Review: Illuminated by Erica Orloff

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Some loves are not made to last . . . Like Romeo and Juliet, Heloise and Abelard were doomed from the start, and their romance was destined to pass into history. Yet when sixteen-year-old Callie Martin discovers a diary hidden within an antique book, their story—and hers—takes on another life. For the diary leads Callie to the brilliant and handsome August, who is just as mysterious as the secret the diary hides. Their attraction is undeniable. As the two hunt down the truth behind the diary—and that of Heloise and Abelard’s ancient romance—their romance becomes all-consuming. But Callie knows it can’t last . . . love never does. Will their love that burns as bright as a shooting star flame out, or will these star-crossed lovers be able to defy history?

Callie meets August almost immediately in the story. And as soon as they meet its love at first sight (please, really?). The author writes the words that I see too often now..... "[And I stared/looked into/ bumped into/came])face-to-face with the most gorgeous guy I'd ever seen in my life." So much so that August is slightly forward in his dialogue which didn't quite sit well with me. He almost professes his love straight away and this put me on edge. Sure, he's sweet, kind and loves his garden (which Callie proclaims later in the story as her favourite place in the world). But as she really has known August about as long as this review so far, I didn't feel any fluttering towards their love story.

This book has a great story behind it. The finding of The Book of Hours, and subsequent story telling of Heloise and Abelard. Unfortunately I'd already read The Tenth Chamber by Glenn Cooper earlier in the year and though that book isn't great either it does tell the story of the Starcrossed lovers in a better way. Personally while I love myths and legends the story of H & A doesn't really strike me as one of the great factual love stories (but that's just me) so it kind of took the shine off the thing.

Sure, there's romance happening within the pages of the Book of Hours and there's romance between our two main characters, and a small amount between the friends they make, but none of it was heart-pumping, toe curling, to die for stuff. I can only put it down to the authors story writing which was too unemotional while trying to be emotion.

Its a sweet book but there is little mystery, intrigue or suspense and absolutely no danger (except for a slight break-in of August's home). Callie and August even trek across the pond to Paris, but again I didn't feel the magic. The threats that could have made the story interesting faded away in the plot holes i.e. Tome Raider. So I was left a little empty after the last page.

This is one to fill time if you need to but no epic in any way.

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