From the Heart of Covington
by Joan Medlicott
St. Martin's Press
With Southern hospitality, Joan Medlicott has welcomed the world into the lives of Grace, Hannah, and Amelia, three widows sharing a house, a garden, and some amazing recipes in the little town of Covington. Through their love, commitment, and laughter, the ladies of Covington have come to represent the beauty of friendship.
In their white farmhouse, Hannah, Grace, and Amelia try to surround themselves with love, friendship, and hope. But their joy screeches to a sudden halt when they discover that their neighbor and friend Harold is very ill. Trouble strikes again when Hannah's daughter is involved in a tragic car accident that has serious consequences for all concerned.
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1. What are some of the commonalities that bond Grace, Hannah, and Amelia, who have such disparate personalities, backgrounds, and experiences?
2. The issue of love versus commitment to friendship and a lifestyle recurs in Medlicott's novels. Bob is always trying to talk Grace into moving in with him, preferably marrying him. Do you think Grace should do this? Why or why not?
3. Does the manner in which Hannah and her daughter bridge the gap between them satisfy you? In your opinion was it too soon, too abrupt? Timed just right? How would you have handled this situation?
4. Grace denies having diabetes. Is her reaction typical, do you think? How would you have preferred to see her handle this?
5. How did you respond to the process of growth and change that takes place in Amelia? Have your feelings about Amelia changed? Why?
6. Did it surprise you that Amelia and Laura became close friends?
7. How important are the friendships of women to you?
8. What in this novel saddened you? What inspired you?
9. Are you surprised that Hannah would entertain romantic thoughts about Max? What, if anything, concerns you about this?
10. How does creating and working on "the gardens" bring everything closer together?
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"The ladies of Covington sow seeds of courage and community that bloom throughout this small mountain town and deep in the heart of every reader."
Lynne Hinton, author of Friendship Cake
"Ms. Medlicott is attuned to the nuances of Southern life and draws her characters with affectionate understanding....and an inspiring message of self-acceptance, courage, and survival."
The Dallas Morning News
"A satisfying, warmhearted look at friendship that endures."
Sandra Dallas, author of Alice's Tulips
"A must read for women of all ages."
The Tampa Tribune