1. What similarities are there between Ellie and Jennifer? How do their experiences reflect their respective eras? Of the two women, with whom do you empathize or identify the most?
2. Have you ever written or received a love letter? Have you ever sent a romantic e-mail or text? Do you think electronic communication has changed the nature of expression? How does the emotional weight of a love letter compare with that of spoken words?
3. Does Laurence love Jennifer? Imagine yourself in his position. What were his motives in lying to Jennifer about O’Hare’s death?
4. How did your opinion of O’Hare develop over the course of the novel? Is he a traditional romantic hero?
5. If Jennifer and O’Hare had run away together, what would their lives have been like?
6. Jennifer’s friends and her mother are reluctant to tell her much about her life before the accident, urging her to focus on the future. Why? Do you believe they knew about her affair?
7. Why does Yvonne react the way she does to Jennifer’s decision to leave Laurence?
8. Think of Jennifer’s many roles as mother, daughter, wife, lover, and friend. Is it possible to fill all those roles at once? Should any one role be a priority and, if so, which one? With this in mind, did Jennifer make the right choice in pursuing O’Hare?
9. Examine the female friendships in the novel, particularly the interactions between Ellie and her girlfriends. Had you been friends with Ellie, what advice would you have given her about John? What would you say to John?
10. Rory argues that being in love doesn’t excuse someone from being responsible for their actions, that “everyone makes a choice” to do either the right or the wrong thing (page 332). Ellie disagrees, believing that people can be swept away by emotion. What do you think?
11. Did you find the ending satisfactory? What happens next for Jennifer and Ellie?