Reading Group Guide
1. This novel was inspired by a true story. Is there an event in your life that you think would make a good novel?
2. Katie is so devoted to her work with damaged girls that she postpones her life together with Jack. Do you think that Jack should have been more patient in waiting for her? Or was Katie taking their relationship for granted?
3. Katie hears a lot of “terrible stories” from the girls at The Winsome Wilderness. How did these experiences contribute to her decision to place Luna for adoption?
4. Kate seems to take great comfort in rituals. Have these rituals served a positive purpose in her life—or have they held her back?
5. Do you think Kate and Rowan’s relationship would have had a different outcome if she had been able to confide in him about her past?
6. Lida is much more than an employee to Kate, who seems to turn a blind eye to the younger woman’s shortcomings. What do you think they offer each other?
7. When he was married, Jack didn’t tell his wife about Luna. Do you think that this compromised their marriage?
8. Kate mentions that she “wants to love” Rowan. Can Kate—or anyone make themselves love someone? Can you want to love enough to love?
9. Jack says in one of his letters, “of all of the awful parts of missing their daughter, the non-knowning was the absolute worse.” Why did Jack feel this way? Do you agree?
10. In the opening of the novel we see that March 20th is a significant date for Katie Vaughn, and it remains so throughout the remainder of the novel. Is there a date that is deeply significant to you and if so, why?
11. Thirteen-year-old Emily wonders about her “birth parents.” Do you know any adopted children and if so, do they often wonder about their birth parents?
12. Emily is deeply loved and has a close family, but still she struggled with feeling wanted. Why do you think this is?
13. Emily wants to know “her story”—don’t we all? Did hearing her story directly from Jack and Kate help Emily? Do you think that hearing “your story” helps you understand your life? Do you believe that telling “your story” helps others?
14. At one point in the novel, Emily believes that it would be nicer to live with Katie and Jack. Can you see why she would believe this?
15. Kate has a very close family and they often talk about Luna, and yet her birth and adoption are also a tightly held secret. Do you believe families can hold these kinds of secrets? How do they affect the family and those who are close to them?