Reading Group Discussion Questions

  1. Discuss how Kit's illusions about idyllic country life are challenged by reality.

  2. What social issues are raised in the novel?

  3. The "contemporary" part of this novel can already be considered historical fiction. In what ways has life changed since 1980?

  4. In what ways is Kit a catalyst in her new community?

  5. We all have "if only"s in our lives. Is Kit right in thinking that she could have prevented the tragedy that befalls her friends, had she acted differently towards Wayne?

  6. Discuss how the Pughs offer comic relief in the novel.

  7. Discuss the roles of women in the 19th century. How restrictive were their lives? What were their legal rights?

  8. Discuss how Violet, although a somewhat more liberated woman, is still a product of her age.

  9. In what ways are women in the past and present different and similar?

  10. The moon is often referred to in the novel. What does it symbolize?

  11. The scenes involving Lord and Lady Dufferin are largely drawn from Lady Dufferin's journal. Have these real incidents contributed to the novel and its enjoyment? In what ways?

  12. Some families appear in both the past and the present. How does this contribute to the novel?

  13. Discuss the theme of appearance versus reality.

  14. What impact did Violet's diary have on Kit's life?

  15. What are the ironies of Violet's life?

  16. The author's objective was to entertain and enlighten. Was this achieved?