Character Development 5
There was before. And, there was after.
Before was magical, embraced promise,
and bequeathed good things.
Before was for the innocent.
After was the haunted, and relinquished all promise. (pg 5)
'Seeing Julia' has one chapter of before; the rest is after. The after starts with Julia at her husband's funeral. And this is where I began to cry. Katherine Owen is able to write Julia's story with so much emotion that I was almost overwhelmed. Reading it is a truely emotional ride! Julia tells us her story in first person present so each feeling, each action is immediate and real to the reader. We follow Julia through loss and grief and through the agonizing process of trying to redefine herself as a 27 year old widow and mother to seven month old Reid. Julia's 'inner circle' of close friends becomes her strength when she can find none in herself. They hold her up and pull her through.
For some reason, I expected 'Seeing Julia' to be a fluffy, unreal romance novel. I don't know where I got this idea but I couldn't have been more wrong, 'Seeing Julia' is so much more. It is deep and real and full of emotion and pain and friendship and love. I can't say enough good about it. The main characters in the novel are very well developed and the story is easy to follow and read. I could feel Julia's pain from the beginning and I could also see the inner strength that she was struggling to reach. At first I wondered at her relationship with Jake, husband Evan's best friend. The intensity of her feelings for Jake seemed out of place considering the circumstances, but as we become privy to what is really going on in Julia's mind and how her grief is affecting her, understanding dawns. The reader begins to accept this relationship for what it is as secrets are revealed and Julia's past is explored.
If there is a negative about this book it is the lack of development of the relationship between Julia and her nanny, Lianne. For playing such an important role in Julia's life, Lianne remains a shadow in the story. She just seems to be a convenient plot ploy so that Julia has more freedom to grieve without having to think of Reid. I would have liked her to have more substance.
Julia's story will stay with me for a long time. I'm a little sad that this is a stand alone book, I would like to spend more time with all of the characters involved. As it is, I look forward to reading more by Katherine Owen.