Book Club Questions & Topics for Discussion
1. What are your first impressions of Quincy MacFadden? How does her personality reveal itself in the beginning chapters of the novel?
2. What was Quincy’s childhood like, and how to we know this? How does her unconventional upbringing perhaps affect her decision to quit Charlestown for the wild frontier?
3. Consider the sort of life Quincy leads–especially as a woman–in 18th century Charlestown, South Carolina. Would you have made the same decision she makes: to leave her comfortable life for one that is unknown and dangerous? Why or why not?
4. How do the many settings of the novel–colonial Charlestown, the South Carolina frontier, the Cherokee country, the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Southern Appalachian wilderness–play a role in the novel? How important are these settings to the overall story? Did they feel “real” to you as a reader? Why or why not?
5. What is life like in a Cherokee village at this time (the mid to late 1800s)? How is Cherokee culture different and similiar to white culture? How are the Cherokee treated in colonial society, and how do we glean this from the details we’re given in the story?
6. When Jack Wolf enters the picture, Quincy’s story–and her life–changes irrevocably. Why is she initially so resistant to forming a relationship with Jack? What does it tell us about her character that she’s hesitant, even when she’s so obviously drawn to the man?
7. Consider the major players, the eclectic group of people in Quincy’s life: Campbell, Owen, Naji, the homesteaders, Jack, Ridge Runner, Rebekah, Nora and Walks-With-Hawks. How do each of these people affect her goals and wants, the development of her as a character and as a person? What do her interactions with each person tell us about Quincy and the story itself?
8. Did the novel “bring history to life”? Why or why not? Does too much historical detail ever get in the way of the story?
9. When Quincy and Jack finally marry, the story takes another turn. How does their relationship change? How is that relationship tested by outside forces and events?
10. How do you feel about the ending of the novel? Was it satisfying? Are you the sort of reader who likes stories neatly wrapped up, or are you open to imagining what might occur to the characters after the story is over?