Book Tour Review: The Sharp Hook of Love by Sherry Jones

Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Title: The Sharp Hook of Love
Author: Sherry Jones
Genre: historical fiction
Series: N/S
Pages: 352
Published: October 2014
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating: 3.5/5

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 NĂ´tre 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 weaves the lovers’ own words into an evocative account of desire and sacrifice. As intimate as it is erotic, as devastating as it is beautiful, The Sharp Hook of Love is a poignant, tender tribute to one of history’s greatest romances, and to love’s power to transform and endure.

Famous, often tragic, love stories are a hard narrative to resist, and even harder when they're based in fact and not fiction. Unlike your Tristan and Iseults or Juliet and Romeos, the star-crossed lovers Heloise and Abelard, the two main characters in Sherry Jones's The Sharp Hook of Love, were real people. They lived nearly a thousand years ago, but their tumultuous story of forbidden love, revenge, secrets, and decades-long separation is still widely known today. Both incredibly intelligent and stubborn, these two determined people fight for one another and with another as the wheels of fate turn inexorably toward a difficult conclusion. 

The allure of the novel's premise can also be somewhat of a hamper to fully immersing in this version of their story. The Sharp Hook of Love is engaging and solidly written, but I found that previously knowing the outcome for these two makes me a tad cynical for the early stages of the romance. It's hard not to know this particular ending before starting, but Jones makes the read enjoyable regardless. The author's version of events sticks closely to what we factually know about Heloise and Abelard's relationship but also benefits from some new information and letters to really make their chemistry and passion pop from the page. 

Sherry Jones ably and convincingly portrays both of her main characters. It's easier to identify and care for Heloise because we not only see the story from her view but she also acts much less selfishly than her lover. Abelard is harder to sympathize for -- even at his lowest, because he remains so difficult and seemingly selfish towards the always-giving Heloise. They may have been equals in mind and respectful of one another's intelligence, but his clear societal preference makes their relationship ever more strained and unfair.

Heloise and Abelard's love story is one for the ages and Sherry Jones has re-imagined it faithfully and carefully with The Sharp Hook of Love. It's a passionate read, thanks to love letters and fraught scenarios, and Heloise more than lives up to her fame as one of Europe's most educated women. This is a story that has a little in it for every historical fan. They lived in the 12th century, but with Jones's help, Heloise and Abelard's epic love affair will still be remembered in the 21st.

The Sharp Hook of Love Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 24
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Tuesday, November 25
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Wednesday, November 26
Review at Book Babe
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Friday, November 28
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Sunday, November 29
Spotlight & Excerpt at The Lusty Literate

Monday, December 1
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Interview at Mina’s Bookshelf

Wednesday, December 3
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 4
Review at The Lit Bitch

Friday, December 5
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