Suggested Bookclub Questions
1. Ruth Churchill is the central character in this novel. What do you make of her?
2. The story begins with a knife wielding young man. What impact do you think his presence has?
3. Do you find Angela and Tony Morris believable characters? Does Angela’s religious dimension have any similarities or differences with that of Ruth’s?
4. Are walls to defend countries, churches, schools and homes effective? What do you think of Julie’s suggestion that the safeguarding of Ruth, her family and the congregation are best addressed by building a high wall and adding other security features?
5. Is Archdeacon Stephen Nicholls a good guy or a bad guy?
6. Do women ministers in the church have to contend with more than men? Do they fall into two categories – those who can’t cope and those who have to be super-managers?
7. Raj and Dashana’s world is shown to have links with events in Gujarat back in 2002. Can grievances get carried across national boundaries and through extensive periods of time? Can such extremism lead to terrorist acts and retain their lethal potency?
8. Did it surprise you that the church was the focus for so many social concerns – climate change, Rohingya Muslims, mental illness, foodbanks, pastoral care, funerals and bereavement, etc.….? Which of these themes appealed to you? Facing so many demands, where do you think Ruth should have best focussed her energies?
9. What’s your take on Ruth and Phil’s marriage and family life?
10. Did Ruth change? If so, how and when do you think things turned a corner for her? Why do you think the broach was important?
11. How did you feel the story line developed and did the ending satisfy you? What do you think Ruth did next?
12. What does the reader take away from this book?