Reading Group Guide
1. Why is it important to Zach that Charles Aubrey might be his grandfather? In what ways does this belief shape who he is? Why do you think he doesn’t simply ask his grandmother from the beginning?
2. As we see the story unfold through the lens of the 1930s and the present what does the author appear to be saying about the nature of memory? Do you agree?
3. This novel has a very strong coming of age element, particularly as we see Mitzy move from childhood innocence to womanhood. At what point do you think she crosses the divide?
4. Charles Aubrey has very definite views on beauty and what’s worth capturing, What do his aesthetic preferences and visual tendencies say about him as an artist and as a man? Do you think his intentions toward Mitzy were ever what she believed them to be?
5. Mitzy grew up in a home with very little tenderness, and the Aubreys take her in with open arms. Why do you believe she became so enamored with Charles? Why was the idea of this relationship more important to her than the closeness she shares with Delphine or the kindness shown to her by Celeste?
6. In some ways the settings of the idyllic and wild Dorset coast and hot and sultry Morocco become characters themselves. Why do you think the author chose such contrasting worlds?
7. “She would always strive to give him whatever he asked for. Making him happy was all she could do for him; and all she could do for herself. Protecting him assuaged the feeling of falling that she still woke up with, every single day.” When you reached the end of the novel, what were your feelings about Dimity? How had they changed as you read?