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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Playing the Witch Card

1. This book explores themes of family and legacy. Flair is often known as “Marie’s granddaughter” or “Cynthia’s girl.” Which identities have you inherited from your family, and what do they mean to you?

2. If you were to take over the line of work or the daily routine your grandmother was doing at your age, what would that be and how well would you accomplish it?

3. To what extent does believing in magic affect one’s powers? Do you think Flair could summon up magic if she continued not to believe in it? How is magic a metaphor for female confidence?

4. The women in Rattleboro clearly believe magic is limited to other women. At one point, Josie suggests it’s because men don’t need magic. But in the final scenes of the book, Jude is showing signs of discovering his own powers. How do you think his having magic will affect his relationship with Flair and with Renee?

5. Magic is often pitted against stability in Flair’s mind. Did you think that these concepts were at odds at the beginning of the novel? Did your opinion change as you read further?

6. Why do you think Cynthia named her daughter “Flair”?

7. Multiple generations of mothers and daughters are shown in this novel. Compare these mother-daughter relationships: Marie and Cynthia, Cynthia and Flair, and Flair and Lucie. How do they contrast and inform one another?

8. Flair tragically underestimates Lucie at points in the novel. How might she have handled Lucie’s tarot education differently? How do you think that would have affected the outcome of the book?

9. Who did you think was the primary antagonist of this novel at first? Did your opinion change as the story progressed?

10. There are very few men of import in Rattleboro, by design. How does this change the roles of the women running the town? Can you imagine the way your town would change under such matriarchal power?

11. Have you ever had your tarot cards read? Would you? Did this story affect your answer? Do you think we each have a fate or destiny that could be “read in the cards”? Or do we control our own stories?

12. The book’s dedication asserts that the all-important question is: “Are you a witch or not?” Having read the book, what do you think “being a witch” means in the context of the story? More important, are you a witch?

Playing the Witch Card
by KJ Dell’Antonia

  • Publication Date: September 12, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 0593713796
  • ISBN-13: 9780593713792