We hope you enjoyed the first part of our discussion earlier, and now let’s jump right into part two…
Chapters 34-46, Part 2
At the end of chapter 42 and going into chapters 43 and 44 Gabriel and Julia are reunited. Alright peeps this was huge. What did you think of the way he came back to Julia? If you were in Julia’s shoes, how would you have reacted? What did you think of how Gabriel acted?
Tamie: The first time I read this scene I was so anxious about them being separated in the 1st place that I felt more relief than anything else once they were back in the story line together, and I knew that it wouldn’t be completely resolved right away. Even tho it’s really hard for me as a reader to experience the conflict and angst that characters I love are going through, I have to admit that I actually prefer it to a HEA that comes too easy or too soon. I’ve always thought that characters needed to earn their happily ever after, so I’m glad that SR writes that way. I loved the lead up to and the visuals of their first sight of each other. I was really feeling tense while I read the next few pages. I remember thinking …Holy crap! What if she just sends him away? What if she can’t forgive him for the past few months? What if she won’t listen or understand his explanation of why he did what he did? UGH! I was a mess…LOL! Honestly, I just don’t know how I would’ve reacted…confused…happy…pissed…unsure. Julia probably handled things much better than I would’ve in her situation. I thought Gabriel did really well at not pushing too hard…too fast. It must have been pure torture for him on some level, realizing that the clues he sent her had gone unseen for so long. I really felt for both of them during these scenes, but I also felt hopeful for the first time in a long time. I thought it was possible again for them to mend things…to have a future…
Elena: When Gabriel appeared at the end of chapter 42 I was so happy I actually yelled “YES! Welcome back Gabriel!” . I didn’t expect he was going to come back like that but when I read he returned to Julia I actually couldn’t think of nothing else. I was so glad to see them back together at last. Of course I was worried about how their relationship was going to be from that moment on. Julia had been hurt and there were a lot of issues they had to discuss. If I were in Julia’s shoes, I’d have reacted the same way as her. Surprised, guarded, but at the same time relieved. Like Julia, I would have liked Gabriel to talk to me and explain things before going back with him.
Tamie: I may have jumped up and screamed something too, Elena…something along the lines of …well…there were very bad words involved…I’m sure you can imagine
In chapter 44 Julia asks Gabriel about Paulina. What are your thoughts on how Gabriel ended things with Paulina?
Elena: I was very happy with how things between Gabriel and Paulina ended-they talked, forgave each other and moved on. No anger, no resentment, just forgiveness and peace.
Tamie: I won’t b.s. you guys…I really would have liked a scene that detailed their meeting. I was happy that there was closure for them. It was so many years overdue. I was glad that Paulina had finally reconciled with her family, and that she and Gabriel had both finally dealt with each other one on one…human to human.
What did you think of the elaborate set up that Gabriel had waiting for Julia at his house?
Tamie: Dood! I was giddy while reading this. I love that Gabriel did it. I thought it was so romantic and swoony…so over the top…so Gabrielific. Ok…I was also a teensy bit jealous of Julia, but in a good way.
Elena: I loved it and I was moved by how he reproduced the suite he’d shared with Julia in Florence. It was all very romantic. And I giggled when it was said “Unfortunately for Gabriel, the extravagant gesture begged the question: if he was resourceful enough to construct a Moroccan caravan in his garden, why couldn’t he have told her he planned to return?” Snarky narrator strikes again
Tamie: I have mad love for the Snarky narrator…and it’s a good point too
In chapter 44 it’s said ” She shifted her feet, actively resisting the urge to throw herself into his arms and tell him that everything was fine…” Have you ever experienced that feeling? Of wanting to just breach the gap and pretend that everything was fine?
Elena: Yes, I’ve experienced it. Sometimes I just wanted to go back to how things were before, and try not to give much importance to the problems. I just wanted the other person to know that everything was all right and that I had already forgiven. But I believe talking , going through the issues and problems and acknowledging them are the right things to do in a relationship. Only that way can two people understand each other and heal. Communication is extremely important to me.
Tamie: I think it’s so much easier sometimes to let things slide, but eventually it comes back to bite you most of the time. If you leave important things unresolved in order not to endure the discomfort you pay for it later on, and I think it makes you stronger as a couple, as lovers, as partners if you get the bad stuff out-of-the-way and really deal with it. I’ve experienced doing both…taking the easy out and confronting the issues that are necessary. In the end, waiting to deal with the yucky hasn’t ever really worked out in the long run…tempting as it is…
In chapter 45 Gabriel explains the details of his departure. What are your thoughts on this? Did you better understand his reasons for leaving?
Elena: Gabriel’s explanation was very moving and finally all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place for me. I understood why he left without contacting her and why he acted like he did during the hearing. It was a necessary and at the same time painful decision for him. He tried his damnedest to leave clues, but unfortunately for both of them those very clues were open to misunderstanding. I’m happy that in the end he could explain everything that went down to Julia and they both kept an open mind.
Tamie: I was really happy that the whole explanation finally came out. It did clarify things in my mind. Things that I hadn’t fully understood. The hope I had started feeling again for this couple became stronger. I too was happy that Julia seemed to be listening with an open mind, and perhaps a hopeful heart as well.
Also, Gabriel and Julia have a discussion that seems to be on a much deeper level than ever before. Do you think it was necessary for them to go through all that they did in the preceding months to be able to reach the level of emotional intimacy and communication they seem to be sharing in these scenes? Why or why not?
Tamie: Totally loving that both of them finally seem capable of real, intimate communication. It’s not easy to reach this level, and I think with the pasts they’ve each come from it’s probably even harder. Yes, I do think they needed to go through what they did as awful as it was. Sometimes it really does take losing someone even if it’s only temporary to finally be willing to go where Gabriel and Julia do in these scenes.
Elena: I believe it definitely changed things between them. By going through all the difficulties and separation they found themselves loving each other even more than they did before, it’s as if their love was brought to an even higher level. Sometimes problems and hardship make us love the other person even more.
After Gabriel and Julia reunite he says he won’t make love to her until he regains her trust. Wait! What?!? Discuss…
Elena: When I read this part I was a bit shocked that statement came from Gabriel, but this is one of the many things that prove how much he changed. Trust is the most important thing in a relationship and I understand why Gabriel wants Julia to trust him completely before he can make love to her again. It’s not about sex, but about love and sex together, and if you’re not sure your partner trusts you completely, you can’t be sure he loves you unconditionally either. So, I really admired Gabriel’s decision.
Tamie: My reaction was exactly what’s at the end of our question…Wait!!! What?!? I think I actually experienced a …jaw dropping to the floor… moment when he said that. Ok…after I recovered I thought about it…and I agreed with his decision and admired once again how much Gabriel has grown emotionally. This can’t have been an easy thing for him to decide, and I think it’ll be hard to stick to, but yeah…good for you Gabriel.
Your favorite sentence(s)?
Elena: “I never stopped wanting you”
“He ran his fingers through her damp hair, once, twice, and gazed down at her longingly.’I love you.’
“She was sweetness and light, gentleness and goodness, and the burning and searing goal of all his earthly hunts and fascinations.”
“I am your faithful one, Beatrice.”
“I didn’t know hair could hurt.”
“He ran his fingers through her damp hair, once, twice, and gazed down at her longingly.”I love you.”
Elena: Assisi and the whole chapter 45.
Tamie: The scene at Maia’s memorial. I bawled my eyes out…
The scene in Dean Ara’s office.
All of chapter 45 and 46
Elena: It was a kiss to mark a reunion, to pledge the continuation of fidelity and love. Gabriel kissed her to show her that he loved her, that he was sorry. Julia kissed him back to tell him that she could never give her heart to anyone else. That she was hopeful their shared imperfections, once acknowledged and explored, could be ameliorated in order to provide both of them with a healthy, happy life.”
Tamie: He asked for forgiveness. He expressed his guilt, a guilt he knew would ache for the rest of his life. He didn’t ask for his burden to be removed, for it seemed to him to be part of the consequences of his actions. Or rather, the consequences of what he failed to do for a mother and their child.
“I began to see how I’d been given chance after chance. Through no goodness of my own, I’d been given grace and love. And I’d thrown it away or treated it cheaply. I didn’t deserve the family who adopted me. I didn’t deserve Maia, who was the best part of my relationship with Paulina. I didn’t deserve to survive the drugs and graduate from Harvard. I didn’t deserve you.”
I have so many favorites of all of the above…those are just a few on so many…
And now from SR…
Thanks once again for hosting this book club and thank you readers for reading and sharing your questions with me. I enjoy hearing from you.
1) Why mention the letters that Gabriel wrote every day to Julianne? And if mentioning them, if in the back of his mind he is afraid of losing her (since he thinks she cannot lie well) why would you not have them on you so that you could help prove your point of that you loved her so much and wrote her over and over again but never sent them because you couldn’t ? It just made me upset…..because that would of been HUGE for me!!!!!!!!!
2) In these chapters symbolism seems to be very present in the story. While Gabriel is away from Julia he’s always surrounded by darkness, the darkness of his hotel room, of his bedroom in the Clark’s former house as if the absence of Julia, his light, affects also the places where Gabriel stays. We could say that the darkness of the place reflects the one in Gabriel’s heart. And when Julia and Gabriel meet again there’s thunder and lightning and the lights go out as if to represent the tension and obscurity that characterizes their relationship at that moment. I found all these elements very fascinating. Was it intentional to introduce them to the story and as an author, how much importance do you give to symbolism in your works?
3) So much happens in these chapters we’re reading this week. There are so many highly charged and emotional moments. I cried over, and over while I was reading them. Sometimes it was sad, or fearful tears, but also some happy ones. As the writer how hard was this part of the book to write? Did you or do you ever get emotional yourself when you write things like this? Does it make you physically tired? Thank you Mr. Reynard for answering questions and for writing this story.
Thanks once again for your questions and your support, SR
Thank you so much SR. It’s not only interesting to read your thoughts on the questions that are asked, but it’s fun to have your participation as well.
We also appreciate all of you for joining us in our discussions. We love all the insights and your perceptions of the chapters we’re reading.
So…tell us what YOU thought now…
Tamie and Elena