Choices of the Heart
by Laurie Alice Eakes
Esther Cherrett comes from a proud line of midwives and was trained by her mother to take over the family calling. But when a scandal threatens all she holds dear, Esther takes a position as a teacher in the western mountains of Virginia instead. There she finds herself in the midst of a deadly family feud and courted by two men on opposite sides of the conflict. When it seems as though her past has followed her all the way into the mountains, all she wants is to run away again.
In this gripping story of trust, deception, and bittersweet loss, a young woman learns the true meaning of choices of the heart.
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1. At the beginning of the story, Esther leaves home without telling her parents where she is going. How would you feel if your son or daughter took this drastic step?
2. Though Esther thinks her actions are justified, how do you think she might have managed her need to leave in a less harsh way?
3. Why do you think Bethann wants to convince Griff that Zach is the person who attacked him?
4. If Esther is trying to leave her past behind her, why does she reach out to Hannah and Bethann when they have medical needs? What would you have done in a similar situation?
5. How does Griff first break his vow to Zach about leaving Esther for Zach to court? What do you think of making vows and the consequences of doing so?
6. How can Esther reconcile her need to be a good example of feminine conduct with her desire to disguise her beauty?
7. What do you think Esther is truly running away from?
8. How could Griff have embraced his love for Esther and still honor his vow to keep peace between the two families? Do you think perhaps he would have had to either give up Esther or give up his vow? Which commitment do you think is most important, and why?
9. What do you think Griff could have done differently to keep his sister from taking the course of action that she chose for her life?
10. Who is the true villain of the story, and why? How could this person or these persons have been redeemed?
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