Years ago I read Possession by A.S. Byatt. If you haven’t read it, it follows the discovery of an intense love affair between two Victorian writers and how two people journey to unearth the entire truth about what happened to the writers. Along the way, they become entangled in the lives of these writers and start their own love affair with each other. It was made into a movie about ten years ago with Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart, which was okay, in case you don’t want to read the book.
Anyway, all that to say, when I read the summary for Illuminated, I immediately thought of Possession.
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?
Illuminated is a medieval literature crash course. I honestly didn’t know anything about medieval literature beyond what I was forced to learn in school, so thank goodness for Wikipedia. I now know much more about medieval monks, poetry and just how much books from that era go for at auctions. (And holy crap, it’s a lot.)
The story is focused on Callie Matthews as we follow her from the moment she starts researching the history behind the palimpsest she’s been given by her uncle, whom she is staying with for the summer, to a wrap up of what happens after they discover the mystery behind it. And when the devastatingly handsome August Sokolov is introduced in the first couple chapters, I decided to become very interested in medieval literature.
There is an intense case of insta-lust, which turns to insta-love for these two, but if you decide to go with it, then it’s not that bad. As a standalone book, (yay for the standalones!) it works. If it had been pulled out over the course of more than one book, it would have grown stale, so I’m glad Erica stuck to one.
Overall, the mystery part to the manuscript was interesting and the romance between the two kids was very cute, with a HEA , which is a nice change of pace. It’s also a rather fast read that I finished in one sitting. If you’re looking for a cute summer read, I’d recommend reading this.