Reading Group Guide
1. In 18th-century Kentucky, the conflict between the British and Indians and settlers was so great that there was hardly a family untouched by tragedy. How would you have responded if your husband, son, or daughter was killed or taken captive like those in the Little household? Why do you think Morrow and her father responded so differently to the tragedy that had befallen them?
2. At the start of the novel, Morrow shows a startling naiveté about life in general and men in particular. She is also unaware of her physical beauty. How might a mother or sister have moved her toward maturity? How did a grieving father and a spinster aunt impede her progress?
3. Morrow’s father, Elias Little, reflects the forgiving nature of Daniel Boone. Boone lost two beloved sons in the frontier conflict yet his refusal to hold a grudge was legendary. How is it possible to find forgiveness in the midst of unspeakable tragedy? Would you have nursed a grudge or embraced forgiveness? Why?
4. Compare Morrow’s two closest friends, Lizzy and Jemima. What influence did they have on Morrow? At what point in the novel did you feel like one of them would betray her? Were you surprised when it happened?
5. Although Major McKie is the villain in this story, there were many honorable men in uniform during that era. Can you dig deep and find any good qualities about him? Why do you think he was attracted to Morrow? What kind of life would they have had together if she’d accepted his proposal?
6. Red Shirt attended Brafferton School which is a part of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. The school’s vision was to train Indian youth to act as liaisons and peacemakers between their tribes and the encroaching white world. Yet one chief is reported to have claimed that the education they received made the native sons “good for nothing.” Today Brafferton is but a relic of a dream gone awry. Do you think it was wise to try to educate Indian youth as they did? How might the white culture have done things differently? Why do you think Brafferton was a failure?
7. When Morrow meets Red Shirt, she is a victim of her own wrong assumptions. Like many of her day, she falls victim to the belief that Indians are ignorant savages bent on destruction. How is Morrow’s wrong thinking challenged over the course of the novel? At what point do you see her falling in love with him? Why does she try so hard to deny it?
8. Red Shirt is a man caught between two cultures and belonging to neither. Have you ever pondered how isolating and disorienting this must have been? What qualities and abilities does he have that made him resilient and able to withstand the extreme danger he lived with? Why do you think he was attracted to Morrow? What made him bold enough to declare his love for her?
9. Most women in 18th-century America were either pregnant or nursing almost continuously for a quarter of a century or more. Morrow is no exception. What supports were in place for women during that time that helped them through the seemingly endless cycle of motherhood? How would you have responded to this season of life?
10. Which scenes were your favorite in the novel? Which characters did you like the most? Least? What Scriptural truths were inherent in the book that you can take away as a life lesson?