Reading guide for The Sisters Mortland by Sally Beauman

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The Sisters Mortland

by Sally Beauman

The Sisters Mortland
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2006, 448 pages
    Feb 2007, 448 pages

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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. This book involves a series of mysteries. Are any of the characters still a mystery to you at the end of the book? Which mysteries are left unsolved or ambiguous? Why do you think this is?

  2. One of Maisie's talents is communicating with the dead. Who are the other ghosts in this novel besides her nuns?

  3. A. E. Housman wrote, "That is the land of lost content,/I see it shining plain,/The happy highways where I went/And cannot come again." In this case, the "land of lost content" is Suffolk, but it could be anywhere. How important is the setting of Suffolk, and why? What about London?

  4. Though the novel centers on three female characters, much of it is written from Dan's point of view, and the women are immortalized by Lucas’s painting. How do these male perspectives affect your view of the three sisters?

  5. Maisie and Dan, the first two narrators in the novel, are both outsiders, each of a different sort. How does the outsider perspective inform the telling of this story?

  6. Did you find Julia unsympathetic in the early parts of the novel? How does this change when she becomes the final narrator? Is she an outsider, as Maisie and Dan are, in any way?

  7. Lucas's drawings of Dan become the triptych Trinity Daniel. What are the three components of Dan’s character?

  8. In the course of the novel, several characters appear blind to their true feelings and those of others.Toward the end, Dan says of Finn that he has "loved a woman who never existed." Is Dan right, or is he still denying a different truth, one that’s apparent to readers? What about Julia?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Grand Central Publishing. 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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