Month: July, 2013

All She Ever Wanted by Lynn Austin - Book Club

Thursday, July 11, 2013
The women of West Center Baptist have enjoyed some fun discussions since we started holding book clubs. In preparing to guide those discussions there is usually a search of the internet for questions. So we felt it only right to share the questions that were developed that guided our talks with you.

All She Ever Wanted

All She Ever Wanted
by Lynn Austin

Dicussion Questions: 

1.     Fiona – came to America with her father and dreams of finding a life of luxury.  Describe her relationship with her father, Arthur Bartlett and later with Lorenzo Messina.  Why do you think she turned away from God instead of towards him for most of her life?  

 

2.     Eleanor - ran away from her mother and then hid her family’s past.  What do you think Eleanor’s life would have been like had she stayed married to Trent?  Do you feel she found happiness with Donald Gallagher?  Why do you think she turned away from God instead of towards him?  

 

3.     Kathleen – ran away from her parents (Eleanor/Donald) and hid her family’s past.  Why do you think it is important for her to revisit the past in order to move with the future?  How would you describe her early relationship with God when she was child/young adult? 

 

4.     Joelle – It appeared to be important for Joelle to learn about her mother through her mother’s past.  Can you identify with Joelle and her need to seek out family history?  How did finding out about her mother’s past help her relationship with her mother?  How would that affect her future?

 

5.     The relationships between mother and daughter play an important part of this book.  Describe the mother daughter relationships –

·       Fiona and Eleanor

·       Eleanor and Kathleen

·       Kathleen and Joelle

 

6.     Were there similarities to these relationships?

 

7.     How did the "roles" of the male figures influence the lives of Fiona, Eleanor, Kathleen and Joelle?

 

8.     We see the sins of the parents being passed on through the generations.   What patterns are repeated through the relationships of these women?

 

9.     What is the significance of the book’s title – All She Ever Wanted? 

 

10.  What surprised you the most about the book?

 

11.  Toward the end of the book, Donald Gallagher had just been released from prison and he told his family that it was worth going to prison in order to discover Christ.  He also stated that God could have changed the circumstances, if he wanted to.   How did these statements influence his family?

 

12.  What did you learn from or get out of this book?

#LynnAustin #AllSheEverWanted #Discussion

Beneath a Southern Sky by Deborah Raney - Book Club

Thursday, July 11, 2013
The women of West Center Baptist have enjoyed some fun discussions since we started holding book clubs. In preparing to guide those discussions there is usually a search of the internet for questions. So we felt it only right to share the questions that were developed that guided our talks with you.

Beneath A Southern Sky

Beneath a Southern Sky
by Deborah Raney

Discussion Questions:

1.    What were the differences between Nathan’s and Daria’s callings to the mission field? How do you think each of their callings affected the decisions they made later on? In what ways, if any, is a married woman’s calling subject to her husband’s desires and situation?   

2.     What factors did Daria take into account in deciding whether to stay in Timoné or return to the States after Nathan’s death? Did you agree or disagree with Daria’s decision and her reasons for making the choices she did? Explain your thoughts.  

3.    How did Daria’s parents and parents-in-law influence her relationship with Colson Hunter? How did your own parents influence your decisions about the people you dated and the person you ended up marrying? What would you do (or what have you done) differently concerning your children’s choice of dates or mates?  

4.    At what point did Daria begin to shut out God’s ‘still, small voice’? List some of the ways that God tried to reach Daria. Have you ever ‘tuned out’ the Holy Spirit’s gentle prompting? What were the results?   

5.    What role did Cole Hunter play in Daria turning her back on God’s leading? What could cause a godly man like Cole to be an ‘accomplice’ in Daria’s quiet rebellion?  

6.    Once Nate was found alive, which man did you most sympathize with and why? How did you feel about Cole’s response to the dilemma? Nate’s?  

7.    What other possible solutions to their dilemma could the characters have explored? If you could re-write the ending of the book, how would you change it?  

8.    Discuss the problems that Daria might face in the future as a result of what happened. What problems might Natalie and Nicole encounter as they grow up?  

9.     How did God redeem the tragic events for Daria? For Cole? For Nate? For the other characters?

10.     How does the sacrifice Nate made compare to the one Jesus made for us?

Eve's Daughters by Lynn Austin - Book Club

Thursday, July 11, 2013
The women of West Center Baptist have enjoyed some fun discussions since we started holding book clubs. In preparing to guide those discussions there is usually a search of the internet for questions. So we felt it only right to share the questions that were developed that guided our talks with you.

Eves Daughters

Eve's Daughters
by Lynn Austin

Dicussion Questions:

1.     The notion of "home" is an important theme throughout the book and the events of the story are set in motion during Emma's move. What is so important to each woman about the notion of home? Where do each of the women feel most comfortable? Does Bremenville end up as a home to any of them?

2.     The "crying cup" is the only heirloom to make the journey from Germany and survive through the generations. What is its special significance, especially in the lives of Louise and Emma? What is the real source of its "magical" powers?

3.     Louise and her brother, Emil, played a game called Someday where they spoke aloud their wishes for the future. All the characters gave similar wishes for their futures. Which character's wishes came closest to working out? Who's were furthest away from her childhood dreams? In what ways did they help or hinder each other's quest for their dreams?

4.     One of the two memories Emma has of her childhood is the delivery of piano from the Sears Roebuck Co.. Musical talent was one of Emma's gifts but it gained added importance after a traveling Chautauqua visited Bremenville. Did music ever really fulfill all she desired of it? Throughout the years how did her use of her talents change? Was she ever able to return to her pure love of it?

5.     The river running through Bremenville means different things at different times to the characters. Does the river itself change or is it merely the character's perception of the river? What did Squaw Island come to represent out, alone in the middle of the water? When a character remarks that the river reminds her of the saying "Joy and sorrow come and go like the ebb and flow" (p. 427) of which would you say the river has seen more?

6.     Grace is defined by her neatness and propriety. Suzanne makes the comment that you can tell she's dressed for work because her "pearls are fake." (8) What does this say about her personality? What does it mean when she accepts the "depression glass" from her mother even though she knows Stephen won't like them? Why do the little trinkets have so much value for her?

7.     Each woman in the story is both mother and daughter. Which role does each woman seem to fill most easily? What lessons from each woman's childhood reappear in their parenting? How is Emma's relationship with Suzanne unique in the book?

8.     "Let's face it," Suzanne says, "times change, roles change, expectations change. What's right for one generation isn't necessarily right for the next one." (111) All four women are from different generations with different cultural expectations for women. In what ways did each woman meet their roles and expectations and in what ways did they defy them? How has the definition of womanhood changed since the 1890s? Are women better off today than they were?

9.     Three wars (WWI, WWII, and the Vietnam War) are in the background history of the novel. Though not involved in the immediate conflict, each woman is deeply touched, and in fact, irreparably changed by these events. What is each character's perception of the wars they live through? Are their views affected more by popular perception, the views of the men in their lives, or their own opinions? Who's life is affected most deeply?

10.  Grace is perhaps the most aptly named of the four women. In what ways does she end up representing her name? Do the other women live up to their namesakes? (Louise means protectress. Emma means all-embracing. Suzanne means trusting.)

11.  Suzanne is a modern career woman with a high-level job in a magazine. What about her career does she love most? How does her career separate her from Grace? How is her work different from that taken on by Emma during her life?

12.  We see the sins of the parent being passed on to the child in the lives of Emma, Grace, and Suzanne. How is this theme echoed in other families in the book? Why do the victims (Eva, Grace, Markus) always seem to be innocent? Who sees them that way and are they truly innocent?

13.  Just as sin can pass through generations by secrets and lies, so too can positive traits through strong upbringing. Louise makes a courageous and difficult choice to love her husband (p. 109) that is echoed by the other women throughout the story. What courageous acts do Emma, Grace, and Suzanne make? How is Grace's different from the rest?

14.  It has been said that how you view your father is a blueprint for how you view God. Explain how this is true or false for each of the women in the novel? How is the situation most complicated for Grace and how does she seem to develop the most solid faith? In what ways do the men in the book (Friedrich, Karl, Thomas, Jeff, Stephen) reflect the nature of God?

15.  Suzanne is the spark that drives the discoveries of the novel. Is this simply a part of her personality or does her need to discover the truth come from something deeper? Why doesn't Grace feel more compelled to search out answers when the discoveries affect her so much?

16.  At the beginning of the novel Emma sees her lies almost as a rickety building which would "teeter and sway" (14). At the same time Suzanne's marriage is shattered as well, like the plate she throws down in anger. Emma herself states that it's not a problem of people as much as pattern. What pattern is repeated through the marriages of these women? Louise and Grace seem to avoid it—do they really?

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