Reading guide for The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins by Antonia Hodgson

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The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins

by Antonia Hodgson

The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins by Antonia Hodgson X
The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins by Antonia Hodgson
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2016, 400 pages
    Mar 2017, 400 pages

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Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. How credible a character is Thomas Hawkins? Who can you trust in this novel? What does it mean to be honest in this world?
  2. Research Georgian-era London to discuss how Hodgson chose to depict this world. What sights, sounds, and smells rang true to you? How much did you know about Queen Caroline before reading this and what did you learn? Do you see any parallels between the world of Thomas Hawkins and our own?
  3. "Do not confuse a disreputable life with a wicked one," Hodgson writes. What's the difference? Is Tom a moral character or not? 
  4. The idea of being an upstanding moral citizen is a significant theme in this novel. Which characters are most preoccupied with this notion? Would you say those are the most moral of the characters? How does the Georgian-era discussion of morality differ from the one occupying the public conscious today?
  5. What stance, if any, does the book take on destiny? Is it the fate of man to follow in his father's footsteps? Is it a noble or damning choice not to? 
  6. Thomas Hawkins swings from the highest ranks of British society all the way down to the labyrinthine world of London's criminal overlords. How do the dealings in the different social strata of the book differ from one another, and how are they the same? Which part of this world do you relate to the most?
  7. In the time period this novel is set, there were no detectives, and there was no formal method of investigating a crime. Tom's own investigation into the murder is motivated by his desire to clear his own name. How does his amateur detective work differ from more contemporary methods of detection? What feels familiar to you, and where he does he follow his own course?

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Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Mariner Books. 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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Beyond the Book:
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