The Book of Love

The Book of Love

by Kathleen McGowan

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416531708
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication date: 02/09/2010
Pages: 516
Sales rank: 352,075
Product dimensions: 5.36(w) x 8.06(h) x 1.18(d)

About the Author

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.

Reading Group Guide

The Book of Love

Kathleen McGowan

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.”

Customer Reviews

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Book of Love (Magdalene Line Series #2) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 76 reviews.
Stella57 More than 1 year ago
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.
A_Mary More than 1 year ago
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.
Paul24 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
whirlingdervish More than 1 year ago
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.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
TravelerSK More than 1 year ago
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.

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,

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.

O not to give it away but Jesus wrote a gospel according to the author. Mind blowing stuff

Highly recommende
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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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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