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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Sheer Abandon

1. We join Martha, Jocasta, and Clio at Heathrow Airport a year before a baby is born to, and abandoned by, one of them. And then get to know them a little better in the early chapters. Purely on the basis of their personalities, which of them seemed the most likely to have done something so shocking and wretched: and why?

2. Did you guess correctly? Did you spot the qualities that made such a course of action possible? And if you were wrong, what specific things misled you?

3. English politics, an essential ingredient of the book in the struggle for power are very idiosyncratic; the personal politics of several of the characters could well be described as equally so. Yet the less ambitious characters, eg. Helen, Kate’s adoptive mother, and Nat, her boyfriend, have been declared some of the more multi dimensional characters in the book. Would you agree with this and if so why?

4. It could be argued either that Jocasta acted completely against her own character, in marrying Gideon Keeble; or that it was in absolute accord with her desire for love and security. Which do you think?

5. Kate is deeply distressed by the loss of Martha, when she had spent her whole life railing against her, why do you think this is?

6. Female friendships can be very complex. What do you suppose drove Martha, Clio and Jocast apart? Have you lost touch with a friend and re-connected with that person later in life?

Sheer Abandon
by Penny Vincenzi

  • Publication Date: April 8, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor
  • ISBN-10: 0767926250
  • ISBN-13: 9780767926256