> 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.
Read more

More features

See all
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 Sugar Palace book club questions

A heart-stopping romantic adventure to read with your book club.

Book clubs
On a Bright Hillside in Paradise book club questions

A book about faith and family to read with your book club.

Book clubs
As the River Rises book club questions

A medical romance to read with your book club.

Book clubs
Doll's Eye book club questions

A story of love, loss and survival to read with your book club.

Book clubs
Love Match book club questions

An Australian country romance to read with your book club.

Book clubs
Perfect-ish book club questions

A smart, funny and heartfelt anti-romcom to read with your book club.

The best books to read with your book club in spring 2023

These are the Penguin Random House books that over 48,000 book clubs voted as the best group reads this October.

The rare success of one author's open submission

An author and editor share the unique publication story of Amy Doak's debut novel, Eleanor Jones is Not a Murderer.

Jessica Seaborn on inspiration, observation and navigating the publishing process

Debut author Jessica Seaborn shares a few things that helped her get her debut novel, Perfect-ish, published.

How a dream inspired Jessica Yu's debut novel

We caught up with Jessica Yu to learn more about her writing routine and the shortlist award that helped launch her career.

Looking for more book club notes?

See all book club notes