> Skip to content

Book clubs  •  11 August 2023


The Secrets of the Huon Wren book club questions

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?

Feature Title

The Secrets of the Huon Wren
A deeply moving novel of love and loss set in the majestic mountains of Tasmania's Central Highlands, ideal for book clubs and fans of Kate Morton.
Read more

More features

See all
Better Reading’s Top 100 books of 2024 announced

Penguin Random House is proud to have twenty-four titles on the list this year.

Debut authors share their best tips for aspiring authors

The Fresh Voices of 2023 share their advice with fellow writers. Whether you’re aspiring to get your book published or looking for writing tips, these words of wisdom will help.

Claire van Ryn shares her unique 3-step writing process

Plus, find out what inspired Claire's first novel and how her previous work experience helped her write The Secrets of the Huon Wren.

Book clubs
The Cryptic Clue book club questions

The second book in The Tea Ladies series is a fun mystery to read with your book club.

Book clubs
What I Would Do to You book club questions

A stunning, thought-provoking debut to read with your book club.

Book clubs
A Gentleman in Moscow book club questions

A letter from the author and book club questions for one of Amor Towles' most popular books.

The best books to read with your book club in autumn 2024

These are the Penguin Random House books that over 80,000 book clubs voted as the best group reads this month.

Generate a husband

Generate a husband in honour of Holly Gramazio’s debut novel, The Husbands.

Georgia Harper says she ‘ruined her mum’s fantasy’

Find out why Georgia Harper’s writing routine ruined her mum’s idyllic vision of a writerly life. Plus, learn about her love for Anne Rice and her unlucky skill for attracting strangers’ stories.

Fun Fact: Sarah-Jane Collins wrote much of her debut novel in a bar

Sarah-Jane Collins shares how her background as a reporter inspired her to write her debut novel, Radiant Heat.

Gareth Brown shares how a yearning to travel inspired The Book of Doors

Plus find out why he’d choose to live in Middle Earth and main difference between him and Hugh Jackman.

How the characters from Abbey Lay’s Lead Us Not came to her in an imagined conversation

The debut author also shares the fictional character she’d most like to meet and why she loved Lemony Snicket’s writing as a child.

Looking for more book club notes?

See all book club notes