Reading guide for The Strangler Vine by Miranda J. Carter

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The Strangler Vine

by Miranda J. Carter

The Strangler Vine by Miranda J. Carter X
The Strangler Vine by Miranda J. Carter
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2015, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2016, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kate Braithwaite
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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Consider the characters of Jeremiah Blake and William Avery. How do they respond differently to the world around them? What defines their values?

  2. The modern term "thug" is derived from the historical usage depicted in the book, of the roving Indian band called the Thuggee. How our use of this word today similar to or different from its original meaning?

  3. Consider the structure of the novel, which contains elements of both a mystery and a journey or quest. How would you categorize this story? What nineteenth-century fiction might it be compared to?

  4. What is the significance of the title?

  5. M. J. Carter brought to the novel a strong sense of place, and India is as much a character as the protagonists. How is the country depicted? How was it affected by the rule of England and the British East India Company?

  6. One of the joys of reading historical fiction lies in learning about the true-life events, people, and details that the author brings into the narrative. Which of the real historical elements was most fascinating to you, and why?

  7. The women characters play smaller but still interesting roles in the novel. Compare and contrast the characters of Helen Larkbridge and Mrs. Parkes: How are their personalities, ambitions, and positions in life alike or different? How is each in her own way a product of the period and place?

  8. Consider the systems of class and sociopolitical status portrayed in the novel, ranging from the depiction of English characters like Blake and Major Sleeman to the depiction of Indian characters such as the Rao. In what ways are class structures complicated by ethnicity and the colonial setting? To what extent are these structures rigid or fluid?

  9. Were you surprised by the big twist about the Thugs? Why, or why not?

  10. Many of the themes explored in The Strangler Vine resonate in the present day. What parallels do you find?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of G.P. Putnam's Sons. 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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