Book Club Discussion Questions


  1. What did you think of the dominant role of faith, and of the Congregational Church in particular, in the novel, and how that influence changed over the decades? What was your opinion of Joshua Stow’s attacks on organized religion?

  2. What was your reaction to the status of women in Connecticut society in the novel?

  3. Did you think Hope Lyman made the right decision in not remarrying until her children were all adults?

  4. Compare the political stand and actions of Loyalist Timothy Hierlihy with that of Continental soldier Elihu Lyman. Did each man have justification for his position? With whom would you have sided?

  5. Who was your favorite character in the novel? Which character did you like the least? Why?

  6. How do you think parents coped with the death of so many children?

  7. Leaving home for a new life on a distant frontier is a recurring theme throughout the novel. Would you have joined the emigration from Connecticut at any point? What issues would you have considered in making your decision?

  8. Would you have supported the temperance movement?

  9. Would you have spoken out against slavery in the decades preceding the Civil War?

  10. Would you have participated in the Underground Railroad?

  11. What in this novel surprised you about American history?

  12. What aspects of Connecticut history has this novel made you want to know more about?