Reading Group Guide
1. Have you read any of Maeve Binchy’s other novels? How does this one compare?
2. If you’ve read other Binchy books, which characters did you recognize? Are there any you’d like to see in a future novel?
3. There are many parents in the book. Who would you say does the best job, and why?
4. There are a number of recent retirees, voluntary and otherwise, who become an important part of Frankie’s life. What kind of roles do her grandparents, Josie and Charles, take on? What about Dr. Hat and Muttie? More generally, what do the very young and the very mature have to offer each other? Which generation do you think needs the other more?
5. “Emily told herself that she must not try to change the world... But there were some irresistible forces that could never be fought with logic and practicality. Emily Lynch knew this for certain” (page 22). What “irresistible forces” does she mean? How does she fight them?
6. It’s clear what Noel gets from his relationship with Emily, but what does she get? How does the effect of alcoholism bond them?
7. Discuss Lisa’s relationship with Anton. Why is she so oblivious to his less attractive qualities? What is her turning point?
8. Why is Moira so obsessed with Frankie’s fate? Is it just fear, or is there something more going on?
9. How does Moira define “family”? How does Emily?
10. Lisa says to Moira, “I have a lot of worries and considerations in my life, but minding Frankie sort of grounds me. It gives it all some purpose, if you know what I mean” (page 239). Among Frankie’s caretakers, who else might say this?
11. Discuss the ethics of Moira’s dealings with Eddie Kennedy. Should she have told him about her father?
12. Anton says to Lisa, “I’m not the villain here, you know,” and she responds, “I know. That’s why I’m angry. I got it so wrong . . . ” (page 314) What does she mean?
13. What did you think of Di Kelly’s reason for staying with her husband? What would you have done?
14. What is your opinion of Noel’s decision to get a DNA test? How would you have handled the results he received?
15. Many of the characters go through major upheavals in their lives. Who responds best, and why? Whose attitude changes the most?
16. What did you think of Stella’s letter to Frankie? What did we learn from it?
- Publication Date: March 1, 2011
- Genres: Fiction
- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Knopf
- ISBN-10: 0307273563
- ISBN-13: 9780307273567