is an anthology of love stories. There is a love story within a love story. Love stories beside a love story. It's awesome.
When Callie meets August through her uncle's matchmaking endeavors, she is immediately attracted to him. And he to her. They embark on a search to discover the true story behind a mysterious manuscript which hides a love so beautiful it transcends time.
As they learn the story hidden in the pages of the manuscript and that of Heloise and Abelard's star-crossed love, things get dangerous and Callie and August start to wonder if their romance will last.
Erica Orloff very cleverly works a couple of other love stories into the fold as well. As Callie and August look for clues to the story, they witness the beginning of other long-lasting loves. Callie rediscovers her parents' love story and she even strengthens her relationship with her estranged father in the process.
This is a story about romantic love and familial love. It's about second chances.
The only gripe I had about Illuminated
was with the way Callie and August let their love hinge on whether their beliefs about the manuscript turned out to be true. That's not very healthy. What if the manuscript was forged? Would their romance then go south?
However the premise of Iluminated
hinges on the concept that true love is fated and mysticism is tied into that. So that's consistent with the storyline.
From now on, I might have to define a love story as one that rivals that of Heloise and Abelard's, as one that transcends physical, emotional, psychological and intellectual barriers.