Reading Group Guide
1. Describe your first impression of Lena Markham. Was it positive or negative? Why do you feel you should trust or distrust first impressions?
2. Were you surprised to discover Lena has just been released from prison? How would you react if you suddenly found yourself seated next to an ex-con?
3. Lena feels understandably blue in regard to the upcoming holidays. Have you ever felt similar to that as Christmastime approached? Why or why not?
4. What one word do you think best describes Moira Phillips? Have you ever known anyone like Moira? How did that person treat you?
5. Were you surprised at what little resources Lena has available to her when she leaves the penitentiary? Did you know that sometimes women are released from prison with nothing besides the clothes on their backs? Discuss what options you think should be available to women like Lena, and why.
6. Due to Lena’s lack of funds, she is forced to stay in a boardinghouse with strangers. Have you ever experienced group living like that? Describe how it felt or how you imagine it would feel.
7. Sally and Jemima are friends in need, yet Jemima plays a major role in making Lena feel human again. Why do you think that is?
8. As Lena’s new boss, Camilla Harrington comes across as a chilly, no-nonsense businesswoman and overprotective mother. We later learn she has reasons for this, but what is your initial reaction to her character? Have you ever worked for someone like her? If so, describe what it was like.
9. Describe why you think Cassidy has such an impact on Lena. How did you feel when you discovered how sick Cassidy is?
10. When you began reading Lena’s story, did you ever guess she would discover romance in New Haven? What do you think attracted someone like Sam Phillips to someone like Lena?
11. Lena is a woman in dire need when she arrives in New Haven. Yet it seems there are angels in disguise all along the way. Describe a time when you’ve played an angel in disguise or when you were blessed by one.
12. Christmastime can bring out the best as well as the worst in people. What is one thing you’d like to do differently this Christmas season?