Reading Group Guide
1. In chapter 1, Molly tells Betsy that God is not listening to her prayers. She says, “I’ve been praying, and it seems like he hasn’t heard a word.” Do you think she was right to feel that way? Have you ever had similar feelings?
2. Discuss Betsy’s reactions following Samuel’s funeral. Do you think she was being selfish? Did her thoughts give you more insight into her life?
3. After Dr. Karl Spengler calls on Molly, she is riddled with guilt. Do you think she should have done things differently when Samuel was ill?
4. Meeting Molly brings out strong reactions on Dr. Karl Spengler’s part as well. Can you think of a time when you reacted to someone based solely on their appearance? How did your understanding of him change as the story progressed?
5. Discuss Marjolaine Cross. How did you view her character in the early chapters? Toward the end of the book? Have you ever known someone like Marjolaine?
6. Betsy’s life takes an unexpected turn after Molly plans to set her free in Illinois. Did this reversal come as a surprise? Analyze Molly’s and Betsy’s reactions. Were they in character for each woman?
7. The unimaginable occurs when Molly and her family cross the Mississippi. In the days that follow, Molly believes she has heard a voice no one else can hear. Do you think God ever speaks to us in our suffering? Would you have believed Molly’s claim?
8. After Molly arrives at her brother’s house, she begins to lead a double life --- on the outside, she complies with people’s opinions, while in her heart she is traveling in a different direction. Were her actions called for? What are some other options she could have chosen?
9. Talk about the time period in which the story is set. Did you have a sense of whether or not the author remained true to the events and social structures of the time? Did you come away with a greater understanding of what this period in history was actually like?
10. Was she brave or reckless? Discuss Molly’s reaction to Red Moon’s visit. Should she have trusted others to help her? Have you ever been pushed to the limits of your understanding?
11. Near the end of the story, Molly is brought face-to-face with her motives for wanting to free Betsy in Illinois. Why do you think she didn’t recognize those motives sooner? Do you have stereotypes that color your motives and opinions?
12. When Molly reflects back on the events that took place after Samuel died, she sees the truth of her brother’s words, “God gives us light for each step, not the whole path at once.” In your own life, have you ever been able to step back and recognize where God led you through times when you felt alone?