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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Missing Pieces

Click here for the comprehensive, publisher's Book Club Discussion Guide.


1. Which character do you believe changed the most throughout the story? How did they evolve? Was it for the better or worse?

2. What are your feelings about the character of Jack? Can you empathize with his desire to distance himself from his past? Should he share more with Sarah?

3. The setting is almost a character in itself. Would this story work in a town or city larger than Penny Gate? How does Lydia and Jack’s old house act as a character?

4. The relationships depicted in this story are dynamic and complex. Which relationship did you find to be the strongest? The weakest? Which changed the most throughout the story?

5. The supporting characters play important roles in plot development. Which of these characters would you like to know more about?


6. A great mystery is able to shift suspicion throughout the story. Who did you suspect was behind Julia’s death along the way?

7. How does the title MISSING PIECES relate to the overall plot? Do you like the title? Would you pick an alternative title?

8. Did you anticipate the ending? What clues did the author leave along the way?


9. The author chose to make the main character an advice columnist. How did Sarah’s alter ego of Dear Astrid aid the story and its development?

10. The writing style of MISSING PIECES differs from Heather Gudenkauf’s other books in that it is written in a third person, singular point of view. Her other books contain multiple points of view from various main characters. What does the reader gain from this single, all-knowing point of view? How would the story have changed if it were written in the style of Heather’s other books?


11. What role do secrets play in the story? Are we entitled to our secrets? If you share a life with someone, are you allowed secrets and to keep your past in the past?

12. Discuss the theme of the past as it is used in MISSING PIECES. Do you believe a person’s past defines and shapes their present and future? What about the character’s in this story?

13. Discuss the symbolism of including the “Three Blind Mice” nursery rhyme. Why do you think the author chose this nursery rhyme over others?

14. The nature of the small town is a recurring theme throughout MISSING PIECES. Everyone in Penny Gate knows Jack, his family and his past. What is the significance of seeing the story unfold through Sarah’s uniformed perspective?

15. What other themes and symbols did you notice throughout the book?

Missing Pieces
by Heather Gudenkauf

  • Publication Date: August 9, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Mira
  • ISBN-10: 0778319318
  • ISBN-13: 9780778319313