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The Book of Love (The Magdalene Line) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 10, 2009

172 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From 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.)
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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

Product Details

  • Series: The Magdalene Line
  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 1st edition (March 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743299973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743299978
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.7 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Kathleen McGowan's dynamic publishing career began with the debut of her novel, The Expected One, on the New York Times bestseller list. The sequel, The Book of Love, followed with a similar NY Times bestseller list debut and has developed a fierce cult following around the world. The third novel in the series, The Poet Prince, tells an unprecedented story about the birth of Renaissance art and the secrets hidden in the greatest paintings in history.

Kathleen's unique style of historical fiction combines unprecedented field research with inspired storytelling. Her books have sold over a million copies and are published in almost 40 languages while appearing in approximately 80 countries.

Her first non-fiction work, The Source of Miracles, is a life-changing handbook about prayer and spiritual practice which was influenced by Kathleen's studies of Catharism in France. It was chosen by Oprah's book editor as a holiday gift selection in 2009.

Kathleen has just released her first ebook in her series, Legends of the Divine Feminine, based on the provocative Scottish folktale, THE BALLAD OF TAN LIN. This series is a unique hybrid of fiction and non-fiction, with each featuring a novella followed by extensive author's notes on the history, research and inspirations and how each tale brings us to a new understanding of what the Divine Feminine means to us today. A percentage of all profits from theis series are donated to charities supporting women and children (see below for details).

Kathleen is currently at work writing her fourth full-length novel, The Boleyn Heresy, an explosive and previously untold account of Anne Boleyn's heretical education in France. These lost years of Anne Boleyn have been thoroughly researched in multiple languages, using sources inexplicably ignored by most Tudor scholars, to provide an exciting and controversial account of the infamous queen who changed the world.

Kathleen is a dedicated activist, and commits a portion of her time and royalties to organizations that protect women and children from the horrors of human trafficking and sexual slavery. She has teamed with The Emancipation Network and Made by Survivors to fund and participate in programs which provide shelter and safety for victims of abuse, and raise awareness of this global epidemic. Visit to see how you can join Kathleen in saving lives.

Kathleen shares her life with her partner, author Philip Coppens, and her three sons in the US and Europe.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Co-Conspirator in Things Divine on June 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Okay, I finally finished this book - but it took me 4 weeks. As an avid reader, I can easily read a riveting book within a few days. However, this book is slow and plodding. Yet I did have high expectations since I enjoyed the author's previous book, The Expected One.

The majority of the book is about Matilda of Tuscany rather than the heroine from the prior book (Maureen.) For me, TEO promised to delve into the alleged Cathar's "Book of Love" and its contents in this second book of the trilogy. Unfortunately, very little further information is revealed on that 'lost' book. Maureen supposedly finds the book which she cannot translate due to its undecipherable language. Then she magically absorbs light from it, and it glows, and she is able to understand the contents. Weird, huh? Yet we still don't learn what the BoL contained since it's never really explained.

Other than that silliness, it was difficult to keep up with all of the flashbacks. The reader has to contantly flip back-and-forth to try to keep track of characters, time-frames and events. For me, this is just too much work since I want entertainment from a good novel! It just got too exasperating and was a very fragmented read.

I honestly could not recommend this book to anyone unless they are suffering from insomnia- this book is the perfect remedy. I'm generously giving it a 2-star since I can tell that the author worked diligently on her new novel. But overall, it reads like a cheap modern romance - not a historical novel but instead a modern story set in medieval times. If you're looking for an experience of medieval immersion, get another book. However, if you're looking for a 21st century "emotion-fest" set in 12th century clothes, this book is for you.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Tina on March 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have to start off by saying that I am not usually a huge fan of this type of book as they always reminded of me of another imitation of The DaVinci Code - which is another book I could never quite figure out the fascination with.

However, I was extremely pleased to discover, upon starting the first few pages that McGowan is an excellent writer - I immediately loved her descriptions and details - especially when it came to describing all the beautiful areas of the world. She has a way of making it sound as though I am standing right there!

I think what I liked most about The Book of Love is that this book is a indeed an adventure/thriller storyline, but it also includes a vast knowledge of history (which I always enjoy). The story of Matilda of Tuscany and the Pope was fascinating to me and to think that I never even knew these people could have existed. There is, of course, a beautiful love story entertwined in this book and the adventure and pace is non-stop.

At times, I got a little confused with all the characters - especially when the action was at its heaviest, but once I had all the players figured out, I was fine.
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33 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Hopeful Reader on March 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
You don't have to be caught up in any controversy to enjoy this book. You just have to love a compelling plot, filled with surprising historical details, tantalizing mystery and a cool, compelling message. It's a great read no matter what you believe about Christianity.

And really, it has a soul, this book. You're just rollicking along with it and by the end, you realize you've been moved - deeply. How many pieces of pop culture manage that?
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20 of 28 people found the following review helpful By apoem TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really enjoy reading books about conspiracy stories and alternate histories and about the Marys in Jesus' life. This looked like it would be a good combination of the three. I fully expected to enjoy this book.

The story itself was interesting. The plot was interesting. The story about the women in history; such as Matilda de Canossa, was interesting. In fact it was fascinating and left me wanting to learn more.

Here were some of the things that I think needed to be shared with others reading this book.
1. It is not a fast moving novel. It moves fairly slow. IF you have read DaVinci Code (Dan Brown); while this book is marketed and seems like it will be similar to that- it is not. This is a fairly slow moving book with much less drama. Even the climatic point of the novel seemed to be somewhat flat.

2. The book was overly melodramatic at times. This was the biggest problem I had with this book. Other reviewers have used the word cheesy. I think it is an apt discription of some of the dream sequences.

3. The other big problem I had with this book was the phrase that is repeated over and over again. Almost every third or fourth page is the phrase 'for those with ears to hear..' For me it became this hammer that kept hitting away and saying 'you don't get it because you don't have ears to hear', if you really read it, really understood this book, really believed, you would hear the truth. It became very old very quickly.

I have rated as high as I have because despite the three problems I had with this book- it is an overall interesting read with a fascinating concept behind it. It was not a complete waste of time to read this book. I simply believe it could be better written without the overly melodramatic language and the push through repitition to force you to believe, as this author does, that this is truth embodied in fiction.
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