Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Edenton is the setting for the novel. How does this setting help the
relationship between Taylor and Denise? How does it hinder it? Would their
relationship have been possible in a larger city? What is the symbolic meaning
behind the name of the town? What role does this symbolic meaning play in the
relationship between Taylor and Denise?
In the beginning of the novel, Denise has given up nearly everything in
her life to take care of her son. Is this realistic? Would this have been more
or less likely in the past? Does she work with Kyle simply because she loves
him or are there other forces involved? How does the fact that Kyle was the
result of a one-night-stand affect her reasoning?
Because of his past, Taylor is unwilling to commit to another. At the end
of the novel, however, he does just that. What role do past events play in
other areas of Taylor's life? How does it affect his relationship with Kyle?
With Mitch? With Melissa? Can people really change that suddenly? Why or why
How does Judy, Taylor's mother, see Denise? Likewise, how does Ray see
Denise? Do these two take the role of Denise's parents? Why were their
characters necessary to the story?
Think about the memories that Taylor has of his father. What is Taylor's
vision of the kind of man his father was?
Mitch and Melissa play crucial roles in the novel. How does their
relationship affect the way Taylor and Denise feel about each other? About
Were you at all surprised when Denise broke it off with Taylor after he
didn't show up for Kyle's birthday? What does this say about Denise?
Mitch's death was instrumental in forcing Taylor to come to grips with his
past. Is there anything else that could have forced Taylor to do so?
Toward the end of the novel, Judy tells Taylor that she doesn't feel she
was a good mother in the past. Was she right? How does that affect the way she
treats him now? Had she always felt that way?
The theme of the novel is love as rescue. Who is saved by love in the
novel? How is this manifested in the story?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Grand Central Publishing.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.
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