Elena and I hope you’ll add in your thoughts to the questions we posed for these wonderful chapters.
***SPOILER WARNING*** If you haven’t read Gabriel’s Inferno you’ll probably want to avoid reading any further…
O…and if you haven’t read Gabriel’s Inferno yet??? Dood…what are you waiting for?!?
Alright…time for our discussion…
Discussion Questions for Gabriel’s Rapture (chapters 34-46)
1) At the end of chapter 33 there is a very disturbing scene involving Gabriel. What were your thoughts and feelings as you read it?
Tamie: Before I realized it was a dream I was completely freaking out…even after I knew it my heart was pounding and I felt so bad for Gabriel. Can you even begin to imagine how awful that would be…even now just talking about it gives me chills and makes me feel anxious for him. Isn’t it great how you can get so invested in a character and what they’re going through that you actually feel emotions related to what’s happening with them as you read?
Elena: I was losing it while reading this scene but at the same time I trusted Gabriel. I couldn’t believe he was doing this to Julia. I let out a huge sigh of relief when I realized it was a dream.
2) In chapter 35 Gabriel is having a suit made from his tailor in Florence. The tailor jokes about the suit being fine enough to be married in. Gabriel shows him the ring he’s now wearing and says, “I’m newly married,” he explained, much to the tailor’s surprise. Why do you think Gabriel said that? What does it mean? Were you surprised?
Elena: Yes, I was surprised when Gabriel showed him the ring, but I couldn’t imagine he had married someone else. I kind of sensed it was related to Julia in some way, I just wasn’t completely sure to what extent.
Tamie: Elena, I was surprised too even tho the ring had been mentioned previously. I still haven’t figured out why he said this to be honest. Wishful thinking? Hopeful future thinking? I need SR to explain this one to me.
3) In chapter 35 Gabriel finds himself in the crypt of St. Francis in Assisi and something very moving happens there. Discuss…
Elena: This is one of my favorite scenes in the whole series and quite the turning point in Gabriel’s life, in my opinion. I find myself re-reading it often because it shows how we can all find peace and forgiveness if we’re willing to pursue them and let them in, no matter the extent of our mistakes.
Tamie: I too believe these are pivotal moments for Gabriel. Finding peace, forgiveness, redemption are not easy…especially when we don’t think we deserve it. Part of the reason I love Gabriel so much is because he’s such a complex and multidimensional character. He’s not perfect which can be boring, but instead we as readers are given a man who has faults and flaws. I saw the beginnings of growth in him as a person on several levels in Gabriel’s Inferno, and it continues in Gabriel’s Rapture.
4) In chapter 36 Julia meets with Dean Aras and Professor Martin…She’s asked and answers the questions regarding Gabriel …Whether or not he’s tried to contact or see her since the hearing. As she leaves she makes a rather pointed statement that’s directed to the both of them. What did you think of this scene? How Julia handled herself? About the statement she made to them?
Tamie: I thought Dean Aras was a complete ass. I was thrilled when Julia said what she did to them both. I felt proud of her, and thought she handled herself with absolute grace and dignity while saying exactly what needed to be said. I remember thinking, Julia, you’ve come a long ways. You go girl!
Elena: I think Julia was perfectly right to make such a remark, because it was also all true. She proved to them that she knew what she wanted and that she hadn’t regretted her relationship with Gabriel. She showed how she wanted to make her own choices without other people interfering on her happiness and heart. I definitely liked the scene.
5) In chapter 37 we see Gabriel becoming one of the Franciscans’ volunteers and doing acts of charity. He goes through quite the change from his previous self, all because of Julia. In fact, throughout the novel we saw Julia holding charity very dear and Gabriel admiring her generosity. Your thoughts on how kindness can affect people. Do you believe it can even change them sometimes?
Tamie: I truly believe the line from “Gabriel’s Inferno” where Gabriel says “You blossom under kindness, don’t you? Like a rose.” I know whenever someone treats me kindly, or shows me a kindness, that it makes a difference. It uplifts me, and in turn I want to pass that on to others. I also believe it really CAN and does change people. Maybe not always…maybe not right away, but I believe that acts of kindness can touch a person’s heart in profound ways.
Elena: Absolutely yes, kindness can go a long way. I’ve always believed that if we are kind to others, we can also make them want to be kind. Acts of kindness are kind of miraculous, they can touch people’s hearts and souls in ways we wouldn’t even imagine. I believe it’s right to show kindness also to those who might not be kind to us. It’s not easy and it makes us vulnerable, but a simple act of kindness might touch them and make them want to be different. It’s not always easy to achieve that, because often our pride interferes. But the important thing is that we let kindness win the battle. Sometimes it may not have an offhand effect but sooner or later kindness harvests its fruits.
6) In chapter 37 Gabriel leaves Italy and in an extremely moving scene visits Maia’s memorial. What were your thoughts and feelings as you read through this scene? At the very end Gabriel calls Paulina and says he needs to see her. What was your reaction to this phone call?
Elena: A very touching scene, indeed. There were a lot of moments in this book where I had tears in my eyes and this is one of them. The scene showed how much Gabriel changed and that he was ready to ask for forgiveness. It was an important step to do in the healing process. I was very glad he called Paulina and I guessed he was calling her in order to make amends with her and repair those wounds they both had inflicted to one another during the years.
Tamie: This scene moved me very deeply. It was unexpected, and I think it was something that Gabriel has needed to do for a very long time. It was another step he needed to take to resolve things from his past that have kept him from becoming a man capable of self forgiveness and emotional growth. I wasn’t really surprised when he called Paulina. It seemed like the next logical step to take. There is so much that needs to be said and done where she’s concerned for him.
7) In chapter 39 there’s an unexpected scene where Gabriel meets Grace and Maia. What were your feelings as you read this scene? And why do you think this happened to Gabriel?
Tamie: I thought this was an absolutely lovely scene. It was beautiful, and it seemed to me that it was a gift to Gabriel. He’d been meeting hard things head on for once, and I felt like he’d earned it. He’s lived with repressed guilt for so long…
Elena: I agree, Tamie. This was such a beautiful scene, one of the loveliest in the book. I too think it was like a gift to Gabriel, he needed to see that both Grace and Maia knew he loved them in order to find real peace.
8) The kiss between Paul and Julia. Were you surprised?
Tamie: Hmm…yes and no. I guess I’d been expecting him to do something…make some kind of move…at least to see what Julia’s response would be. I guess I held my breath for a few moments, waiting to see if there would be more of a reaction on Julia’s part. I definitely breathed a sigh of relief at her response to it. I really did understand all the stuff that went through her mind in the moments of and after. I understand how both of them felt, having been on both sides of similar situations. It isn’t easy either way. I have to say that I would’ve been devastated if it would have gone in Paul’s favor…not that I thought it would, but you never know what an author is going to do, or where they’re going to lead you.
Elena: I kind of expected Paul would have made a move to let Julia know he loved her. I was more nervous about Julia’s reaction to the kiss and the feelings it was going to stir in her. I was glad that she stayed true to herself, to her love for Gabriel and also respected Paul. Choosing isn’t easy at all, especially when the boyfriend has left, but I liked how Julia didn’t settle, knowing that she could never love Paul the same way he did her.
Remember that we’ll be sharing part two of our discussion with you later today.
Now please join in with your comments…O and Sr’s answers to the selected questions will be in the 2nd part…you won’t want to miss out on them!
Elena and Tamie