Questions for Discussion
1. Why does Lainie stay with Charles and not resist the move out of the city to Elliot, New Jersey?
2. Did you understand how trapped Lainie felt despite the fact that her life was one that many women would appreciate?
3. A theme of the novel is the mother/daughter bond. Why does Matilde feel so responsible to Lainie?
4. Another theme is loyalty—to oneself, to one’s children, to one’s spouse. How would you have dealt with each of these scenarios?
5. What are your thoughts about the notion of unexpectedly falling in love—of eros taking over your life—although you are married or in a committed relationship?
6. Do you believe that Charles understands Lainie and is able to see her in the same light that Matilde sees her?
7. Had the Morris family not made the move to Elliot, would they have remained intact?
8. What is your opinion of Charles as a husband and father?
9. Mrs. Higgins comes into the story too late to be a savior, yet she surely tries. How do you view this character?
10. Were you surprised to learn Jess’ secret? How do you think Lainie and Charles affected her decision?
11. Discuss Lainie and Jess’s complicated friendship. How is it possible that they care about each other, judge each other and ultimately free each other?
12. The end is left to the reader’s perception. What do you believe happens?