Reading Guide Questions
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
- Caught up by Dr. Ivens' personality and vision, Iris postpones her original mission. Although she later comes to question her decision to stay at Royaumont, do you believe Tom would have returned with Iris to Australia had she found him earlier?
- Have you ever met someone like Dr. Ivens? Why is charisma as crucial a part of her job as talent?
- How does Cicely's story about her mentally ill mother add to the novel?
- Did Violet take Tom as a lover for her own sake or for Iris's? How did learning that Violet received the scholarship to study medicine affect your opinion of her?
- At the beginning of the book, Grace thinks of Iris as unerringly proper. It's only later that she discovers the many secrets her grandmother kept. Why is it so difficult for us to see older generations as individuals with passions and disappointments of their own?
- Why does Iris offer to raise Violet and Tom's child as her own? Would you be willing to do the same if it meant deferring your personal ambitions?
- How did In Falling Snow affect your feelings on the difficulties faced by women of previous generations? If you had been alive during World War I, what do you imagine you might have been doing?
- Do you agree with Iris's decision to delay calling the ambulance until she felt certain that Al couldn't be revived? Did she come to truly love him?
- What does the baby sugar glider represent?
- Towards the end of the novel, a letter from Iris to Violet reveals that she believes each of them wound up living the life that suited her best. What do you think?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Penguin Books.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.