1. What are all the different forces that draw Jed and Marcella
together? What taboos, exactly, are they breaking? What fruits does
this relationship bear - and are they worth the transgression?
2. What do you think Jed and Callie might have been like if
their parents hadn''t died? What do you think it did to them losing
their parents just as they were about to become adults themselves -
how would that be different from other timing?
3. Marcella begins the book as a very broken and fragile woman.
How long has she been like this? What has contributed to it,
besides her divorce and Cecil''s death, and to what degree? What is
her progression throughout the book - does she end up in a
different psychological and emotional place? What are the signs
that she might have changed?
4. The cocktail party at the McClatcheys'' pool becomes a
centerpiece: at different points we see it from Jed''s, Callie''s,
Anthony''s, Cecil''s, and Marcella''s POVs. How did such a mundane
event become so central? What did that day mean for all these
different characters? Discuss why all of them were so vulnerable at
those particular times. What might Toni''s and Betsy''s
perspectives - the only missing ones - have been like?
5. Why do you think LeCraw uses different points of view? Why
might she choose a particular POV for a scene? How would the book
be different if it were only from, say, Jed''s point of view, or
some other character''s?
6. Do you think Marcella and Anthony will get back together?
Does Marcella still love him? How and why?
7. What sort of man should Marcella have married? How might her
life have been different - or would it have been? What sort of
woman should Anthony have married? Or did they marry the right
people after all?
8. LeCraw often documents action not as it is happening, but as
a character is remembering it. How does the memory add an extra
layer of meaning to the action? Why do you think particular
flashbacks are interwoven at the points they are?
9. Discuss Callie and Betsy''s relationship - does it seem
smooth? How does the nature of their relationship affect Callie''s
grief process after Betsy''s death?
10. What is your prognosis for Callie and Billy''s marriage? Do
you think Callie will change as a result of her postpartum
11. (spoiler) How culpable is Anthony in Betsy's death?
In the end, how does it affect the reader''s experience of the
novel and understanding of the characters to know or not know for
12. (spoiler) How do you feel about Anthony and
Marcella''s decision not to tell Jed what they know? At the close
of the book, do you think they will keep their secret? Why or why
not? What might happen either way?