The Sharp Hook of Love

The Sharp Hook of Love

The first retelling of the passionate, twelfth-century love story since the discovery of 113 lost love letters between Heloise d’Argenteuil and Pierre Abelard—the original Romeo and Juliet.

"While I sleep you never leave me, and after I wake I see you, as soon as I open my eyes, even before the light of day itself." —Abelard to Heloise

Among the young women of twelfth-century Paris, Heloise d’Argenteuil stands apart. Extraordinarily educated and quick-witted, she is being groomed by her uncle to become an abbess in the service of God.

But with one encounter, her destiny changes forever. Pierre Abelard, headmaster at the Notre-Dame Cloister School, is acclaimed as one of the greatest philosophers in France. His controversial reputation only adds to his allure, yet despite the legions of women swooning over his poetry and dashing looks, he is captivated by the brilliant Heloise alone. As their relationship blossoms from a meeting of the minds to a forbidden love affair, both Heloise and Abelard must choose between love, duty, and ambition.

Sherry Jones weaves the lovers’ own words into an evocative account of desire and sacrifice. As intimate as it is erotic, as devastating as it is beautiful, The Sharp Hook of Love is a poignant, tender tribute to one of history’s greatest romances, and to love’s power to transform and endure.
  • Gallery Books | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451684797 | 
  • October 2014
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Sharp Hook of Love includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


The Sharp Hook of Love retells the story of Heloise and Abelard, twelfth-century Parisian lovers. Beautifully incorporating language from the real couple’s letters to each other, the novel traces the story of their romance as it blossoms from a meeting of the minds into a forbidden love affair. United by love even when pulled apart by families, friends, and society, Heloise and Abelard learn what it means to truly sacrifice one’s life for a beloved. As intimate as it is erotic, as devastating as it is beautiful, The Sharp Hook of Love teaches readers that true love can never be thwarted.  

Topics & Questions for Discussion 

1. “For nothing is under less control than the heart—having no power to command it we are forced to obey,”, writes the historical Heloise in a letter to Abelard. This quote is used by the author as an epigraph for the novel, and as such, it frames the story that ensues as one about control—or lack thereof. Who or what is in control in The S see more

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About the Author

Sherry Jones
Rick Singer Photography

Sherry Jones

Author and journalist Sherry Jones is best known for her international bestseller The Jewel of Medina. She is also the author of The Sword of Medina, Four Sisters, All Queens, The Sharp Hook of Love, and the novella White Heart. She lives in Spokane, WA, where, like Josephine Baker, she enjoys dancing, singing, eating, advocating for equality, and drinking champagne. Visit her online at and at