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The Look of Love Reader’s Guide

By Sarah Jio

The Look of Love by Sarah Jio


Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. What was your first impression of Jane? Her friends and family seem concerned about her, but does she understand why they worry?

2. Does Jane’s discovery of her gift change her? How so?

3. The story Colette tells Jane and the request she makes of her is a highly unusual one. Why does Jane believe her? Is there anything about Jane’s character that makes her especially suited for this gift?

4. How would you describe Jane’s relationships with her girlfriends, Lo, Mary, Katie, and Elaine? How does her ability to see love affect her friendships? Does she become more confident in her power to guide her friends as time goes on?

5. Why does it take Dr. Heller so long to acknowledge that Jane’s gift may actually be real? What ultimately changes her mind?

6. Lo realizes that a relationship with Grant will be complicated right from the start. Why does she continue to see him? Do you agree with the old adage, “It’s better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all?” Would Lo?

7. Consider Elaine’s dilemma. What might you have done in her situation? Do you think she made the right choice? Is there a “right choice” at all?

8. What role do flowers play in the novel, beyond the fact that Jane is a florist? How does the author use flowers to give readers a better sense of some of the characters?

9. Flynn and Celeste never meet in person. Does that make their love any less real or powerful? What do Flynn and Celeste each gain from having loved each other from afar?

10. Cam tells Jane that he thinks that “we as a culture overthink love . . . you choose to be with someone, or you don’t.” Would you agree? Where do you think the author stands? Does Cam’s perspective on love shift over the course of the novel?

11. Consider what Jane writes in Colette’s book. What do you make of her characterizations of the romances she describes? Is she right? Is any one type of love better or stronger than the others?

12. Colette tells Jane that she chose to pass her gift on to her because of Jane’s mother: “I thought that anyone who was born from a woman with such a spirit had a legendary capacity to love and be loved.” Why does Jane choose Grace? Does she feel the same way about

13. Why does Jane feel so betrayed by Cam? Were you convinced that he truly didn’t mean to do her harm? What eventually allows her to forgive him?

14. Why does Josh try to hide from Katie rather than share the truth about his injury? Can you understand his impulse? Did Katie react to his news the way you would have expected?

15. Which category do you think Cam and Jane’s love belongs in? Why?

The Look of Love is your seventh novel, and it has more of a magical undercurrent than any of your previous books. What inspired you to give Jane the power to see love? What kind of challenges did you face in creating a story with a bit of a mystical plotline?

For me, The Look of Love was born out of one of my (many!) quirks: the love of people watching. While I was formulating the concept for this new novel, I found myself stealing glances of couples at cafes and restaurants and wondering if they were truly in love, wondering if married couples celebrating anniversaries over fancy restaurant dinners still felt the spark, curious about the elements that made relationships go the distance. And then I imagined my character, Jane, who had the special ability to see this for herself. I became fascinated with Jane’s special vision and found it exciting to write about. While the subject matter, particularly the magical realism element, was different than my other novels, it was a nice change of pace for me, and of all my novels, perhaps the one with themes that resonated with me the most.

Several romances cross the pages of The Look of Love—were you especially enamored of any of the couples you wrote about? If you could write an alternate ending for any of the pairs, which would you choose? Might we see any of these characters again in another book?

I really loved the story of Mary and Luca, her Italian builder. Their story was inspired, loosely, by the love story of a dear friend of mine—and some of my characters cute interactions are directly derived from real life! As for an alternate ending, I would have loved for Flynn and his beautiful neighbor to have had a different ending, but their ending was the most authentic, I think. And, yes, I think I will find a home for one, or many, of my characters in future books. Expect a cameo from Jane, for sure!

Which kind of love—Eros, Ludus, Storge, Pragma, Mania, Agape—would you most want for yourself?

Oh goodness—such a good question! Can I be selfish and say that I want all of them? And I think that’s the secret, really. Big, epic and beautiful love encompasses all of these elements. May we all be so lucky to find it.

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