Reading guide for Isabel's Daughter by Judith Ryan Hendricks

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Isabel's Daughter

by Judith Ryan Hendricks

Isabel's Daughter
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2003, 385 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2004, 400 pages

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Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

Discussion Questions

  1. Even though Avery has never met her mother, are there any parallels in their lives?

  2. When Avery runs into Will at the café, why isn't she more receptive to his suggestion that they get together and talk about the past?

  3. Why is Avery so casually cruel to Rita at times, even as she acknowledges how much she owes her?

  4. What significance does Avery's mixed blood have for her? For the story?

  5. Why is Avery so reluctant at first to learn about her mother, after all the years of wondering?

  6. What is the function of Jimmie John's character?

  7. Cassie is probably as close as Avery comes to a relative while growing up, but there is still a gap between them that apparently cannot be bridged. Why?

  8. How has Avery been shaped by her experiences at the Carson home, both with religion and relationships -- Ridley, Lee-Ann and Esperanza?

  9. What does Avery see in Paul DeGraf? What does she want from him? What does he see in her?

  10. What can she learn about Isabel from her work?

  11. Does Avery have a realistic sense of whom to trust (or mistrust)?

  12. There's a lot of fire in this story -- cooking, warmth (fireplace or woodstove) and wildfire -- what is the significance of it?

  13. How does Avery's discovery of the ticket and passport in Isabel's suitcase affect her perception of her mother? Of Paul DeGraf? Of herself?

  14. Why does it take her so long to realize that Lindsey's in love with Paul?

  15. Why does she opt not to become a caterer in Santa Fe, even though she has the experience, the backer(s)/contacts, and an obvious love of and talent for cooking?

  16. What do you think of Avery's assertion that "Babies are born with the seeds of who they'll be already inside them."? Does her own life bear this out?

  17. Why does Avery never really evidence any interest in the identity of her father, when there's a good chance that he's still alive, in the approximate vicinity, and could probably be helpful to her, at least financially?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of HarperPaperbacks. 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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