Reading Group Guide
1. For both Morgan and Georgia, flying is initially more than a hobby or a job. Explain what role flying plays in both of their lives, when they were younger, before they joined the War effort, and, later, after they had been buffeted by the forces of war.
2. Neither Morgan’s nor Georgia’s parents were married, during a time when being born outside marriage came with considerable social stigma. How did being born “out of wedlock” define Morgan and Georgia? Discuss how each mother handled the stigma, and, if you were in her place and time, what you would have done to protect yourself and your children from the stigma? Given the social changes since that time, how do you think Eva Glennon and “Cordelia Carter Boudreaux” would have handled their plight today?
3. In any good story, there is a point where the author grabs the reader emotionally. When did Marie Bostwick “have you” in On Wings of the Morning? What was the first scene that pulled on your heartstrings, that made you want a character to achieve his or her goal? What other scenes stand out in your mind in this regard?
4. What did it say about Eva’s character that she would not marry Reverend Van Dyver, especially given the times? What do you think enabled her to marry him later in the story?
5. Why do you think Eva didn’t want to tell Morgan the identity of his father? How would knowing that Charles Lindbergh was his father have changed his life?
6. What role does quilting play in Eva’s life, at the beginning of the book, and at the end? If you are a quilter, how does the craft enrich your life and that of your family?
7. On Wings of the Morning is filled with many brave characters. Whom do you admire most? Which one is your favorite and why?
8. Saying goodbye to Morgan when he climbed into his plane must have been a very difficult déjà vu moment for Eva, even more difficult than saying goodbye to his famous father. Have you ever had to say good-bye to anyone—a sweetheart, son or daughter leaving for war, for example—and wondered if you would even see them again? How did you handle the parting? How did your life change after they left? How did you change in their absence?
9. Georgia said of her mother, “Delia had spent her whole life trying to become a wife—anyone’s wife—because that was what would turn her from a nobody into a somebody. That just didn’t seem right to me.” Yet Georgia agreed to marry a man she didn’t love. Why did Georgia marry Roger? What did both gain from the marriage?
10. What surprised you about the way the U.S. government treated members of the Women’s Air Service Pilots Training Division (WASP)? How were these one thousand WASP trailblazers for women’s rights in this country?
11. What did Georgia mean when, after flying the BT-13 on the base in Sweetwater, Texas, she said “I walked the wind”? What did flying that plane do for her memory of her husband, Roger? How did this help her come to grips with the reason she married him?
12. While trying to make sense of the war in the scheme of things, Morgan said to Georgia, “Sometimes we get so focused on the small pains and tragedies of life, and even on the enormous ones, that we forget to see the larger goodness and beauty in life. For us, death is the ultimate punishment, but it must be different from God’s perspective. Maybe God sees it more like a gift.” What is your personal belief about death? What did this passage reveal about the author and about Morgan’s character?
13. Morgan also tells Georgia, “But, if our lives had turned out even a little bit differently than they did, taking a few turns we felt were better at the time, we could have missed the things that bring us our greatest happiness.” What did he mean by this statement? How was it that despite experiencing terrible losses, Morgan found goodness in life, while Georgia was still questioning her belief in a higher power? Why do you think Morgan and Georgia were not able to get together at this point?
14. Before Morgan leaves San Diego on his visit with his mother and Paul, he realizes, “She was still my mother, but now she was my friend, too. It was nice.” Have you reached this point with your children or your mother? If so, what did it take to get to this point? What changes needed to occur on the part of the child and the parent?
15. What was your attitude, and that of the young pilots, toward Lindbergh when he appeared as a special guest of McDonald’s 475th Flying Squadron when Morgan was present? How did their opinion of “the old man” change? How did yours? How did Morgan’s?
16. After his plane crashes in the Pacific, Morgan recalls a sermon that Paul had preached years ago, in which he talked about generational sin. What was he talking about, and how did the memory of this sermon help Morgan change the course of his life and Georgia’s?
17. Ultimately, how did Morgan and Georgia overcome their backgrounds to come together as man and wife?