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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Lost Roses

1. You meet three very different heroines in LOST ROSES: Eliza, Sofya and Varinka. With whom did you most identify and why?

2. Mother-daughter relationships play a vital role in LOST ROSES. How did these relationships impact Eliza, Sofya and Varinka’s lives? Compare Eliza’s mother to Varinka’s. Were they both good mothers? In what ways? How did Sofya’s stepmother, Agnessa, affect Sofya and Luba emotionally? How did their mother’s legacy play a continuing role in their lives?

3. Caroline Ferriday, the protagonist of LILAC GIRLS, is a teenager in LOST ROSES. Eliza’s real-life relationship with her daughter Caroline evolves over the course of the book. What did you like/not like about their portrayal?

4. Luba, whose name symbolizes love, is a key character in LOST ROSES. Did you feel she was an important character in the story? What do you think of the author’s decision to open and close the novel with Luba’s voice?

5. Sofya had to make some impossible choices in the novel --- choosing to leave her family, and then her child, in order to try to save them. How did you feel about her decisions? Did you agree with them? Why or why not?

6. Varinka and Taras have a complicated relationship. Did you find it compelling? Do you believe she loved Max? Why or why not? Were you shocked by the twist in her ending?

7. How did you feel when Eliza had a second chance to experience love with Merrill? Did you believe in their friendship and then love affair?

8. Were you satisfied with Sofya and Cook’s reunion? How do you imagine their relationship evolved after the novel ended?

9. Is there a particular scene in LOST ROSES that has stayed with you? What will you remember most about this novel?

10. Did you learn new things about this period in history? Do you plan to read more --- fiction or nonfiction --- about the Russian Revolution?

Lost Roses
by Martha Hall Kelly