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In chapter 1 we’re introduced to Professor Gabriel Emerson for the very first time and in that particular scene he’s being rude to Julianne. What was your first reaction to The Professor?
Tamie: This may surprise some peeps, because it’s not the reaction I see from most, but I felt an instant connection and attraction to the Professor. Yes, even though he was an ass. I’m not sure I can really explain it, but I just felt there was something more…something deeper right from the get go. I just didn’t know what it was…at first, but it’s part of what kept me glued to my Kindle from the start. Seemingly perfect fictional guys can be interesting and hot, don’t get me wrong, but a guy with complex issues? I love ‘em, unashamedly. I love when an author reveals the full character bit by bit, layer by layer. To me that’s what SR does with Gabriel.
Elena : And here starts the swooning… First off, I have to say The Professor is #1 on my list of all time favorite male characters for several reasons that I’ll explain as we go on with the discussion of the chapters. Yes, in the first chapter ( and in several scenes) he’s very rude to Julianne. I was stunned that he had such a strong reaction to the fact that she didn’t answer to a question and I couldn’t understand why he was so angry with her. He intimidated me from the very beginning and I confess in this scene he upset me, but I wanted to know more about him and the reasons why he seemed so irritated. To me he was an interesting character from the start.
In chapter 2 Professor Gabriel receives sad news from his family, while he’s waiting for Julianne in his office. Julia feels compassion for him and leaves him a note. Were you surprised by what she did? What would you have done if you were in Julia’s shoes?
Elena : To be totally honest, I don’t know how I would have acted at that moment. Julia finds herself in a unique situation. She proves to be very kind and I was touched by what she did. He snaps at her in class, but she leaves him a note nonetheless. She’s kind to him despite the fact he was rude to her only moments before. I really admired her.
Tamie: I think I probably would have either knocked on the door, or coughed…loudly. I’d have been afraid of leaving a note that he might not have found, and I think I would have wanted to see if I could comfort him. Dumb, I know…he would’ve growled or yelled at me, but I can be a pretty brave soul when I think someone is hurting.
Julianne shows to be a very kind and compassionate girl from the beginning. What were your first thoughts on Julia?
Elena : Julia is one of those female characters whom I liked immediately. Again, the kindness and compassion she showed from the start made her very dear to me and I felt like I knew her. I wanted to hug her and tell her everything was going to be all right. She’s a female character I’d really like to be friends with.
Tamie: As for Julia…I’ve never really discussed her too much, and this may surprise people as well, but I didn’t love her at first…I didn’t even really like her a whole lot to be honest. Now, before anybody freaks out, calls me names, asks me if I’m nuts (yeah kinda), let me say that SR was able to change my mind about her later on within the chapters we’re discussing.
In chapter 3 Gabriel is once again an ass. Were you surprised by the scene in his office?
Tamie: I was. I really did feel sympathetic towards Julia and her clumsiness. At the same time it was pretty humorous…one of those…if it can go wrong it will go wrong type situations. Whenever I read this scene I always think to myself…yeah…if that’d been me…I’d have been crying or laughing like a lunatic at the absurdity. Yes…I was a little pissed at the Professor during all of it.
Elena: Me too, Tamie. I felt so much for Julia in that scene, especially when The Professor said : “Are you a comedian, Miss Mitchell?” If that’d been me tears of humiliation would have filled my eyes, for sure.
In chapter 4 Professor Emerson takes a wrong turn, and as a result some very interesting and surprising things happen. Thoughts?
Tamie: This is the chapter that changes my mind about Julia. I like strong women in my fiction, and I began to see that Julia could indeed hold her own with Gabriel. That was huge for me. As for Gabriel? Yup…still an ass, but the difference for me is that we begin to see a little heart as well.
Elena : I was literally holding my breath in this chapter. I was afraid Gabriel was going to snap at Julia again and I didn’t know what to expect. But I guess what seemed to be a wrong turn, ended up being a good one
In chapter 5 Gabriel becomes aware of Julia in a different way. What did you think about his reactions to her?
Tamie: I think my first reaction was relief. You really can’t have a love story if both parties aren’t interested and attracted to each other. I enjoyed Gabriel’s reactions, and then HIS reaction to it. I felt like another layer of the Professor was revealed. An important one at that.
Elena: I had a huge smile on my face while reading this chapter. I was glad Julia began to have this effect on Gabriel. I too enjoyed his reaction to the realization of being actually attracted and drawn to her. It was as if the whole scene was happening before my eyes. I love how it’s written.
In chapter 6 Julia is enjoying Paul’s company it is said “She looked up into his warm, dark eyes and thought about how kindness was worth so much more in the world than passion.” What do you think of this last statement- of kindness being worth more than passion? Do you agree?
Elena: I believe kindness is extremely important in everyone’s life. It can touch people’s souls in ways we wouldn’t even imagine. Passion is important too but it can be fleeting. We could have it one minute and it could be gone the next, while kindness is everlasting. A simple act of kindness could change a person’s life and I think it’s important to try to always be kind even when it’s hard for us to do so.
Tamie: While I will agree overall Elena, I have to say that as important as kindness is, and in my opinion, sadly lacking for a lot of people…I feel strongly that passion is important too. A life with no passion in it would be very dull to me. I’m a person of strong emotion, and perhaps that’s why I feel the way I do.
Also in chapter 6, Gabriel sees Julia and Paul together…Discuss
Tamie: Again SR manages to surprise and delight me. This is one of many of my favorite moments. No matter how many times I read it…I laugh and I enjoy it throughly. Oh Gabriel
Elena: I agree, Tamie. This was such a great scene. I’m partial to Jealous Gabriel
The apple orchard scene. Discuss…
Tamie: I LOVED the orchard scene for so many reasons. It explains the past connection between Gabriel and Julia, and it explains why she feels the way she does towards him. It also opens up a lot of questions though. What happened to Gabriel after that night? Why doesn’t he remember? It’s very sweet and in sharp contrast to the Gabriel we’ve known up to this point.
Elena: This is one of my favorite scenes in the book, hands down. This is the scene that changes Gabriel and Julia forever and I often find myself rereading it. I definitely didn’t expect they had met that way. The sweetness of the moments they spent together is one of the things that moved me the most.
Chapter 8…What do you think about the money the Professor gives Rachel for Julia…are we seeing kindness or something more?
Elena : I believe it isn’t just kindness. Gabriel is pretty attracted to Julianne at this point but he tries to deny it to himself. “I want her petals to open” he says. When I read this sentence, it was obvious to me that he was starting to really care about her, to nurture real affection for her. Of course it has to do also with kindness, but there’s definitely more to it than just this.
Tamie: I absolutely agree Elena. Sometimes it’s hard to admit to ourselves when something is happening that for whatever reason maybe shouldn’t. Gabriel doesn’t want to admit to himself that he feels something for Julia…other than what would be appropriate…but I know it…you know it…we all know it. It was kind as well
Your favorite sentence(s) , paragraph, scene in these chapters.
Elena: ” You blossom under kindness, don’t you? Like a rose.”
“You’re here now. Apparuit iam beatitudo vestra.”
” For the rest of my life, I’ll dream of hearing your voice breathe my name.”
“Then I’m glad I’m your first.”
Tamie: “Julia had been evicted from the realm of the surprised and relocated right into the land of the astonished.”
“He blinked at her like a Christmas tree, somehow having a difficult time registering the fact that she had clearly been crying in between his departure and his return.”
“If it had been Miss Peterson who he’d picked up, she probably would have leaned over and undone his zipper with her teeth while he was driving.”
“You blossom under kindness, don’t you? Like a rose.”
“He needed to go home, lie down, and breathe until he calmed the fuck down.”
” For the rest of my life, I’ll dream of hearing your voice breathe my name.”
Elena: Gabriel kissed Julia as if he knew her, as if she belonged to him. His kiss was passionate and full of emotion, as if every fiber of his being had melted and spread itself on his lips only to be given to her. Her heart skidded in her chest at the thought. She had never dared to hope for such a first kiss. Somehow, as the pressure of his lips lessened, she felt like bursting into tears, knowing that she’d never be kissed like that again. He’d ruined her for anyone else forever.
Tamie: Professor Emerson took a moment to collect himself, and as he leaned against the window of the Louis Vuitton boutique, he tried to figure out what the hell had just happened. He was a rational agent. He wore clothes to cover his nakedness, he drove a car, and he ate with a knife and a fork and a linen napkin. He was gainfully employed in a job that required intellectual ability and acuity. He controlled his sexual urges through various civilized means and would never take a woman against her will.
Elena: The apple orchard scene
Tamie: When Gabriel picks Julia up in his car.
When Gabriel spots Julia with Paul.
The orchard scene.
Holy crap peeps! So much good stuff to talk about in these chapters right?!?
Tamie and Elena