Reading Guide Questions
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
For Madeline McCarthy, high-spirited and eight years old, her family's posting to a quiet air force base near the Canadian-American border is at first welcome, secure as she is in the love of her beautiful mother, and unaware that her father, Jack, is caught up in his own web of secrets. The base is host to some intriguing inhabitants, including the unconventional Froehlich family, and the odd Mr. March whose power over the children is a secret burden that they carry.
Soon after the McCarthy's move tragedy strikes, and a very local murder intersects with global forces, binding the participants for life. As the tension builds, Jack must decide where his loyalties lie, and Madeleine learns about the ambiguity of human morality -- a lesson she will only begin to understand when she carries her quest for the truth, and the killer, into adulthood twenty years later.
Topics for Discussion
- How does the author demonstrate the time period throughout the story?
- Through brief passages preceding some chapters, MacDonald offers the reader small tidbits of information pertaining to the story that would otherwise remain unknown. Why do you think the author uses this narrative technique?
- In what ways do you feel Madeline grows and changes throughout the novel?
- There are many different definitions of "home" in this novel. What does "home" mean to each character and how does the definition change with time?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Harper Perennial.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.