Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. In the prologue Robin thinks, “All the rationalizations with which I’d built my house of cards shimmered before me.” Robin had several opportunities to tell Dean about Lark through the years, but each time chose against doing so. Do you believe the decisions Robin makes to keep her secret are justifiable? Honorable?
2. What are Robin’s flaws/strengths? How do these affect the story? How is Robin like or unlike women you know?
3. In what ways is Robin a good mother?
4. How did the descriptions of interiors, the natural world, food, wine, and travel in the novel enhance your reading experience?
5. How did the parts of the book set in the 1970s/early 1980s—the culture of sex, drugs, and rock and roll—resonate with you? In what ways can you relate to Robin’s experiences?
6. Compare and contrast the mother/daughter relationships in the novel: between Robin and Olivia, and between Robin and Lark.
7. Compare and contrast the father/daughter relationships in the novel: between Hank and Robin, and between Dean and Lark?
8. Discuss the longtime friendship between Robin and Theresa. How does each benefit from the other? How does the friendship grow and change? Do you believe it’s possible to sustain a long-distance best friendship?
9. Lark grows up knowing she has a father but believing he didn’t know of her existence. Do you think her response to this is typical? If there were a sequel to this novel, what sort of relationship do you believe Lark and Dean would be able to forge?
10. Can you relate to Robin’s failed dating experiences?
11. Discuss Robin’s relationship with Nick. Can you identify with her need for Nick in her life?
12. Is there an old flame that you have fantasized about seeing again? Robin frets about her fifty-four-year-old appearance. How would you feel about your old flame seeing you again?
13. Did Dean live up to your expectations as an older man?
14. Were you surprised that Dean asked Robin to wait and make love after the wedding? If you were in Robin’s shoes, would you want to wait?
15. Robin loves New York City. Do you think it’s possible for a city mouse like her to become a country mouse and live on a farm the rest of her life? Would you drastically change your lifestyle for the man of your dreams?
16. Which character(s) do you believe experienced the greatest redemption in the end? In what ways were their lives redeemed?
17. Has this story broadened your perspective? Have you learned something new or been exposed to different ideas about people? If so, what way has your perspective been broadened?