Reading guide for The Likeness by Tana French

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Likeness

A Novel

by Tana French

The Likeness
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2008, 480 pages
    May 2009, 480 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Patty Magyar

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Early on in the book, Cassie Maddox says that “all the best undercovers have a dark thread woven into them, somewhere.” What is hers?

  2. For Cassie, going undercover is almost a compulsion. What drives her to accept Frank’s offer and take on Operation Mirror?

  3. The rule at Whitethorn House is “no pasts,” yet the house is seeped in history and artifacts from earlier eras. How does the house help its inhabitants avoid their own histories?

  4. Undercover, Cassie slowly gets drawn into life at Whitethorn House and develops a fondness for Lexie’s idiosyncratic housemates. What is it about this world that is so enchanting for her?

  5. Cassie says this is Lexie Madison’s story, not hers, yet she tells it like it’s her own. Whose story do you think it is?

  6. Commitment is an issue for Cassie, as she can’t seem to settle down with a desk job or her boyfriend. At the same time, she has chosen to work undercover and devote her every hour to this case—a very serious commitment of a different kind. Is this a contradiction in her personality, or are they complementary behaviors?

  7. Daniel, Abby, Rafe, Justin, and Lexie’s relationship is a fascinating study of group dynamics and each character plays a distinct role. Just as Lexie did before her, Cassie can home in on who she needs to be to fit in. Do you think this is something most people do in social situations or is it a special skill?

  8. What does posing as Lexie teach Cassie about herself? What are the differences between the two characters and where does Cassie draw the line?

  9. Cassie wonders if Frank Mackey may have had a stronger hunch about the killer than he was admitting all along. Do you think he knew who the killer was?

  10. French leaves the story of what happened the night of the stabbing somewhat open. What do you think really happened to Lexie and who was truly responsible?

    Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Penguin Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.