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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The Invisible Hour

1. We first meet Mia in the prologue as she tries to escape The Community. How does the prologue set the tone for the rest of the story?

2. Ivy tells people she grew up “west of the moon.” Where does this phrase come from, and why do you think this is her response?

3. Joel proposes to Ivy very quickly upon her arrival at The Community. What drew him to her, and what were her motivations for accepting?

4. The relationship between Helen and Ivy feels similar to Mia’s with Sarah and Constance. How do they mirror each other? What, if any, are the major differences of these relationships?

5. Helen tells Mia that Ivy “should have had the choice to decide what to do with her own body and her own fate” (p. 99). The theme of choice is brought up throughout the story. Discuss the choices presented to Ivy when she found out she was pregnant (sent away, adoption, runaway, marriage to the father). How has this scenario changed or not over time?

6. How do the settings --- Boston, Concord, New York --- act as characters within the story?

7. Each female character has her own version of strength --- Ivy choosing to leave her home and start over, Constance and Sarah building their family and later dealing with loss, Elizabeth’s familial loyalty, and Mia rescuing herself. As the reader, do you relate to any of these women? If so, please discuss who and why.

8. Discuss Nathaniel’s need to be a writer even throughout his depressive episodes. Do you think writing brought him a sense of comfort or dread? How were his sisters integral to his success?

9. Elizabeth brings Mia to the Hill of Death (p. 167). What was her motivation to do so? Why is Elizabeth so skeptical of Mia? Where does her mistrust stem from?

10. Discuss Joel’s ultimate demise. How is he bested by women for the final time?

11. Why do you think Mia returned to Nathaniel’s time? What was she hoping to achieve?

12. How is Mia’s choice to raise her daughter alone similar to Ivy’s choice? Do you believe Mia learned from her mother’s mistakes?

The Invisible Hour
by Alice Hoffman

  • Publication Date: August 15, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • ISBN-10: 1982175370
  • ISBN-13: 9781982175375