Reading Group Guide
1. Fiona is blamed as a seductress, while the men she has relations with are regarded as her victims. Is this an accurate assessment? Why do you think Elizabeth doesn't blame George for sleeping with Fiona?
2. Rudy is aware of Fiona's promiscuous reputation but does not condemn her for it the way George does. How much of Fiona's "reputation" is based upon small-town morality? Do you think Fiona would have grown up differently in an urban environment?
3. Are any of the Hollises genuinely happy? Why or why not? Were the Hollis children's feelings for Fiona affected more by their parents' attitude toward her or by Fiona's own actions? Do they love her?
4. Was Elizabeth ever really in love with Rudy? Did she realize how drastically she was misleading him or were her perceptions too skewed by her fragile mental state? Was Rudy ever really in love with Elizabeth?
5. More than anyone else in the novel, Chester is the paternal figure in Fiona's life. How significant is it that he is the victim of Patrick's violence?
6. How culpable is Aunt Arlene? What was her moral responsibility to her niece as well as to her own children?
7. What is your opinion about what happens to the Hollis family, particularly Judge Hollis, at the end of the novel? Do you think Aunt Arlene did the right thing in staying with him?
8. If you were Fiona, would you have remained in Dearborn after discovering the truth about your parentage?
- Publication Date: July 1, 2001
- Paperback: 418 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
- ISBN-10: 0141001844
- ISBN-13: 9780141001845