I read the book, La Novia Oscura, and while the novela did follow it sometimes (moreso in the beginning), it was definitely very different. Rafael did not exist in the book (what?!) and in the novel Flor leaves with Pablo.
I have to wonder as well if Pablo was written out because he was so unpopular. Jose Luis Resendez is a good actor, but I just wasn't buying his acting or the character. I think at that point a lot of people were rooting for Amanda and Sacramento so I don't think it had to do with Rafael/Flor, per se. Pablo was just unlikable and the romance with Flor was not convincing.
Agreed about the Abel debacle. I couldn't stand the character or the actor. I think I would have enjoyed that plot more if he had been Pablo's brother, as originally rumored. It would have made MUCH more sense in so many ways. But they chose to make him Zahra and Rafael's son, maybe to make Rafa's death more poignant.
I felt the finale should have been 2 hours instead of one. I definitely would have liked to have known what happened to Mariano. After Tony, Gregorio Pernia was another highlight. What great acting this novela had!
But really, I can't say enough about Tony Dalton. I think I have a celebrity crush on him, haha. I've never seen him before, let alone heard of him, but he totally captivated me. I would LOVE to see him in another high-quality novela again. Maybe with Monica Spear. They really did have amazing chemistry.
I'd like to watch the finale again but I really don't feel like crying! I bawled like a baby last Friday and I think I would do it again if I saw it, LOL.