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Stealing Heaven

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4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  186 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
This fiction is based on fact: the 12th century love letters of the novel's main character, Heloise, the most brilliant and learned woman of Christian Europe who, at the age of 17, fell in love with her tutor, Peter Abelard. A celebrated philosopher, he was considered a cleric and forbidden to wed. Nevertheless they married clandestinely and Heloise secretly bore him a chi ...more
Paperback, 415 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Soho Press (first published December 1st 1985)
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(showing 1-30 of 417)
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Meg
Mar 19, 2012 Meg rated it it was ok
This book is very hard for me to rate. It is a pet peeve of mine when an author starts with an amazing concept, or in this case amazing historical figures, and flops it. In the first part of this book it is very apparent that the author is going for shock value. Heloise and Abelard were some of the most celebrated lovers of all time, and yet this book made them seem dirty, selfish, and more lustful then loving. The book spent the majority of it's time on the early part of their lives when they c ...more
Marisella
A book of letters between Heloise and Abelard, two lovers in medieval France who can attest that the path of true love was never easy. Abelard is a professor, celibate, as was expected of one of higher learning. Heloise was the very beautiful and very young orphaned niece of a wealthy cleric/landowner. Their affair was conducted virtually under the nose of Heloise's uncle, who was enraged when he learned the truth and eventually had Abelard castrated. They then turned to the holy orders, Abelard ...more
Jenny Nielsen
Jan 14, 2015 Jenny Nielsen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Basically, the "Twilight" of Abelard and Heloise novels. Not the most historically accurate or "in character" portrayal of the couple out there. Some details are flat-out wrong, as Astrolabe outlived his mother, Abelard's relatives were highly literate and Denise and Heloise were likely close friends, Heloise was more widely read and intelligent herself than depicted, etc. Heloise is frustrating and maudlin rather than compelling; Abelard a wounded sex god with a guilt problem rather than a rebe ...more
Kitty
Jul 10, 2009 Kitty rated it liked it
Love story of Heloise and Abelard. Kept my attention throughout, but not my fave.
Andrea
Aug 05, 2014 Andrea rated it liked it
I love historical fiction that is actually based on history and not just a thinly veiled romance novel. So I was really happy to read this since the author actually set out to write a biography of Heloise, but wrote a novel since she wasn't able find enough historical documents to support a complete biography.

The book was enjoyable to read to a certain extent, it’s well written and the characters obviously had very interesting lives. However I didn’t love how the author portrayed Heloise. She w
...more
Thayer Berlyn
Mar 06, 2016 Thayer Berlyn rated it did not like it
The story of Héloïse d'Argenteuil and Peter Abélard undoubtedly evokes posterity's romantic longing---that what we hold deepest might last eternally. But even given the spirit of fiction inter-woven with what limited documents exist, Stealing Heaven stretches dramatic license a bit too tight and displays some odd anachronisms that appear out of place in 12th century France. For all that I found fault with the book, the title was quite well chosen.

This book follows a disturbing trend recently to
...more
Corryn W
Jan 12, 2016 Corryn W rated it liked it
(3.5) Stealing Heaven was a well-written and engaging story about a young woman with unprecedented intelligence who falls for her older teacher. Most of the substance of this story happens within the first 200 pages but seems to drag on unnecessarily in the second half of the novel. Overall, Stealing Heaven is a tragic love story that reanimates a forgotten real-life love story but the author seems to lose momentum and, with it, the reader's attention.
Maria
Jul 01, 2013 Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Stealing Heaven" is a novel based on the tragic love story of Heloise and Abelard in the 12th century. The author set out to write a biography, but found too many facts lacking, and wrote a novel instead. She stayed true to the documented history and only crafted the details that were missing. Unfortunately, she gave away a major plot point in the prologue that I would have preferred to find out while reading.

Some of it was very sad. I was occasionally frustrated with Heloise for being clueless
...more
Shauntee
Nov 24, 2007 Shauntee rated it really liked it
This was the first work of historical fiction that I've ever read.

It sparked my interest in both the lives of Heloise and Abelard and the time period.

The work gets a lot of criticism for how "believable" it is but I think those that have nothing positive to say seem to forget that it is a work of fiction. And it seems that most readers seem displeased by the story being one sided, but I think that since it's from the point of view of Heloise and based on the letters exchanged between the two,
...more
Mindy
Mar 25, 2012 Mindy rated it it was amazing
I have owned this book for years and wasn't really sure if I had actually read it or not. I knew the story of Abelard and Heloise from other sources, but Meade really does make, at least, come alive as a person. Abelard is a little harder to get a handle on and I kept wanting more-- emotion, explanation, etc.-- from him. Considering, though, that this is undoubtedly how Heloise felt in the novel, I say that Meade was incredibly successful with what she set out to do. She also managed to feed my ...more
Bonnie
Aug 26, 2012 Bonnie rated it liked it
I only gave this book three stars because I like the way the author writes, however I did not like the characters or the way she developed them. As a consequence through most of the book I did not care what happened. I think Abelard was a selfish man, and found it intersting that he ended up with the one thing that Heloise wanted, her son. If nothing else, by this time Heloise should have realized what a selfish bastard he was. However, my logical brain tells me not to judge Abelard and Heloise ...more
Diana
Aug 29, 2011 Diana rated it it was amazing
Loving the way this book is so far :) . . . an easy read . . . I have been reading this book for a couple of days now and am completely obsessed with this couple . . . .I have been also researching the lives of these two . . . Absolutely AMAZING!!! and also so heart wrenching . . .

Finished this book now . . . I must say it is one of the best stories I have read in a long time! I got really wrapped up in the story and also the lives of these two incredible and incredibly human people. A definite
...more
Megan
The author plainly did her research and I appreciated that she was trying to show Heloise as a strong person rather than a fainting damsel. Some parts were disjointed -- here's a thing that happened, and here's another thing -- but overall it was fine.
Amy Wolf
Feb 11, 2013 Amy Wolf rated it really liked it
A darned fine historical novel about the epic (and true) love story of Abelard and Heloise during the Middle Ages. He was a teacher, and as such, had taken a vow of celibacy. She was a young, attractive girl, and when he came to board with her family, guess what? Right. The consequences of this love affair are grisly & tragic, but I won't ruin it for you. Really liked the writer's style & her meticulously-researched facts about the period. Also a very interesting film.
Lady
Jul 07, 2014 Lady rated it liked it
I wanted to love this story, but I felt it was choppy and there was so little time the two were together.
Amy
Jan 31, 2009 Amy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favorites
The original romeo and juliet. The true account of a 12th century philosopher, Abelard, and his marriage to an educated woman, Heloise, in a time when it was considered immoral and unlawful for a teaching philosopher to marry. The consequences were dire. Tragic yet hopeful.
Martha
Mar 22, 2009 Martha rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adults
STEAMY, famous love story of Heloise and Abelard. Historical Fiction. To this day people from all over the world visit their gravesites. Their physical and intellectual passions made for a perfect match, except for the era of their existence.
Julie
Jan 16, 2011 Julie added it
Loved It! My only complaint is that the author failed to reflect Heloise's erudition in her respresentation of la tres sage Heloise's thoughts. Surely she was a philosopher as well as a love besotted git. I'm just saying...
Amy
Dec 01, 2008 Amy rated it really liked it
I loved this book! I couldn't put it down... in fact, stayed in on a Saturday night to finish. The story is really sad, not necessarily a happy ending. But I would definitely recommend for those who like historical fiction.
Kristen
Dec 19, 2012 Kristen rated it really liked it
Loved it. The letters of Abelard and Heloise constituted some of my favorite literature in college. I did think in a few places that Heloise was a little too needy but overall this was a terrific read.
Karmen
The story of Heloise and Abelard, 12th century lovers who challenge their society's limits and lost.

Saw the movie. Loved Heloise. Abelard seemed weaker by comparison but was hot.
Maureen
Aug 28, 2013 Maureen rated it really liked it
It's been close to twenty years since reading this book -- and typically I don't re-read books -- but this is one that was memorable, and perhaps even worthy of a re-read.
Irene
An EXCELLENT adaptation of the romance between Heloise and Abelard. I read this in one night....was a wreck the next morning but it was totally worth it.
Alina Williams
Jul 25, 2012 Alina Williams rated it it was amazing


This is one of my favorite books and love stories of ALL time. I have read this book multiple times and I can never get enough.
Jana Thompson
Mar 06, 2013 Jana Thompson rated it did not like it
I know it is based on a true story but it was not a good book.
Bev
Jan 04, 2013 Bev rated it it was amazing
Wonder telling of Abelard and heloise story.
Susan
Jan 28, 2010 Susan rated it it was amazing
An amazing heroine.
Brandi
Brandi marked it as to-read
Jun 23, 2016
Terry M
Terry M rated it liked it
Jun 15, 2016
Joanna Menda
Joanna Menda marked it as to-read
Jun 07, 2016
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Marion Meade is an American biographer and novelist, whose subjects stretch from 12th century French royalty to 20th century stand-up comedians. She is best known for her portraits of literary figures and iconic filmmakers.

Her new book, Lonelyhearts: The Screwball World of Nathanael West and Eileen McKenney, is a joint biography of a husband and wife whose lives provide a vivid picture of the art
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