is running against the grain and absorbing sling and arrows in an effort to expose the simple Truth that so many seem to want to ignore - Love is really all that matters, and can truly change the world for the better.

    It's not trite or sappy or hippyish as it sounds. It's the unironic truth, for all who will submit to the transformative power of the universe's most powerful force.

    That's the message of "The Book of Love."

    3 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2009

    Not this one

    This book was an interesting idea that didn't translate well into fiction. A plodding over written book where the author message shouted at you from every page. It would've have been better written as non fiction. The romantic scenes didn't ring true and I was disappointed because I was genuinely interested in the subject

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The Book Of Love - Lessons to live by

    The sequel to The Expected One does not disappoint, rather it builds on the spiritual and historical lessons of Kathleen McGowan's first book of The Magdelene Series.
    Reading The Book Of Love as a novel, it is well written, fast paced with the same parallel story lines of the current setting, investigating a past story as was introduced in The Expected One. Although this makes it an exciting contemporary novel, the real story comes with the historical incite into stories long forgotten. These stories need to be brought into modern conciousness.
    The third element, The Book written by Christ himself comes from insights and interpretations of the Author based on her exhaustive research. The result is truly insightful and if the original manuscript was ever uncovered, it would be highly unlikely to contradict the conclusions Kathleen McGowan has drawn.
    This book is highly recomended to all those looking for a highly readable spiritual or history lesson and those seeking the truth.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    Why is this book so very expensive in nook form?  $23.30 for an

    Why is this book so very expensive in nook form?  $23.30 for an ebook??? Thats just ridiculous and makes me wonder who does't want this book to be read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2010

    The Book of Love

    The Book of Love and The Expected One are two books that I will always keep in my book case, take out and read again, and again. Kathleen McGowan has written the story of Jesus and Mary as I always believed it to be, and brought new insight as generations traveled through Europe keeping the "faith" alive. Very moving, and I have recommended these two books to many with the same feed back...simply wonderful,captivating, and believable.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

    Wonderful

    This book could not be put down. I think to enjoy it you have to read her first book, The Expected One, wonderful as well.
    What can I say about this book except that everyone should read this book to realize the truth about what really went on when Jesus walked our earth. I think one of my favorite characters is Matilda she had such a spirit and the love she shared with so many. She was my hero in this book.
    I look forward to her new book coming out this year, The Poet Prince.
    I have loved you before, I love you today, and I will love you again, time returns. Wow what a statement to live by.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2009

    Book of Love is both engaging and informative.

    As a student of the 12th century and a person who reads little romantic fiction, I very much enjoyed the historical references and the imaginative treatment of historical facts in the Book of Love. I was able to transport myself to the approximate time period of the historical parts of this book through the author's careful treatment of detail. I enjoyed the intrigue there and how it was woven into a story about people today. I have not read other parts of this series, but that did not hinder my enjoyment of this book as it stands alone.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Book Of Love

    This is another one of McGowan's successes! Her take on the Magdalene legacy plus her depth of research is amazing. Looking forward to the next one!

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Must Read

    This book really gives me hope on this Good Friday. Hope that people will learn about the man as a human being and not just an icon. Unlike the Bible and Roman Catholic teachings, this feels more realistic.
    If you haven't read book one of the series, The Expected One, I recommend you read it first. It is not a must but it really sets up book 2.
    I eagerly await book 3. I always felt there was more to this amazing man and his wife. Thank you Kathleen!!

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013

    why is this electronic book $23? It does not make sense. The p

    why is this electronic book $23? It does not make sense. The purpose of the NOOK is convenience and less expensive books since there's no actual product materials. My BN membership discount didn't even apply to NOOK Books. After 10 years worth of membership I didn't renew. What for if I wasn't getting a discount?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2012

    Love it!

    You can feel the true and beautiful message of Jesus, it really changes your life, in a ficcion story that you can,t put it down! It is beautiful...one of the best book I ever read!

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