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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The Art Of Keeping Secrets

1. Did you enjoy The Art of Keeping Secrets? What parts did you like best? Least? What do you consider the strongest aspects of the novel? The weakest?

2. Annabelle struggles to believe in her husband’s love, but he’s not there to talk to. Are there people in your life, dead or merely gone, with whom you wish you could discuss their true feelings about some past event?

3. Like Annabelle, have you ever faced a situation in which something fundamental about your life suddenly seemed uncertain? Were you able to keep on believing? Why or why not?

4. Do you think most married women worry and wonder whether their husbands have remained faithful? If so, why do you think that is? Do men worry about their wives in the same way?

5. How does Patti Callahan Henry use the gathering of shells in this novel? Do you have a ritual in your own life that has helped you through a hard time?

6. Annabelle and her best friends come to the conclusion that “we all have our secrets.” Do you agree? Do you think we keep secret parts of ourselves from even those we love most? Do you think Knox should have told Annabelle about Liddy and Sofie?

7. Have you lost someone and then discovered something eye-opening --- even shocking --- about them after they were gone?

8. Mrs. Thurgood tells Annabelle that it’s not about what the reader needs to hear, but what the reader wants to hear. Do you think people who ask for advice want the truth, or to hear their own preconceptions reaffirmed?

9. Liddy and Shawn both talk about the agony of loving someone who doesn’t return the feeling. Have you ever loved someone who didn’t love you back? How did you handle it?

10. If you were Sofie, would you tell Annabelle and Jake everything as soon as they arrive in Newboro? Is Sofie justified in keeping her secrets for as long as she does?

11. Why do you think Sofie was attracted to Bedford? Why does she stay with him?

12. Which is your favorite novel by Patti Callahan Henry, and why?

The Art Of Keeping Secrets
by Patti Callahan Henry

  • Publication Date: June 3, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade
  • ISBN-10: 0451223950
  • ISBN-13: 9780451223951