I love books. I love to read them (and re-read my favorites) and hold them in my hands. I have them squirreled away in several corners of my house – piles and stacks of my favorite collection of words. I re-read passages that made me feel something — and try and decode the author’s magic. If I’m in-between books one of my favorite things to do is to search for books on Goodreads, Kindle or iBooks … I read the blurbs and reviews. I read books for pleasure, for enjoyment, to escape, for information and knowledge. I read them to learn and to grow, to help me solve problems. I read them for solace – perhaps most often for solace.
I read every acknowledgement. I read the dedications and the author’s bio. I even love to read the book club discussion questions at the end of the book … I’m not in a book club (weird, right?), but I love to mull around my answers and consider other views. I squeeze every last syllable out of every book I own.
Next Tuesday, I’m hopeful some of you will do the same for my book. I hope you enjoy Tess and her journey toward defining herself and her truth. I hope you enjoy Chapel Corners and the small window into a fictional corner of northern Michigan. I hope you enjoy my acknowledgments and the dedication, I hope you enjoy it all.
Book Club Discussion Questions
1) We all have different definitions of “home”. What do you think Tess’s definition of “home” was at the beginning of her story? How does that definition change after she returns to Chapel Corners? How do you define “home”?
2) Tess has spent her life running from a past she thinks is awful. “I decided my past, you, Henry, my mom, our story was all too awful to share. I believed that if anyone really knew who I was and how I came to be in this world they would walk away.” What changes her belief that her past is too awful to share with anyone? Do you think it’s necessary for people to share their past with those that they love?
3) Adrianna and Tess are perhaps an unlikely pair. Why do you think they are friends? What held their friendship together? Do you have friends that serve different purposes in your life? What purpose does Sarah Beth serve in Tess’s life, both before she leaves Chapel Corners and after she returns?
4) Lake Michigan provides a safe haven of good memories and a place of spiritual connection for Tess as she confronts her past, as well as when she grew up. Do you have a space that you retreat to when you need to do some soul searching?
5) The book is set in the spring time. How do you think the timing of the book helps to tell the story? Why do you suppose the Epilogue was set at Christmas time?
6) Three of the main characters in the book are not alive at the time Tessa returns to Chapel Corners. How have Caroline, Henry and Marian continued to affect Tessa’s life even after their deaths?
7) Grandpa Henry was very influential in Tess’s life. What of Tess’s attributes do you think she got from Henry? Why do you think that Henry choose not to tell Tessa that Luke was her father? Who in your life has influenced who you are?
8)Luke contemplates telling Tess that he is her father. He is concerned that perhaps the truth would be more harmful than helpful. Are there situations in life that you would decide the truth would be better not to be told?
9) There are several maternal figures in the book, all of which touch Tessa in some way. Who did you see as having a motherly influence on Tess? Are there people other than your own mother’s who had a maternal influence on your own life?
10)Why did Davis not give up on Tess? How did their relationship evolve over the week’s time – even though they were not together? Does the old adage “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” apply here, or is there something else at work?
11) The original working title of this book was “The Definition of Me”. As Tess learns about her past she is also learning how to define herself within the context of that truth. Davis helps her to see that she can define herself in many ways and that her past does not define her. Do you believe you can have hard things happen to you and not be defined by them? How do you define yourself?