Reading guide for Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

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Black Rabbit Hall

by Eve Chase

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase X
Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2016, 384 pages
    Jul 2017, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Lorna and Amber are two very different women at very different places in their lives, but both are forever changed by events that occur at Black Rabbit Hall. In what ways are these women similar? How are they different? Did you relate to one character more than the other?
  2. As children, Amber and Toby are almost inseparable, but after their mother's death they both change dramatically—Amber reflects that she "no longer feel[s] like a girl inside" (p. 93), and Toby becomes increasingly angry and wild. Why do you think the twins grow apart, instead of together? Do you think they would have stayed close if Momma had lived? Why or why not?
  3. During her first visit to Black Rabbit Hall, Lorna discovers a horse's skull displayed in the library. Why do you think Mr. and then Mrs. Alton kept this, and why is it displayed so visibly? Do you agree with their choice? Jon comments, "This lot would stuff their own ancestors, given half a chance." What do you think he means?
  4. Which Alton sibling is your favorite? Why? Which sibling do you most identify with? Are they the same character?
  5. When the novel begins, Amber is fourteen. After the Alton family tragedy, however, she is forced to grow up quickly and take responsibility for her siblings. How do you think this responsibility affects her relationship with Lucian? How did you respond to their relationship? Did you have a "first love," and if so, did you relate to Amber's feelings? Why or why not?
  6. Lorna is enchanted by Black Rabbit Hall, knowing from the beginning this is where she'd like to be married. But as she explores, she feels more and more drawn to the family that lived there. Why did you first think she felt so tied to the Alton children? Is there somewhere from your family's past that you won't ever forget? Have you explored your own family history, and if so, did you find anything surprising?
  7. Discuss the character of Caroline Alton. She admits to Lorna that she found her stepchildren "unfathomable" (p. 168). Do you think she is a bad stepmother? Are her actions ever justified?
  8. As Lorna finds herself pulled further into the hallways and history of Black Rabbit Hall, she feels increasingly distant from Jon. Did you feel frustrated with Lorna's treatment of the wedding? Did you feel frustrated with Jon? At one point Lorna thinks of an ex who claimed that Lorna "tests" relationships to see if they're worth saving. Do you think this is true?
  9. Nancy Alton remains a beacon of beauty and grace throughout the novel. Why do you think Eve Chase wrote her as an American? In what ways is she different from Caroline? Are the two women ever alike, and should they be?
  10. Lorna finds much more than a wedding venue when she finally understands what happened at Black Rabbit Hall. Were you surprised by the ending? How do you feel about the Alton children, decades later?

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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