Another year has passed and a new year welcomes us with more challenges, opportunities, blessings, and bliss. It’s about embracing the new and the future while we let go and learn from our past as we continue to grow as persons for each passing moment. The first book I’m about to review for this year perfectly describes it.
To give you a brief background of the book, Seeing Julia is the first work of Katherine Clare Owen. It won the Zola Award and garnered the First Place in the Association’s National 2010 Literary Contest. Here’s the summary from the back cover of the book:
With her husband Evan’s tragic death, Julia Hamilton considers only one truth: death abducts the dying, but grief steals from those left behind. At the funeral, a despondent Julia encounters Jake Winston, Evan’s mysterious best friend, which leads to an inexplicable connection that saves her life, but leaves her questioning everything else. Unsettled by Jake and grief, she escapes to Paris with her young son and her inner circle, Kimberley and Stephanie. Months later, Julia returns to the life she left behind in New York intent on finding out where things stand between her and Jake, but soon learns the venerable attorney has complications of his own. But it’s the revelation of betrayal by the one person she thought she knew that leads Julia to embark on a personal journey in search of the truth about her life, herself, and the answers to her most difficult questions. Can she trust anyone? Or, does she need to learn to trust herself, most of all?
Yes, it’s about how Julia deals with the sudden death of Evan. However with her trustworthy and supportive inner circle, readers will find out if Julia gives in to the grief and continues to mourn for as long as she lives, or if she eventually learns to stand on her own and move on. I guess with the flow of the story, readers might, at first, be as confused as Julia, but as the story progresses, the answer will be clearer.
Throughout the story, I can totally relate with Julia for losing her husband on a sudden tragic accident. Even I can’t stand or bear the idea of losing someone I love and care about. I also can’t envision myself having to go through life without the person I vow to spend the rest of my life with. Julia, indeed, has undergone a kind of immeasurable pain and grief that one can ever imagine. On the other hand, her inner circle proves to be her true friends who have helped her remain firm on the ground and have never let her go astray. They serve as her foundation for what it means to be a family (whether blood-related or not) and a friend whom you can always run to and lean on.
I love how each of the characters plays significant roles and makes a great impact in Julia’s life. Firstly, Lianne shows to be a promising nanny who knows her responsibilities and is somehow passionate about her job without any complaints heard from her. Secondly, Maggie demonstrates her care for Julia through her gestures of being an older sister or grandmother Julia never had. Thirdly, Dr. Bradley “Brad” Stevenson supports and guides her to make the right decision in life. And lastly, Stephanie and Kimberley have been two-of-a-kind, great friends – those whom you can fully trust and depend on, who will always be there for you amidst the hardships and endeavors. Both of them possess this unique quality anyone would look for in a true friend.
As you can see, all characters have been great. Even the way Katherine Clare Owen describes the men in her book is making me feel giddy inside. Brad is thought of as Mr. Hallmark Card man while Jake is pictured as having this charming, gentlemanly, perfect stature combined with a strong sex appeal he sends towards women. He surprisingly turns out to be a father-figure guy as well. Evidently, Jake is all a woman could ever ask for. Could a guy like him possibly exist in reality? I sure hope so.
Moving on, towards the end of the story, readers will be surprised by the shocking revelations revealed by the very characters cited, which I will not mention here to avoid any spoilers. Mixed feelings will arise from the readers, but a story often ends with a resolution, so fear not. One minor detail which I think to be the downside of the story is the fact that the author did not explain or include Gregoire’s reaction to Kimberley’s decision not to marry him and cancel their wedding. Other than that, the book left me satisfyingly full by its magical words and its romantic element.
I am happy that I’m able to gain insights about relationships after reading this book. Apart from finding oneself again and learning to move on from the downside of life being encountered, I believe the book also tackles the importance of a relationship between a couple in marriages.
Marriage is a big thing, and for it to work out, I guess the couple should remain faithful to one another, to trust and to be honest to one another, too. Otherwise, complications may occur which might inevitably destroy and end the relationship. Above all, it’s evident that love is the most important aspect in marriage. All of us want to share this phase of life with someone we love, someone who sees us for who we are, and who will make us feel complete and happy. The process or the search for this right person may be long, but when the right time comes, a mysterious force will eventually lead one to that destined person, forming this invisible line between two persons – an electrical connection, as what Kimberley says – that makes one person feel alive and bound to the other from the first moment.
I love the turn out of events of the book, especially how the story ended. Who would’ve thought that the person you shared your first kiss with might also be the one who will share your last? It’s just so mesmerizing and captivating. And you wouldn’t ask for more, that the simplicity of life is pleasingly adequate as long as you’re with the one you love.
The way how Katherine Clare Owen structured her sentences, choosing the right words magically, moved me deeply which makes me relate more to the story and to the characters. With that said, I want to share to everyone and end this review with a quote that I took from the book which can surely be applied to each of our lives:
“Some things change; and you realize you really just need to find a tail that can make your kite fly to see where it takes you.” (p. 311)