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The Guardian Reading Group Guide

Readers' Discussion Questions

1. When little Sarah turns up missing, all sorts of possibilities flood Maryanna’s mind. Have you ever been unexpectedly separated from someone you love, even briefly? What went through your mind, and how did you react?

 2. Maryanna’s neighbors respond quickly to her child’s disappearance. How do you think your own community would face such an event? In what ways would its response be different than that in Hickory Hollow? How would it be similar?

3. Jodi Winfield faces several challenges in caring for Sarah and finding out where she belongs. What would you do in her place?

4. Discuss the reasons Maryanna might have for being somewhat wary of an Englisher—even one who has rescued her lost daughter. Can you relate to any of her concerns?

5. Young Amish widows and widowers are expected to remarry if possible; this is especially true for those with children at home. How does Maryanna feel about this? How might you feel in her place?

6. Jodi fears bringing a child into this world because she can’t face the prospect of more loss. Can you relate at all to her concerns? What are some things that fear has kept you from pursuing?

7. Joshua Peachey was a close friend of Maryanna’s deceased husband, Benuel Esh. How does this affect their relationship at first? Later on?

8. When Jodi accepts the temporary teaching position, she needs to adjust what and how she teaches. Talk about some of the differences between Amish and English schools.

9. Jodi and Maryanna share a common bond of grief. What are some lessons they learn from each other?


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