When Light Breaks
by Patti Callahan Henry
Garnering comparisons to Anne Rivers Siddons and Pat Conroy, Patti Callahan Henry has woven her lyrical Southern voice throughout the Lowcountry landscape. Now as tow women from opposite sides of the sea meet, a tale unfolds that will draw you into the heart’s remembrances and the compelling power of story.
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1. What do you think the title means?
2. Maeve asks Kara to consider whether she would live her life differently if she knew her first love would return to her. Was there a first love in your own life, someone you waited for? Would you live your life differently if you knew that he (or she) would return for you?
3. Kara learns that her mother hoped her children would “listen to the hints of their hearts.” In your own life, are you listening to the hints of your heart? Do you agree that it’s important to do so?
4. Maeve tells Kara: “All our lives we must choose between what others define us to be and what we were meant to be…” Is that struggle being played out in your own life? Do you see it in the lives of family and friends?
5. Kara and Jack have an intense romance at very young ages—not quite fourteen—yet during the novel they discover that all these years later, their feelings for each other have endured. Do you think that children and/or young teenagers are capable of mature and sustainable romantic relationships?
6. Both Kara and Jack suffer as children from brokenness within their homes—Kara through her mother’s death and Jack through his father’s alcoholism. Discuss how those losses influence their relationship, both as teenagers and as adults.
7. Deirdre was fifteen years old and Kara just nine when their mother died. Discuss how the difference in their ages affected their experience of their mother’s death. How do you think Kara’s relationship with her sister will change in the future?
8. Why does Kara’s father, Porter, decide not to reveal to his children their mother’s dying wish that they “listen to the hints of their hearts”? Do you agree or disagree with his decision?
9. Although Maeve feels compelled to share her life story with Kara, she also asks Kara for help in answering one last question—what finally happened to Richard? Why do you think Maeve needs to know?
10. Describe the lives of each of the characters in the novel six months after it ends. What do you imagine will happen to them?
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“Henry doesn't disappoint in this beautiful novel of discovery and self-acceptance, a romance with universal appeal.”
STARRED BOOKLIST REVIEW
“She writes the kind of books the term "lyrical" was coined to describe, and WHEN LIGHT BREAKS is no exception…it is Southern Comfort, straight up, no twist.”
“Memorable and timeless” 4 _ stars
"WHEN LIGHT BREAKS is a passionate, unforgettable novel of self-discovery, regret and the illuminating power of love. Patti Callahan Henry's writing is as lush and magical as the lowcountry she loves. Once caught in the emotional currents of her story, you'll not be released until the last, satisfying page. "
Mary Alice Monroe,
NYT Bestseller of SWEETGRASS
"About all the things that make us worthy as human beings-integrity, honesty and living the life you were meant to live-a triumph."
Dorothea Benton Frank,
NYT Bestselling author of PAWLEYS ISLAND