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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The Golden Doves

1. Historical fiction, which often weaves real-life figures into the narrative, can deepen a reader’s interest in a subject. Did you look up any names or topics while reading THE GOLDEN DOVES? Which ones, and why?

2. How much did you know about the Nazi Occupation of Paris before reading THE GOLDEN DOVES? What did you learn?

3. Discuss Operation Paperclip, the secret intelligence program in the United States that recruited more than a thousand scientists, engineers and technicians from Nazi Germany. Was such a plan justified, or were ethical lines crossed? What were the ramifications?

4. Martha Hall Kelly is an expert at writing parallel storylines and weaving them together. What about Josie and Arlette’s arcs did you find most compelling?

5. How do you think Arlette’s grief box helped her deal with her missing son, Willie?

6. When the young women first meet, Josie notes that Arlette is “perhaps my complete opposite.... While my French mother was more bohemian in her taste, Arlette understood haute couture.” Which style best represents you, and why?

7. “Out in the field, it’s safer to blend in as French. So learn to move like a European.” Based on your reading of THE GOLDEN DOVES, what qualities did a person need to have in order to work in the Resistance, to be an undercover agent, during World War II?

8. During the occupation of Paris, Josie’s grandmother Mimi laments the Nazi propaganda. “Truth and trust are gone. Replaced with fear, and hatred.” How does this further the aim of Fascist regimes?

9. Was what happened to Arlette’s aunt justified? How or why do you think she became an ardent supporter of Hitler?

10. What were your first impressions of Camp Hope once Arlette arrived in French Guiana?

11. How did you feel about the proposal at the Hope Home gala? A nice surprise or a shocking ambush? Did Arlette make the right choice?

12. Which parts of the novel were most tense, most suspenseful?

13. Did you suspect who Snow was before his identify was revealed? Share your thought process.

14. Were you satisfied with the book’s ending? What kind of futures do you imagine for Arlette and Josie beyond the chapters of this book?

15. Did you read the “Author’s Note” at the end of the novel? Discuss its significance in relation to the narrative. What do you think inspired Martha Hall Kelly to tell this story?

16. If THE GOLDEN DOVES were made into a movie, who would you cast in the roles of Josie and Arlette, and why?

The Golden Doves
by Martha Hall Kelly