Reading Group Guide
1. Ella and Loyal have lived near each other for most of their lives, but until recently, hardly knew each other at all. Have you ever had a relationship like that with someone? How did your relationship grow and change?
2. Should Loyal have felt guilty for purchasing the Hostetler farm? Or was the purchase the right thing for both Ella and him?
3. The practice of auctioning off a deceased person’s belongings is a common practice in some Amish communities. Many Amish feel it is best to honor memories, not mementoes. How do you feel about this practice? Are there some things you’ve inherited that you could do without? Is there anything that you could never part with?
4. The theme of friendship plays an important part in the novel. Ella learns she must reach out to people in order for them to reach out to her. How have friends played a role in your life? What makes someone a good friend to you?
5. Dorothy, of course, exemplifies everything friendship is not. She’s self-serving and possessive, which leads to her downfall. How do you think she could have changed throughout the book? Or do you think her fate was inevitable?
6. Loyal, being the middle son, is trying hard to find his independence. Do you think his purchasing the Hostetler farm was the right decision? What other problems might a middle child face, even as an adult?
7. In The Protector, John Weaver is still struggling with his future. Do you think he could have been happy with Jayne Donovan, and staying “English”?
8. The main storylines in the novel revolve around “protecting” something, whether it is a reputation, a friendship, a future, or a love. Some of the characters risk almost everything they have for these things. What would you go to great lengths to protect? Why?
9. The Bible verse that guided me while writing The Protector was from Hebrews: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” --- Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) What does faith mean to you? How does your faith play a role in your daily life?
10. How might the following Amish proverb apply to you? What does “sharing your joys” look like in your life?