Welcome back my book-loving friends!
I really enjoyed chapters 6-10 and read them in one big gulp. My husband laughed at me as I scribbled down notes for my questions as I zipped through the pages. On one hand it's hard to read a novel like this with a discussion in mind because I have to pace myself and record my thoughts as I go along. On the other hand it helps me process the story better and gives me a bit of time to reflect and guess what's coming (does anyone else do that or is it just me?). The good news is that I can't stop thinking about Claire and Vera and how their stories are knit together.
1. CLAIRE. Confession: reading marital tension makes my blood pressure rise. I want to sit Claire and Ethan down and moderate a good old heart-to-heart discussion but instead I see them pulling away from each other and it's so uncomfortable to read. (Side note: clearly Sarah has done a brilliant job writing these scenes since I'm so emotionally invested in them). Claire has latched onto the mystery of Daniel Ray's disappearance and seems to be thriving (in a way) for the first time in months. And she's piecing things together: the cafe, the abduction, and the snowstorm. So the big question in chapter six is what emotional purpose does this story fulfill in Claire's heart? There's a payoff for her. What do you think it is? A way to feel something again? A distraction? A meandering path back to resolving her own pain?
2. VERA. She meets Charles in chapter seven and you can see the heartbreak coming a mile off. I don't know what happens between them yet but part of me wants to veer her in another direction. The interesting thing is that Charles doesn't seem like a creep, unlike say, Lon Edwards. So the dissentegration of their relationship must come in another way. What's your guess as to why Charles and Vera are no longer together when the story starts?
3. CLAIRE. There is nothing worse in all the world than losing a child. Nothing. (I know this from personal experience–a piece of your soul dies) And Claire suffers the extreme heartbreak of losing at baby at eight months pregnant. No wonder she's closed herself off from everyone, especially Charles. No wonder so much unspoken guilt and blame is floating around their relationship. Everyone deals with grief in a different way and there is no roadmap through. Not even a compass, really. You just endure. But the psychology of this particular situation is fascinating to me. Why do you think Claire wouldn't even let Ethan tell her whether the baby was a boy or a girl? And what do you think that simple choice did to her?
4. VERA. Hope might just be the most addictive thing on earth. It keeps us going past the point of reason. Sometimes it's life giving. Sometimes it's irrational. One week after little three-year-old Daniel disappears into the snow, Vera still believes he might come wandering back. But he doesn't. We know that. And now Vera has no home, no child, no job. She is completely alone and destitute. And then…Lon Edwards shows up. In that moment when he approached her in the hotel lobby did you see him as a chivalrous hero or an opportunistic villian?
5. CLAIRE. She is so jealous of Ethan and his frequent lunches with his ex-girlfriend, Cassandra. But then she starts spending time with Dominic and has lunch with him as well, albeit with a certain measure of guilt. At which point I want to sit her down and say that two wrongs don't make a right. (Sorry, I'm a bit old fashioned here. I've never seen anything good come of people meeting their emotional needs in someone other than their spouse–especially when that someone is cute and understanding and of the opposite sex) But I'm curious whether you think it's wrong for Claire to spend so much time with Dominic when her marriage is in tatters? And what is it that Ethan and Claire are finding in other people that they aren't providing for one another?
Well, I'm off to re-read the next five chapters. I'll be back in a few days with another set of questions.
Enjoy the book don't forget to drop in for the discussion!