Reading Group Guide
1. Nina’s struggle with alcoholism taints everything in her life. It destroyed her career and her relationship with her family. Trying to rebuild her life is the hardest thing she’s ever done, especially with temptation lurking behind every confrontation and choice. Do you relate to Nina’s struggle? Is there something in your own life that you’ve fought the way Nina fights her addiction to alcohol? How did you feel when she nearly succumbs? when she triumphs?
2. At the beginning of each chapter, Nina relates a piece of her childhood. How do you think these events led to the woman Nina is today? Did seeing these glimpses into her past affect your perception of her?
3. Much of the book centers on Nina’s discomfort with returning to her childhood home and confronting her past. What would returning to the scene of your childhood be like for you? What things do you hope would have changed, and what things do you hope would be the same?
4. Marcus’s obsession with Nina grows out of her resemblance to the wife he loved --- and killed. He is drawn to her and wants to possess her, but in the end, he gives his own life to save hers. Do you think he truly loved her? Does his sacrifice bring him redemption in your eyes?
5. Marcus tells Nina his history by presenting it as a local legend. How does his origin affect your perception of vampires? of Marcus’s choices in life? What can we determine about our role in our personal choices --- how much is determined by nature versus our free will?
6. In contrast to Marcus, Hunt is depicted as having a steadfast love for Nina. Yet he divorces her when her alcoholism takes over. Do you think he made the right choice? Should he have stood by her no matter what? What would you have done in his situation?
7. Meg’s relationship with Nina is strained, and she seems to want nothing to do with her mother. How did you feel toward Meg while reading the book? Do you think her anger toward Nina is justified? What could Nina have done differently to repair their relationship? What could Meg have done differently?
8. Do you think Nina could have handled the situation with Stephen in a better manner? How would you have responded if you believed what she did? Did you sympathize with his desire to be in Meg’s life?
9. After the night of the graduation party, Nina left home without telling her parents where she was going. She felt unloved throughout her childhood and still feels bitterness toward her parents. She has little desire to see them again when she returns to Abbey Hills. In what ways do Nina and her parents misunderstand each other? How much of Nina’s pain and anger is warranted?
10. As the other vampire in the novel, how does Eden differ from Marcus? Why has she pursued Marcus all these years? With her charismatic personality, Eden collects followers wherever she goes. What parallels can we draw between her and dangers in our own world?
11. Nina’s belief in God hinges on him “showing up.” At the beginning of the novel, she doesn’t believe because God has never shown up for her, but by the end of the novel, she tells Hunt that He has. In what ways did God “show up” for Nina? Can you trace His hand through her journey? What role did the General, Hunt, Marcus, and Nina’s family play in her path to faith?
12. In what ways does Marcus’s vampirism parallel Nina’s alcoholism? How does he fight temptation, and what happens when he gives in? What similarities do Nina’s and Marcus’s shared thirst give them?