Crow Lake

by Mary Lawson

Knopf Canada | March 18, 2003 | Trade Paperback

Crow Lake is rated 4.3333 out of 5 by 30.
Mary Lawson''s debut novel is a shimmering tale of love, death and redemption set in a rural northern community where time has stood still. Tragic, funny and unforgettable, this deceptively simple masterpiece about the perils of hero worship leapt to the top of the bestseller lists only days after being released in Canada and earned glowing reviews in The New York Times and The Globe and Mail, to name a few. It will be published in more than a dozen countries worldwide, including the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Italy and Bulgaria.

Luke, Matt, Kate and Bo Morrison are born in an Ontario farming community of only a few families, so isolated that “the road led only south.” There is little work, marriage choices are few, and the winter cold seeps into the bones of all who dare to live there. In the Morrisons’ hard-working, Presbyterian house, the Eleventh Commandment is “Thou Shalt Not Emote.” But as descendants of a great-grandmother who “fixed a book rest to her spinning wheel so that she could read while she was spinning,” the Morrison children have some hope of getting off the land through the blessings of education. Luke, the eldest, is accepted at teachers college -- despite having struggle mightily through school -- but before he can enroll, the Morrison parents are killed in a collision with a logging truck. He gives up his place to stay home and raise his younger sisters -- seven-year-old Kate, and Bo, still a baby.

In this family bound together by loss, the closest relationship is that between Kate and her older brother Matt, who love to wander off to the ponds together and lie on the bank, noses to the water. Matt teaches his little sister to watch “damselflies performing their delicate iridescent dances,” to understand how water beetles “carry down an air bubble with them when they submerge.” The life in the pond is one that seems to go on forever, in contrast to the abbreviated lives of the Morrison parents. Matt becomes Kate’s hero and her guide, as his passionate interest in the natural world sparks an equal passion in Kate.

Matt, a true scholar, is expected to fulfill the family dream by becoming the first Morrison to earn a university degree. But a dramatic event changes his course, and he ends up a farmer; so it is Kate who eventually earns the doctorate and university teaching position. She is never able to reconcile her success with what she considers the tragedy of Matt’s failure, and she feels a terrible guilt over the sacrifices made for her. Now a successful biologist in her twenties, she nervously returns home with her partner, a microbiologist from an academic family, to celebrate Matt’s son’s birthday. Amid the clash of cultures, Kate takes us in and out of her troubled childhood memories. Accustomed to dissecting organisms under a microscope, she must now analyze her own emotional life. She is still in turmoil over the events of one fateful year when the tragedy of another local family spilled over into her own. There are things she cannot understand or forgive.

In this universal drama of family love and misunderstandings, Lawson ratchets up the tension, her narrative flowing with consummate control in ever-increasing circles, overturning one’s expectations to the end. Compared by Publishers Weekly to Richard Ford for her lyrical, evocative writing, Lawson combines deeply drawn characters, beautiful writing and a powerful description of the land.

Format: Trade Paperback

Published: March 18, 2003

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0676974805

ISBN - 13: 9780676974805

Found in: Fiction and Literature
This beautifully written, intricately woven novel is an oft-told yet engrossing story about family, that at the same time, makes us question if we are enjoying and building our family relationships as well as we might as adults.

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Read But Didn't Completely Wow Me This book was recommended by a friend, and while I did enjoy it and it was well written with great character development, it didn't completely "wow" me in the sense that I did not want to put it down. The character development was great and tragedy that unfolds is described well, but I sometimes found that the lesson at the end could have been reached much faster. It was a great depiction of a very small town in a rural area north of a big urban city and how personalities can change yet stay the same notwithstanding such a drastic change of environment. It's worth the read.
Date published: 2015-04-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read Really enjoyed this read. Well written, moving and nice to read something in a familiar locale.
Date published: 2012-01-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from smooth read.... borrowed this book from my bf's mom (she has a hundreds of great novels) and she highly highly recommended this one. i decided to read it for sure, since she recommended "the glass castle" and i was in love. crow lake was interesting and easy for me to relate because I'm Canadian. Although to be honest I'm a city girl and never heard of Crow Lake. It is 20 hours or more from the GTA. Novel descriptive but not over board. Lawson gave you enough so you could picture this isolated chilly small community/ township. I really enjoyed the character (Luke, Matt, Kate and Bo). Bo was my fave Lawson wrote her perfectly. She is adorable and I could see her perfectly. The same goes for the other characters you could relate and see their points easily. The siblings have a great relationship though filled with hardship, stress and frustration. The love is there! Not as good as I thought. My expectations were extremely high since finishing "the glass castle", but I still enjoyed this novel. Easy read, characters are likeable, some mystery, sadness and hope for the characters.
Date published: 2011-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Canadiana Mary Lawson's writing is never pretentious, but sophisticated in it's simplicity, her ability to weave a family tale is unmatched, and Crow Lake is no exception. You really get inside her characters heads and hearts, and there is no better place to be. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2011-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good canadian book :) I read this book a while back and remember really liking it. The story was well thought out and it was original and refreshing. I suggest this book especially for Canadians cause it takes place in Canada and how many books do that :P
Date published: 2009-02-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Wasn't Bad I did enjoy reading this book and it was a very interesting story. However I didn’t really connect with the book or any of the characters, it was just a good read.
Date published: 2009-02-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved the setting :) I really enjoyed this novel and especially the setting. All of the references to Northern Ontario are great. Being a northern gal myself, I especially appreciated the "Barrie is not Northern Ontario!" comment - one I've had to say many times in my own life. Mary Lawson's flowing descriptions of Crow Lake presents the reader with an accurate visual of the tiny isolated towns of Northern Ontario and many of the challenges their residents face. This was a nice easy read that anyone can enjoy. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed with the ending - I had hoped for a little more dialogue between Matt and Kate at the end of the story.
Date published: 2008-06-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Touching This is a deep, touching novel about a young family shattered by tragedy. The children are resilient and the community is as supportive as can be expected. Matt is quite a special young man and you do share some of Kate's disappointment as things turn out the way they do. People will always disappoint, but Kate eventually comes to accept her brother and his situation, and, in some sense, to regain respect for him. It was nice that it was set in Northern Ontario and all the Canadianisms weren't removed to make it more marketable to Americans.
Date published: 2008-02-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent afternoon reading This book is wonderful for sleepy afternoons on the couch or the deck. It flows beautifully, with little effort required to read it. It would make a great gift, since most people will like it. Probably not a good pick for the true action lover, though, since this book is about family relations and identity (no gun chases or explosions).
Date published: 2008-01-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great story This is a story about a young woman, Kate Morrison, who has to come to grips with past events in order to move forward especially in her present relationship with a young man. She must deal with the car accident in which her parents are killed, her brothers who sacrifice so much in order to keep the family together, and the violence of neighbours. It is a book that is hard to put down once started. This story is probably a hit with book club readers.
Date published: 2008-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Engrossing Story About Family This beautifully written, intricately woven novel is an oft-told yet engrossing story about family, that at the same time, makes us question if we are enjoying and building our family relationships as well as we might as adults.
Date published: 2007-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book. Beautiful, smart, heartbreaking, funny, hopeful. So very good!
Date published: 2007-08-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Refreshing, well written, snippets of truth My stomach would knot at the perceptiveness this author has on family life, sacrifices made, love lost, friendships under fire and heartache. I felt like I was there apart of this family. I would love to read more of her books.
Date published: 2006-07-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Thought Provoking This book was very well written, full of irony, sadness, and mystery. It really puts life into perspective when you think about the hardships and sacrifices the characters had to make. I would recommend it to anyone who takes education for granted.
Date published: 2006-06-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Compelling and sad This book started slowly for me, then blossomed in to a story I could not wait to read, a family I could not help but fall in love with a sadness that so much hardship can prevent so much good from happening to those involved.
Date published: 2006-05-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Crow Lake This book was a fast read, I had a hard time putting it down because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I loved how it was set in a rural Northern Ontario setting. If you want a good tragedy seen through the eyes of a child, pick up this book.
Date published: 2005-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Emotional and beautiful I read this over six months ago and I still remember how it made me feel. It's gorgeous and emotional, and I couldn't put it down to save my life. A must-read.
Date published: 2004-10-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful This book was fantastic! Narrated beautifully and rich in descriptions and metaphors, it draws you in immediately. A must read.
Date published: 2004-05-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Value! Great Read! The characters are believable and you can really feel the family dynamics at play. It moves along slowly but manages to stay interesting.
Date published: 2004-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A lovely book! This is one of those rare books that come up once in awhile that you just fall in love with and can relate in one way or another. My father comes from northern Ontario and the way it's show in this book is really the way it is. I finished this in about a day and a half. The plot is interesting and you feel the connection between the characters.If you want an excellent read to pass some time, this is the one for you!
Date published: 2004-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful A spellbinding story of life in Northern Ontario. An easy read that brings one to realize the important values of life.
Date published: 2003-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from New Favorite! I read this book in an afternoon...I couldn't put it down! I am so disappointed to see that Mary Lawson doesn't have any other books written. Crow Lake has so many poignant passages, that I found myself reading some pages more than once. It is amazing to realize all of the different themes as you read, seeing how they all connect back to family. Crow Lake is at the top of my all-time favorite books!
Date published: 2003-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read! This is the first book in a while I have read that I just refused to put down. Lawson, portrays all the characters beautifully, with rich, interesting personalities. She has accurately described the landscape in Northern Ontario, and how isolated it can be from other parts of the province. This is a must read, coming from Northern Ontario I can say that she does justice to all who live, have lived there! Thanks Mary, I can't wait to read your next book!
Date published: 2003-05-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read I really enjoyed this book! I read it in two days. It is a story that anyone who has ever lost anyone can appreciate. Also, anyone who has ever made a life changing sacrifice will appreciate the story. Well-told story. Looking forward to her next book.
Date published: 2003-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely great read! This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. The reviews say it all and I know I'll be reading this one again.
Date published: 2003-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Crow Lake Crow Lake is a simply enchanting. Mary Lawson carefully constructed this piece to explore the many facets of the human psyche and emotions. It reaches deep into the reader's heart to uncover the fluctuating sentiments that are felt by the reader towards the touching characters. I have never been moved so much by reading a book.
Date published: 2003-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Read This is a beautifully written book that I could not put down until it was finished. Everyone in my book club enjoyed it!
Date published: 2002-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stays with you The last book I read took me over a month to finish - this one took me two days. It's beautifully written. Mary Lawson is incredibly talented and had me feeling like I was right there with the characters. Long after finishing it, lines from the book keep popping into my head. An absolute delight. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2002-10-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Crow Lake Fantastic book! I bought it yesterday morning and finished it last night. The story is beautifully written and the characters absorb you into their world, making you feel like you're in Crow Lake with them. One of the nicest books I've read in a long time. I highly recommend it.
Date published: 2002-08-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from It should have been a short story I found this novel to be totally disappointing. A perfect example of a small idea stretched out into a novel.
Date published: 2002-03-24

– More About This Product –

Crow Lake

by Mary Lawson

Format: Trade Paperback

Published: March 18, 2003

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0676974805

ISBN - 13: 9780676974805

Read from the Book

PROLOGUE My great-grandmother Morrison fixed a book rest to her spinning wheel so that she could read while she was spinning, or so the story goes. And one Saturday evening she became so absorbed in her book that when she looked up, she found that it was half past midnight and she had spun for half an hour on the Sabbath day. Back then, that counted as a major sin. I ’ m not recounting that little bit of family lore just for the sake of it. I ’ ve come to the conclusion recently that Great-Grandmother and her book rest have a lot to answer for. She ’ d been dead for decades by the time the events occurred that devastated our family and put an end to our dreams, but that doesn ’ t mean she had no influence over the final outcome. What took place between Matt and me can ’ t be explained without reference to Great-Grandmother. It ’ s only fair that some of the blame should be laid at her door. There was a picture of her in my parents ’ room while I was growing up. I used to stand in front of it, as a very small child, daring myself to meet her eyes. She was small, tight-lipped, and straight, dressed in black with a white lace collar (scrubbed ruthlessly, no doubt, every single evening and ironed before dawn each day). She looked severe, disapproving, and entirely without humor. And well she might; she had fourteen children in thirteen years and five hundred acres of barren farmland on the Gaspé Peninsula. How she found time to spin,
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From the Publisher

Mary Lawson''s debut novel is a shimmering tale of love, death and redemption set in a rural northern community where time has stood still. Tragic, funny and unforgettable, this deceptively simple masterpiece about the perils of hero worship leapt to the top of the bestseller lists only days after being released in Canada and earned glowing reviews in The New York Times and The Globe and Mail, to name a few. It will be published in more than a dozen countries worldwide, including the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Italy and Bulgaria.

Luke, Matt, Kate and Bo Morrison are born in an Ontario farming community of only a few families, so isolated that “the road led only south.” There is little work, marriage choices are few, and the winter cold seeps into the bones of all who dare to live there. In the Morrisons’ hard-working, Presbyterian house, the Eleventh Commandment is “Thou Shalt Not Emote.” But as descendants of a great-grandmother who “fixed a book rest to her spinning wheel so that she could read while she was spinning,” the Morrison children have some hope of getting off the land through the blessings of education. Luke, the eldest, is accepted at teachers college -- despite having struggle mightily through school -- but before he can enroll, the Morrison parents are killed in a collision with a logging truck. He gives up his place to stay home and raise his younger sisters -- seven-year-old Kate, and Bo, still a baby.

In this family bound together by loss, the closest relationship is that between Kate and her older brother Matt, who love to wander off to the ponds together and lie on the bank, noses to the water. Matt teaches his little sister to watch “damselflies performing their delicate iridescent dances,” to understand how water beetles “carry down an air bubble with them when they submerge.” The life in the pond is one that seems to go on forever, in contrast to the abbreviated lives of the Morrison parents. Matt becomes Kate’s hero and her guide, as his passionate interest in the natural world sparks an equal passion in Kate.

Matt, a true scholar, is expected to fulfill the family dream by becoming the first Morrison to earn a university degree. But a dramatic event changes his course, and he ends up a farmer; so it is Kate who eventually earns the doctorate and university teaching position. She is never able to reconcile her success with what she considers the tragedy of Matt’s failure, and she feels a terrible guilt over the sacrifices made for her. Now a successful biologist in her twenties, she nervously returns home with her partner, a microbiologist from an academic family, to celebrate Matt’s son’s birthday. Amid the clash of cultures, Kate takes us in and out of her troubled childhood memories. Accustomed to dissecting organisms under a microscope, she must now analyze her own emotional life. She is still in turmoil over the events of one fateful year when the tragedy of another local family spilled over into her own. There are things she cannot understand or forgive.

In this universal drama of family love and misunderstandings, Lawson ratchets up the tension, her narrative flowing with consummate control in ever-increasing circles, overturning one’s expectations to the end. Compared by Publishers Weekly to Richard Ford for her lyrical, evocative writing, Lawson combines deeply drawn characters, beautiful writing and a powerful description of the land.

From the Jacket

“Crow Lake is a remarkable novel, utterly gripping and yet highly literate. I read it in a single sitting, then I read it again, just for pleasure. I await her next work with eagerness (and a little envy).”
— Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat

“I didn’t read Crow Lake so much as I fell in love with it. This is one beautiful book.”
— David Macfarlane, author of Summer Gone

"A finely crafted debut ... conveys an astonishing intensity of emotion, almost Proustian in its sense of loss and regret."
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Beautifully written, carefully balanced, Mary Lawson constructs a history of sacrifice, emotional isolation and family love without sounding a false note.” -- Daily Mail (London)

“A lot of readers are going to surrender themselves to the magic of Crow Lake.”
— The Globe and Mail

“The best [first novel for 2002] that I have read so far…compulsively readable.”
— Sandra Martin, The Globe and Mail (Dec. 27, 2001)

“Crow Lake…is a spellbinding story…a marvelous story….The bitter land and climate of Northern Ontario are like characters in this story of four orphaned children struggling to stay together as a family….The language is subtle but beautiful. The reader is drawn into the lives of the characters…. The prospects for success are endless.”
—W.P. Kinsella, First Novels

“Crow Lake mesmerizes. … Crow Lake may be one of the loveliest novels you almost ever read.”
— The Telegram

“
Crow Lake [is] superb, elegant…. Lawson is a brilliant storyteller; she takes her time in laying the foundation of her tale and layering on the complexities. She’s also an elegant stylist; her prose is lyrically thoughtful…. The depth, honesty and feeling throughout are superbly wrought. Crow Lake is a wondrous thing -- it’s a new Canadian classic.”
— The Hamilton Spectator

“The assurance with which Mary Lawson handles both reflection and violence makes her a writer to read and watch….. Peripheral portraits are skillfully drawn. Pot-banging Bo, with her minimal vocabulary of mostly shouted words, speaks to the heart without a scrap of sentimentality. The combative Cranes, unusual among fictional academics, are funny without being ridiculous and square off over the tablecloth with intelligence intact…. Most impressive are the nuanced and un-self-conscious zoological metaphors that thread through the text.”
— The New York Times

“Lawson delivers a potent combination of powerful character writing and gorgeous description of the land. Her sense of pace and timing is impeccable throughout, and she uses dangerous winter weather brilliantly to increase the tension as the family battles to survive. This is a vibrant, resonant novel by a talented writer whose lyrical evocative writing invites comparisons to Rick Bass and Richard Ford.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Beautifully written, carefully balanced, Mary Lawson constructs a history of sacrifice, emotional isolation and family love without sounding a false note or a showy sentence."
— Elizabeth Buchan, Daily Mail (UK)

“Crow Lake: deep, clear and teeming with life. A lot of readers are going to surrender themselves to the magic of Crow Lake...So have I. Within days, you'll see people reading Crow Lake in odd places as they take quick breaks from the business of their lives. You'll also hear people say, ‘I stayed up all night reading this book by Mary Lawson.’ Mary Lawson, Mary Lawson. Remember the name…. Kate Morrison’s voice overturns convention and makes everything fresher, larger, livelier than it first appears…. She is very special. So is Crow Lake…. This is the real thing.”
—Terry Rigelhof, The Globe and Mail

"Every detail in this beautifully written novel rings true, the characters so solid we almost feel their flesh. Bo must be one of the most vividly realized infants in recent literature. Lawson creates a community without ever giving in to the Leacockian impulse to poke fun at small-town ways, instead showing respect to lives shaped by hard work and starved for physical comfort. The adult Kate’s alienation from Crow Lake is initially difficult to accept, for everything in Kate’s life, including her career in science, reflects the values of her formative years on the farm. Soon, though, her crippling guilt becomes the mystery that draws the reader on."
— Maureen Garvie, Quill & Quire starred review

“Lawson's narrative flows effortlessly in ever-increasing circles, swirling impressions in the reader's mind until form takes shape and the reader is left to reflect on the whole. Crow Lake is a wonderful achievement that will ripple in and out the reader's consciousness long after the last page is turned.”
— Amazon.co.uk

“Critics are raving about…Crow Lake, a tightly plotted page-turner about sibling love, murder, and invertebrate zoology in rural Ontario, set in the 1950s and ‘60s."
— Judy Stoffman, The Toronto Star

"Lawson achieves a breathless anticipatory quality in her surprisingly adept first novel, in which a child tells the story, but tells it very well indeed.”
— Danise Hoover, Booklist

About the Author

Mary Lawson was born and brought up in a farming community in southwestern Ontario. A distant relative of L. M. Montgomery (author of Anne of Green Gables ), she moved to England in 1968, and now lives with her husband in Surrey. She returns to Canada every year. Asked on CBC’s This Morning what she misses most about Canada, she says without hesitation that it’s the rocks of the Canadian Shield. England has rocks, she says, but they are not smooth and rounded and “whale-like.” Lawson is a firm believer in the strength of the influences we receive as children, a theme explored in the book. Lawson’s father was a research chemist for an oil company in Sarnia, Ontario, and the family lived in Blackwell, which was then a small farming community -- though not nearly as remote as that of Crow Lake -- and spent summers at a cottage up north. She studied psychology at McGill University in Montreal in the mid-sixties, and says that Montreal was an eye-opening experience after growing up in Blackwell. “We had the radio, but we had no television, and relative to what kids know today … they are just so much more knowledgeable than we were.” She graduated in 1968 and went to England, finding work in a steel-industry research lab in London, which is where she met her husband, Richard. Published under the “New Face of Fiction” program at age 55, Lawson calls herself a “late starter,” though she began writing when her son
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From Our Editors

In this universal drama of family love and misunderstandings, Lawson ratchets up the tension with heartbreaking humor and consummate control.

Editorial Reviews

“ Crow Lake is a remarkable novel, utterly gripping and yet highly literate. I read it in a single sitting, then I read it again, just for pleasure. I await her next work with eagerness (and a little envy).” — Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat “I didn’t read Crow Lake so much as I fell in love with it. This is one beautiful book.” — David Macfarlane, author of Summer Gone "A finely crafted debut ... conveys an astonishing intensity of emotion, almost Proustian in its sense of loss and regret." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “Beautifully written, carefully balanced, Mary Lawson constructs a history of sacrifice, emotional isolation and family love without sounding a false note.” -- Daily Mail (London) “A lot of readers are going to surrender themselves to the magic of Crow Lake .” — The Globe and Mail “The best [first novel for 2002] that I have read so far…compulsively readable.” — Sandra Martin, The Globe and Mail (Dec. 27, 2001) “ Crow Lake …is a spellbinding story…a marvelous story….The bitter land and climate of Northern Ontario are like characters in this story of four orphaned children struggling to stay together as a family….The language is subtle but beautiful. The reader is drawn into the lives of the characters…. The prospects for success are endless.” —W.P. Kinsella, First Novels “ Crow Lake mesmeri
read more read less

Bookclub Guide

1. Kate says that “understatement was the rule in our house. Emotions, even positive ones, were kept firmly under control.” How would you say that this “rule” affected each member of the Morrison family? How did it influence their relationships with each other and with people outside their family? What are some examples?

2. For the first few weeks following the death of her parents, Kate believes that she was “protected from the reality by disbelief.” How did she carry this defense mechanism with her throughout her childhood and into adulthood? What are some examples?

3. How do you imagine things would have turned out if the children had been separated, as Aunt Annie had arranged? How do you think it would have benefited and/or impeded their growth as individuals and as a family?

4. Guilt is an ongoing theme throughout the book. How did this feeling affect the children’s relationships and the choices they made immediately following the death of their parents? How did it affect their adult lives? Who would you say was most stricken with this feeling?

5. Why do you suppose Kate and Matt were bonded together so strongly? What about Bo and Luke?

6. When you think of a conventional family, stereotypical images come to mind. How does each of the four Morrison children fit in that image? Which child took on which traditional family role? What are some examples?

7. Given the chance to attend university, what choices do you think Matt would have made? Do you think he would have returned to Crow Lake? Why or why not?

8. Matt sees problems clearly and is realistic about solving them, whereas Luke is content to wait for things to work themselves out. Given the situation they were in, what were the advantages and disadvantages of each frame of thinking?

9. Great-grandmother Morrison’s love of learning set the standard against which Kate judged everyone around her. Do you think Great-grandmother Morrison would have approved of Kate’s disappointment in Matt? Why?

10. The Crow Lake community opened its arms wide to the Morrison children after their parents were killed. How does this generosity conflict with the community’s collective reaction to Laurie Pye’s disappearance? Why is this?

11. Miss Vernon’s stories about the history of Crow Lake suggest that some patterns can never be broken. How is this true and/or false for the Pyes and Morrisons?

12. What do the ponds symbolize in this book? What do they represent to Kate and Matt especially?

13. Was Matt doomed to let Kate down in some way? Do you think it’s possible for any young man to live up to such heroic expectations? Why?

14. What do you imagine happens between Kate and Daniel after the book ends?

15. Do you think Kate’s resentment and distaste toward Marie will lessen as she rebuilds her relationship with Matt?

16. What could Kate learn from Matt to make herself a better teacher? Do you think she will enjoy teaching more when she returns from Simon’s birthday party?

17. We are meant to assume that Luke and Miss Carrington develop a romantic relationship at the end of the book. Do you think they are compatible? Why or why not? What are some examples?

18. Kate and Mrs. Stanovich are complete opposites when it comes to dealing with tragedy and hardship. What do you think each woman could learn from the other?

19. Daniel believes that Kate is incapable of empathy. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

20. What do you think would have become of Luke had his parents not been killed?

21. As a consequence of the events of her childhood, Kate is a rather judgmental, withdrawn young woman. Nevertheless, Daniel falls in love with her. What do you think he sees in her, under her protective shell?