1. What were your thoughts about Ruth's relationship with her father? Should she have forgiven him sooner? Was she wrong to hold a grudge? Was he wrong to run away and then come back? How would you feel in her place?
2. How do you think Henry's loyalty to Ethan affected his character? When he lied about Ethan's true identity did that make him less of a hero? Less of a man? Or more so?
3. Why do you think Samuel Jenkins waited so long to take his revenge on Ruth?
4. Did you feel Ruth was right to defy her father and spurn Samuel's proposal in order to marry Michael Randolph instead? What would you have done in her place?
5. Why do you think Ethan agreed to go along with Sam Jenkins' scheme? Why did he "change sides" at the end?
6. How did you react to Sheriff Simms courtship of Olivia Kohl? Was it surprising? Phony? Sweet?
7. Do you think Richard Kinsley was right or wrong to blame himself for Ruth's accident?
8. In the novel, family ties are a powerful motivation behind many of the characters actions. Why do you think the people we love most have so much power to lift us up or drag us down? Why do we let it happen?
9. Why do you think some people are able to forgive old hurts and put the past behind them (like Ruth or Rachel) while others never do (like Samuel Jenkins)?
10. What was your reaction to Henry's Christmas sermon? Did it move you? Bore you? Do you think he was right to overlook Sam Jenkins crimes and remember him as a man of honor?
11. Of all the relationships in the novel (romantic, familial, neighbors), which did you most enjoy reading about or seeing develop?
12. How did reading the story make you feel?
13. Was there anything about the plot or characters you found confusing? Any occurrences you thought unlikely or unrealistic? Anything you felt seemed especially real or poignant?
14. Did any passage or quote particularly resonate with you or an experience you've had?
15. Were you surprised by the ending? Did the attack on Amanda Brown and her later behavior leave you confused? Excited? What did you think she was doing with Henry's picture and what implications will that have on his relationship with Jane?