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?


1.  Think back to when you first became interested in the opposite sex. How would you feel being one of a handful of girls surrounded by hundreds of boys?

2. What function does the Browning School have in the narrative? Could this thought-to-be idyllic place be a character in itself?

3. Did you find yourself taking the side of one boy over the other in the love triangle between Georgie, Truman, and Kelly? Did you ever find yourself in this situation?

4. Does the behavior/antics of Miss Magpie remind you of anyone you have known?

5. What does the river represent to you? What purpose did it serve in the story?

6. What does the (baseball equipment) shed represent to you?

7. Do you believe that Miss Suzette was aware of her husband’s illicit activities? How might it have changed the story if Lacey had told what Cal did to her while walking her home from babysitting?

8. In what ways is “the tunnel” significant to Georgie?

9. The novel is, at times, endearingly comedic. What scenes did you find particularly funny?  

10. How do the following characters support and encourage Georgie?

  • Julianne
  • Asher
  • Miss Foxie
  • Madame Beaulieu

11. How does the dynamic between Georgie and Lacey, and Lacey and Karen relate to real-life relationships you’ve been in or witnessed?

12. What kind of big sister was Georgie to Ronnie?

13.  If you remember the period of the desegregation of schools, was it a comfortable transition for you or a perilous one?

14. How does Georgie champion Larry and the students at her junior high school?

15. What did the character of Clover represent to you?

16.  Georgie keeps many secrets from her parents. Do you think in her place you would have come clean sooner?

17. Georgie comes to term with the tragedy of her father’s death quickly. But does she really? Don’t miss the sequel to this novel A CLEFT IN THE WORLD!