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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Cloud Nine

1. Discuss the novel’s title. What did Sarah hope to give the customers of her bedding shop? How does the world look to her from the sky, with Will piloting? Where do you find your perfect bliss? Which people in your life help you attain it?

2. How does Sarah approach her illness? What gives her the courage to be optimistic during her recovery? What can she teach everyone who faces a daunting challenge?

3. How does Susan cope with the loss of Fred? What is reflected in her wish to change her name, and in the rage she sometimes expresses in front of her parents?

4. How was Sarah affected by the death of her mother? Is George’s response to grief typical of most spouses? Why does Mike feel more comfortable being with George than with Sarah?

5. Discuss Will’s ex-wife, Alice, and her newfound wealth with Julian. What is missing from her life, despite the financial success? Were she and Will ever a good match?

6. What does Mike need in order to feel secure in the world? How did your opinion of him shift throughout the novel?

7. Why were Will and Sarah drawn to each other so quickly? How do they forge common ground between her past and his–including his history with the navy, and the loss of parents?

8. How is Sarah changed by being reawakened sexually? How did illness and recovery influence her perception of her body?

9. Many of the novel’s characters grapple with the question of why bad things happen to good people. What approaches have you seen to tragedies such as the ones that unfold in Cloud Nine?

10. How has Sarah’s relationship with her family changed by the novel’s closing chapters? What kinds of homecoming experiences did she have? How did the Talbot’s Thanksgiving gathering compare to yours?

11. Why is it important for Will to marry Sarah? What pain from the past is washed away in that moment?

12. How did you react to the novel’s epilogue? What legacy is left for Susan, and for all of the novel’s characters?

13. Luanne Rice often draws on the unique landscape of New England in crafting her novels. What makes the setting of Cloud Nine appropriate for the characters’ lives? What are the beauties and shortcomings of Elk Island and its remote location?

14. In what ways does Cloud Nine underscore the wisdom of love that is evident in each of Luanne Rice’s novels? How does this novel offer a new definition of a happy ending?


Cloud Nine
by Luanne Rice

  • Publication Date: August 26, 2008
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam
  • ISBN-10: 0553385844
  • ISBN-13: 9780553385847