1. Dawdi Tim has been an influence on Marlena since her earliest days. What are some ways in which his influence lives on? Have you had a similar influential figure in your life? If so, who?
2. Marlena sees caring for Angela Rose as an opportunity to make amends for her estranged relationship with Luella. Have you ever tried to make amends in a relationship? If so, how?
3. Small Jay longs to prove himself in the eyes of his father. Was there a time when you found it difficult to prove your ability or maturity to another person? Discuss.
4. For Marlena, distance ultimately lends perspective on both her relationship with Nat and her faith. Has there been an instance in your life when stepping away from your usual surroundings or routine has allowed you to see something more clearly? If so, what?
5. Small Jay and his family eventually take in Boston and care for him. How does their way of addressing Boston’s situation differ from how an “English” family might approach it, especially today?
6. Ellie notices that “Boston might be filling a place in Small Jay’s heart intended for a father.” What elements of their relationship contribute to that?
7. If you were in Marlena’s situation, would you be willing to put your own life on hold to care for a sibling’s child? Would that be easier or more difficult in your circumstances?
8. Besides the love letters from Abigail to Boston, what are some other “love letters” that play an important role in the book?
9. How might Marlena’s story have been different if Luella had remained Amish?