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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The House on Biscayne Bay

1. THE HOUSE ON BISCAYNE BAY alternates between Anna’s life in 1918 and Carmen’s life in 1941. Which heroine did you identify with more --- Anna or Carmen? What characteristics in their personalities did you relate to? What differences? How do they grow and change throughout the novel?

2. The novel focuses on Anna’s marriage to her husband, Robert. The reader sees both the joy and heartbreak in their relationship. How does their marriage evolve throughout the story? What do you think about the decisions they made? How do Anna’s views on her marriage change throughout the book?

3. Both Carolina and Anna are heavily influenced by their marriages. What parallels do you see between their experiences? What differences?

4. Carmen and her sister, Carolina, have a fraught relationship. Which sister did you identify with more? How did their past family dynamics influence their present interactions? Did you relate to their struggles?

5. When Anna first arrives at Marbrisa, she’s a fish out of water in an unfamiliar setting. Can you relate to her experience? If you experienced something similar, how did it affect you?

6. The book begins with Anna’s sentiment, “I cannot for the life of me imagine why anyone would want to live in Florida.” Have you been to Florida before or have you lived there? What are your impressions of the state?

7. The construction of Marbrisa harkens back to a time when grand houses were being built in Florida. Have you ever toured such estates? What did you think of them? How did you envision the lives of people who lived there?

8. Marbrisa’s architect, Michael Harrison, states: “I like to think of the houses I build as having their own personalities.” Do you agree with him? Why or why not? How do you think Marbrisa’s personality shines through in the novel?

9. How does the novel’s setting influence the book? What examples of this do you see?

10. THE HOUSE ON BISCAYNE BAY features many of the hallmarks of a Gothic novel. What are some of your favorite Gothic novels? What do you enjoy about the genre?

11. Some of the characters suggest that Marbrisa might be haunted. Do you believe in ghosts? Have you had any experiences that influenced your belief?

The House on Biscayne Bay
by Chanel Cleeton