Reading Group Guide
1. What did the prologue lead you to believe about Maclovia? Did it cause you to have certain expectations about how the book would end?
2. Contrast the two grandmothers' responses to the news and preparation for Manuel's birth. Which differences were cultural and which were spiritual?
3. Many expectant parents say they don't care if they have a boy or girl as long as the baby is healthy. At the end of chapter two Maclovia prays, "If it please You, make him perfect. Perfect for Your plans, perfect to accomplish Your purposes." Discuss if this is the same as wanting a healthy baby. How was this prayer answered?
4. Manuel's name means "God is with us." The author chose that name specifically for its meaning. In what ways was God present in this family through Manuel before and after his birth?
5. Man's truth is not always God's truth. Discuss the ways that the novel shows this. What is God's truth about the child that Angelica is carrying? Does it differ from man's truth? If so, how?
6. At the end of the book, a detail about Fronie is revealed when she says she feels she has much in common with Manuel. Discuss why she might feel that way. Do you think her feelings are justified?
7. Why do you think Maclovia habitually waits on God before she begins to pray? Is there a scriptural or cultural basis for this, or do you think it is something she has learned from her life experience?
8. Antonio and Angelica's baby changed several lives. Enumerate these. Which seem most important to you? Why?
9. Discuss the difference between believing in God and believing God. How did perceiving this difference affect Angelica's life?
10. Identify verses in the Bible that equate God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit with light. How was light used symbolically in the novel?
11. Maclovia tells Antonio, "It is better to suffer a wrong than to do it." Do you agree? Why or why not?
12. Discuss Antonio and Angelica's differing views of medical testing and of the term "fetus." Do you consider one view right and the other view wrong? Use scripture to support your opinion.
13. When Angelica argues with her parents about naming the baby Ben, Antonio tells her that their reaction was fear-driven. Do you agree? What were they afraid of?
14. At the end of the story, Angelica makes the observation that "impairments came in different forms to different people" What did she mean by that? What "impairments" do you find in yourself?
15. For those who have also read The Winds of Sonoma: compare and contrast Poppy with Maclovia. What do you find most significant about each?