A deeply moving novel to read with your book club.
When journalist Allira forms an unlikely friendship with a nursing home resident named Nora, she becomes helplessly drawn to the woman’s story. After key to the past is discovered, it fills in the missing pieces of Nora’s life and just might set both women free.
Discussion points and questions
- Allira and Nora have a connection that at times transcends the usual modes of communication. What did you observe about their relationship?
- The wren is a recurring motif throughout the novel, both in Nora’s and Allira’s story threads. What does it symbolise?
- If Thelma had allowed her daughter to make her own decisions about her pregnancy, how do you think things might have turned out differently?
- How significant are the 1950s era and the rural setting to the events that unfold in this story? How are things different today?
- In the novel, we learn that ‘Evelyn would have done anything to please her mother.’ Why do you think Thelma is the way she is?
- How do Thelma and Nora explore and express their spiritual beliefs in different ways?
- ‘Nora loosened her grip on Allira’s hand and lifted her palm into the moonlight. There it was. A tiny, triangular scar, embedded like a sliver of precious metal. “Beautiful, isn’t it?”’ Nora treasures her wound because of the memories it holds. Do you have similar scars, emotional or physical, that are precious to you?
- Allira said, ‘It’s a part of your story, Evelyn. You’re not you without it.’ How did these discussions help Allira address her own recent trauma?
- Discuss the theme of loneliness, and explore the different ways it plays out in this story.
- Do you think Allira did the right thing by accepting Justin’s challenge to a game of eight ball with the magazine at stake?
- Do you have a friendship with someone many decades younger or older than you? How is it different from your other friendships?
- When Nora is first introduced to Allira, she is described as having ‘no family’. Discuss the role of nursing homes in today’s society. Do you have any experience with these yourself?
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