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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions


1. Can you relate to any of the family dynamics presented in the book? Does your family have experience keeping secrets for and from each other, and how has this affected your relationships?

2. The book switches between the past and present, from before and after Elise’s death, as well as between character perspectives. How did this structure impact your reading experience and your thoughts about each of the characters?

3. What character did you like/connect to the most? What characters did you want to hear more from? Suggested by Real Fake Book Club (New York, NY)

4. How did your opinions of each member of the Joseph family change throughout the novel?

5. In what ways were Elise and Marley alike? In what ways were they different? Suggested by Book Club (Amboy, IL)

6. The author often writes about strong women, forgiveness and loyalty in her work. Discuss how each character relates to these themes and what role the theme plays in their character development.

7. How does the novel’s setting play a role in the story?

8. Mick plans to take the truth behind Elise’s death to his grave. Do you think Mick played a role in Elise’s death?

9. At the end of the novel, the author reveals how Elise and Mick met and the early years of their marriage. Why do you think the author chose to include this chapter? Did this chapter change your feelings about Elise and Mick?

10. What do you think happens to the Joseph family after the book ends?

11. Each of the Joseph sons play a significant role in keeping their family together: Baylor the strong one, Waylon the responsible one, and Shay the baby. Marley also plays the roles of wife, mother and the one that got away to the Joseph brothers. By the end of the book, do you think Marley and the Josephs still play their respective roles, or have their roles changed?

by Amy Jo Burns

  • Publication Date: January 2, 2024
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Celadon Books
  • ISBN-10: 1250908566
  • ISBN-13: 9781250908568