Reading Group Guide
It isn’t safe. That’s what Joe tells her when he ends their affair --- moments before their car skids off an icy road in a blinding snowstorm and hits a tree. Desperate to keep her life intact --- her job, her husband, and her precious daughter, Lily --- Dorrie will do everything she can to protect herself, even if it means walking away from the wreckage. Dorrie has always been a good actress, pretending to be someone else: the dutiful daughter, the satisfied wife, the woman who can handle anything. Now she’s going to put on the most challenging performance of her life. But details about the accident leave her feeling uneasy and afraid. Why didn’t Joe’s airbag work? Why was his car door open before the EMTs arrived? And now suddenly someone is calling her from her dead lover’s burner phone….
Joe’s death has left his wife in free fall as well. Karen knew Joe was cheating --- she found some suspicious emails. Trying to cope with grief is devastating enough without the constant fear that has overtaken her --- this feeling she can’t shake that someone is watching her. And with Joe gone and the kids grown, she’s vulnerable…and on her own.
Insurance investigator Maggie Devlin is suspicious of the latest claim that’s landed on her desk --- a man dying on an icy road shortly after buying a lucrative life insurance policy. Maggie doesn’t believe in coincidences. The former cop knows that things --- and people --- are never what they seem to be.
As the fates of these three women become more tightly entwined, layers of lies and deception begin to peel away, pushing them dangerously to the edge…closer to each other…to a terrifying truth…to a shocking end.
Questions for Discussion
1. Does Dorrie believe she’s really seeing her mother’s ghost? What part does her mother play in Dorrie’s life and when does she appear?
2. How, if at all, do you think Karen’s childhood impacted her decision to stay in a less than desirable marriage?
3. Why did Maggie quit her job with the Boston Police Department? Why does she choose to take what she thinks is a fairly boring job?
4. What do you think Joe was about to tell Dorrie right before the accident?
5. How did Maggie change when she met Lucas? Why?
6. When Dorrie sees Karen on the train, how does her perception of the woman change?
7. How might Karen and Edward’s lives have been different if she’d married him instead of Joe?
8. Who wrote the notes? Why?
9. Passion is a catalyst throughout the book. Do you think it motivates the characters to act in ways they wouldn’t ordinarily act? If so, which characters? Which actions?
10. Can you empathize with Dorrie? With Karen? With Maggie? If so, why? If not, why?
11. Karen represses her feelings but Dorrie has more trouble doing this. Which, if either, do you think is healthier? Which woman do you identify with more?