1. The images of jewels and precious stones run throughout this story. Many of the characters struggle with deciding what is really important: wealth and security or love and faith in God. Read Matthew 13:45-46 and discuss this description of heaven. Does this relate to the self-discoveries of any of the characters? Is this struggle between striving for things and sacrificing for heaven present in your life?
2. Juliana has been hurt by the abandonment of her father and the death of her mother. She feels completely alone. In this deep loneliness what does she discover about the nature of God and the true definition of family? Have you ever felt the fear and hurt of loneliness? What did you learn about God, about yourself, or about those around you in that time?
3. Josh thought he had found his life partner back in Colorado but Crystal broke his heart and married Luke. After moving to Montana and starting a new life Josh begins to understand and accept that God had brought Crystal and Luke together and there is someone else out there for him. How do you know when you have found true love? Is there one or only one perfect match for everyone? What is different for Josh with Juliana that he didn’t feel or experience with Crystal?
4. When her mother dies Juliana is determined to be independent and not rely on anyone. How does this affect her relationship with Josh or her relationship with Marion? Charity is an important theme in the story. What is the difference between giving freely from the heart and giving out of a sense of moral obligation or superiority? Where do you see these two different approaches to charity in the story?
5. Juliana carries around much bitterness, anger, and hurt toward her father through much of the novel because he left and never came back. Have you ever been deeply wounded by someone you trusted? Did you have a moment of confrontation and confession as Juliana and Davin did as he was dying? Did that experience help to heal the wound? Do you still struggle to forgive that person? father through much of the novel because he left and never came back. Have you ever been deeply wounded by someone you trusted? Did you have a moment of confrontation and confession as Juliana and Davin did as he was dying? Did that experience help to heal the wound? Do you still struggle to forgive that person?
6. Josh is concerned about the age difference between Juliana and him. He also marvels at how well he and Andy work together though they are also far apart in age. Marion, Esther, and Cynthia are examples of the role that social and economic class plays in the community. How do these age and social class distinctions keep people apart? How do they impact relationships? Have you ever been surprised by a kinship and connection with someone outside your social circle? What did you discover?