In the wake of personal tragedy, two people meet on a humanitarian mission in Peru. Christine is a shy, unadventurous woman whose fiancé broke off the engagement only a week before the wedding, and Paul is a former emergency room doctor whose glamorous lifestyle, stellar reputation, and beautiful fiancée are cruelly snatched from him one fateful, snowy Christmas Eve. Deep in the Amazon jungle, against a backdrop of poverty and heartbreak, they must confront their deepest fears and, together, learn to trust and love again.
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Reading Group Guide
Richard Paul Evans
- Sunflowers appear throughout the story, from the name of the orphanage (El Girasol) to Christine's wedding decorations to symbols found in the ancient Temple of the Sun in Machu Picchu. What does the image of the sunflower represent? What does it mean to Christine in particular?
- When Martin tells Christine he no longer wants to get married, she asks him what she did wrong. Why is Christine so quick to blame herself? What did she see in Martin, a man she dated for six years and almost married? How is Paul, to whom Christine is immediately attracted from their first encounter outside the hotel in Cuzco, most different from Martin?
- Christine and Jessica are "proof that opposites attract . . . and both women, in their own ways, envied the other" (35). How would you describe each woman? What do Jessica and Christine each bring to -- and get out of -- their friendship?
- After Martin calls off the wedding, Jessica says to Christine, "He'll come to his senses eventually. . . . The only question is whether you'll be dumb enough to take him when he comes crawling back" (46). Yet later in the story Jessica tells Paul that Martin is Christine's "happy ending" (302). Does Jessica really mean what she tells Paul, or is she trying to prevent Christine from making what she believes is a mistake? Does Je