A timely and uplifting story about the importance of community and connection from much-loved author Barbara Hannay.
With themes of connection, friendship, love and gardening, The Garden of Hopes and Dreams is an excellent choice for book club. Put the kettle on, find a comfy chair and settle in for an engaging discussion.
Discussion points and questions:
- In what ways does this book explore loneliness?
- Do you think Vera’s decision to move to a city apartment from the country location she had known for much of her life was the right one? Discuss the pros and cons of a major life change after being widowed.
- When Vera first moves to Brisbane, she wonders, ‘Why on earth would lively young people want to dine with an ancient old stick they don’t even know?’ Why do you think?
- What role does Henry play in bringing the residents of the Riverview apartment block together, and indeed in bringing his own family together?
- Why do you think Maddie’s philodendron became so important to her? Do you have any plants that you are sentimental about?
- Discuss the importance of community and connection as they apply to the different characters in this book.
- Vera says: ‘I’ve always thought of plants as reliable. They inevitably do their best.’ What do you think she was implying, and why?
- Which character did you learn the most from in this story and why?
- ‘Just remember, we’re all here for you, Jock. The residents here all care about you – especially the gardeners.’ Can such sentiments really help someone in a genuine crisis situation?
- What lessons do Joe and Dennis have to teach the other residents about love?
- How well do you know your neighbours? Do you think this is important, or just a nice fantasy?
- What recurring themes did you identify in this novel and other books by Barbara Hannay?
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