Summary and Analysis
Feeling badly about hurting Jamie, Landon approaches her the night of the play to apologize; he finds himself holding her hand. After the two head to their respective dressing rooms, Eric enters and asks what funny or mean stunt Landon plans to pull during the performance. When Landon answers that he plans only to say his lines and act the part as best he can, Eric responds, "I guess you're finally growing up, Landon."
Landon is most worried about his pivotal scene, in which Tom Thornton first sees the angel and utters, "You're beautiful." In rehearsals, the line hasn't been ringing true because Landon can't imagine anyone having such a reaction when looking at an angel that looks like Jamie. However, when Landon finally sees Jamie in that scene, she is wearing a flowing white dress and a touch of makeup, with her hair cascading to below her shoulders. Landon delivers an utterly believable, "You're beautiful."
In this chapter, Landon does, as Eric suggests, finally grow up. Since getting angry at Jamie the night before, Landon has felt remorse. But he isn't able to apologize to her until just before the play begins. She is unsure whether to believe him, but he takes her hand and promises to make it up to her.
This marks an important transition for Landon because, for the first time, Landon is feeling rather than thinking. "Don't ask me why I said it," he says, referring to his promise to make it up to her, "it just seemed like the right thing to do at the moment." He is starting to do the inexplicable, not because he feels pressure to do so or doesn't see a way out, but because it just feels right. This concept, of going with feeling and overriding any other logic, figures prominently in the novel and is an important message from Sparks to his readers.
Landon is entirely in feeling mode for the rest of the chapter; indeed, for the rest of the novel. When Eric asks Landon what mean trick he has up his sleeve, Landon is surprised at the question. He had never considered blowing his part for laughs or to embarrass Jamie, yet Eric had assumed all along that something like that lay in Landon's plans. Likewise, when Jamie enters the stage in her fitted gown, flowing hair, and touch of makeup, Landon doesn't think; instead, he oozes feeling, telling Jamie exactly what is in his heart — she is beautiful.
blue-haired referring to elderly women.
Bloody Marys a drink commonly consumed at breakfast or brunch that is made with tomato juice, vodka, and spices.
Landon learns how to love a woman by watching Jamie's father, Hegbert, who remains devoted to his late wife, years after her passing. Did you originally envision these two characters as similar men, in similar circumstances, who love in similar ways?
Yes, from the very beginning of the novel. I love to write novels that contain those sorts of parallels, in which the story almost seems to end in much the same way as it began. It adds complexity and a deeper subtext to the novel, which tends to make a relatively simple story resonate and linger in the mind long after the final page is turned.