In precisely the same spirit as Abelard and Heloise and Romeo and Juliet, Paul and Juliana are a fresh young couple who embody the near-impossible notion of perfect love. In this elegant, timeless, and lyrical love story, they walk the fine line between forbidden romance and tragic disaster that is the stuff of ageless myths.
Mr. Lawrence is a guidance counselor relegated to the mind-numbing task of proctoring standardized tests at his Chicago-area high school, then analyzing the results. Over-educated and over-cultured for his station, Lawrence is emotionally stifled, an island unto himself—until chance circumstance throws him into the lives of two high school students, Paul Berrisford and Juliana Franck.
Paul is a sloppy genius who would rather sing and play his guitar on a street corner than take the SATs and have his pick of Ivy League schools. Juliana is a lovely musical prodigy kept under the thumb of her old-fashioned, Viennese-born parents. Through Lawrence’s furtive but well-intentioned design, Paul and Juliana meet one another, then fall in love, almost at first glance. Together, the two are a picture of courtly love brought to modern life. Lawrence’s guidance sessions with them begin to grow into a friendship between the three, and slowly, his own admiration and affection for the couple begins to develop into love.
But is he in love with Paul, or with Juliana? Or is he in love with their love?
The situation takes an ill-fated turn when Juliana’s parents catch her in a clandestine, prohibited moment with Paul. The couple’s respective parents, concerned about each child’s welfare, forbid them to see one other. Lawrence, like the friar in Romeo and Juliet, is caught in the middle, struggling between emotion and professionalism. At the climax, Paul and Juliana come to a fork in the road, one route that could kill their love—and another that could kill them.
Author Richard Hawley revives the classical romance in order to ask age-old questions: Is true adolescent love possible? What is perfect love? And what is perfection? Paul and Juliana leaves the answers up to you, while promising to take you on a magical journey of both personal and epic proportions.