Mix one measure of murder mystery with a splash of love story, stir well over a high-seas backdrop under a cloud of war, and what do you get? The perfect cocktail, guaranteed to get your next book club meet-up swinging. Here are some reading group questions to get the party started
Reading Group Questions
• What is the effect of setting the action almost entirely on a ship? What does it add to the story?
• Lily goes on an epic physical journey throughout the course of the book, travelling from one side of the world to the other. What other types of journeys does she make? How has she changed by the time they arrive in Sydney?
• Describe the Campbells’ relationship. How did they end up that way? Does it ring true? Do you know any couples who’ve had that kind of dysfunctional co-dependent relationship?
• What does Lily see in Edward? Do you think her love for him is a reaction to her being hurt so badly by Robert?
• Lily likes Maria but she lets her down at a crucial moment. Why do you think she does this? Do you think less of her for it? Have you had instances in your own life where you wish you had behaved differently towards someone? How do you think Lily might be affected by it in years to come?
• The story is set in 1939, with the shadow of war looming over the ship. What difference does this threat make to the characters and the way they behave?
• Ida is an odd character in the story. What is her role? What did you think of her by the end? Why does she act the way she does?
• Why do you think the author included the epilogue with the contemporary newspaper profile of Lily? Were you glad to find out what had happened to her, or would you have preferred it was left to your imagination?
• Do you think George Price got the punishment he deserved?
• In many ways the book is about a migration – someone leaving home and travelling to another country in search of a better life. How relevant is Lily’s story to what is happening in the world today?