1. How does the setting of 1950s California inform both the plot, and John and Ellen’s internal struggles?
2. Is Ellen’s relationship to literature and books always positive?
a) Why or why not?
b) Are books always a positive in your life?
3. Who is your favorite character? Why?
4. At the beginning of the novel, Ellen is afraid of becoming like her father. Does she?
5. Would John have eventually come back to Pitney for Ellen without his initial business reason?
6. Ellen witnesses a dark side to the community she has always loved.
a) Have you ever experienced that with a community you loved?
b) If so, how did you reconcile your positive and negative feelings about that community?
7. Does this book play with the familiar romance tropes and plot elements? Yes or no? Why?