- When you first met Bethany, what was your immediate impression? How did your opinion of Bethany change throughout the novel?
- As an architect, Bethany longs to design new, innovative projects, rather than overhauling older buildings. How is this desire central to her character?
- Which character do you relate to more: Bethany or Robin? Why?
- Bethany and Evan have fairly different goals and interests. Do you think this benefits them as a couple, or provides challenges? What advice might you give them for maintaining at good relationship?
- Why do you think Dan left the farm to Bethany, but the farmhouse to Evan?
- A younger Bethany talks to the reader in first-person narratives throughout the novel. What does the reader learn from her story?
- Bethany and Robin’s friendship plays a big role in the story, despite the years that have lapsed when they weren’t friends. What, do you believe, draws them together? Have you experienced a similar friendship in your own life?
- Discuss Pastor Fenton. What were your feelings about him throughout the story? What kind of relationship does he seem to have with his congregation?
- Pastor Fenton attributes Bethany’s father’s paralysis to unconfessed sin in his life. Have you experienced teaching and spiritual guidance like this before? What is your response to it? In light of what happens at the end of the novel, discuss whether you think Pastor Fenton’s views on suffering will change.
- Ruth’s faith seems to diminish her. Robin’s faith strengthens her, but they both call themselves Christians. How do you explain such different responses?
- The Bible tells us God reveals Himself through nature. In this novel, we learn that snowy winters produce an abundance of wildflowers later in the year. What truth is God revealing here? Have you seen this truth in your life or in the lives of people you know?
- Bethany reunites with Robin, only to be put in the difficult position of comforting her friend during a time of seemingly endless grief. Can you identify with either character in this situation?
Going Deeper (spoiler alert)
Would you like to go beyond the discussion questions? Here are three in-depth discussion topics you can bring to book club:
- Read this article about suicide. Do you agree or disagree?
- Read the book of Job in the Bible.
- How is the story of Job similar to Bethany’s experience with Pastor Fenton?
- Have you ever experienced spiritual abuse? How has it shaped your understanding of God?
- Discuss the concept of suffering.
- Why do people suffer?
- How did Bethany’s father react to suffering? How did Bethany react? How did Robin react?
- Could Pastor Fenton have been right about Bethany’s father?