Andrew Davidson’s The Gargoyle is a powerful novel about a love that transcends history and time. The narrator, who is never identified by name, has a horrific car accident in which most of his body is horribly burned. While he’s in the hospital, recovering in the burn unit, a mysterious woman named Marianne Engel visits him. She says it is not the first time he’s been burned. They’ve known & loved each other in previous lives, and she’s going to tell the story of their love affair to him. It seems that the narrator was a mercenary who was injured in battle & she was a nun who was assigned to heal his wounds. As he heals, she tells him not only their story, but also other stories & fables of love & redemption. When he is released, he moves in with her, and their relationship deepens. But both the narrator & Marianne are struggling with the their own deep seated issues & inner demons. Can their love be reborn & survive more challenges?
In addition to Marianne & the narrator, we are introduced to other interesting characters, including some of the staff at the burn unit, and Marianne’s agent & friend, Jack. All of their personal stories are interwoven with those of Marianne & the narrator. The supporting cast is particularly well developed, and have some interesting stories of their own. But the enigmatic Marianne may be the most intriguing character; she is a sculptor of gargoyles, and feels an intense, mystical connection with her work. And is that work taking over her life & soul? Is the narrator’s addiction to morphine (for pain) the first step in a descent into a personal hell? It’s not by accident that one of the books that is referenced most often in the narrative is Dante’s Inferno. I found that some of the best parts of the book are the tales that Marianne tells as the novel unfolds. They're wonderful stories of the triumph of love over adversity & good over evil.
This 2008 release was Davidson’s first novel, but he tells a compelling story, and has a great command of words & imagery. If you’re not a romantic, the prose may seem a bit over the top, but it works very well within the context of the story. The stories & fables set in the past are beautifully woven into the narrative, and are some of the best parts of the book. If you like a good story of love with a spiritual element, then do check out The Gargoyle. It's a novel that's somewhat unique for its genre, but still has all the best hallmarks of a good romantic story. The Gargoyle is available in stores & online. Here is a link to a short film made of one of the stories told by Marianne, related by author Davidson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBIsL6pwdo4.