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1. Why do you think the author titled the book Threads? What kinds of threads are represented in the book? What threads bind the three sisters? What isolates them?
2. The book is set in 1934. How important is that year to the characters and the social context? How are the characters both insulated from and exposed to the vagaries of the Great Depression?
3. How do you react to hearing the same story from one, two, or three points of view? Does the tedium of farm life portrayed in the book differ with each of the three sisters?
4. Describe the personalities of the three sisters. Would you be able to discern which character is speaking if she weren’t named in the chapter heading? Is any one of the three sisters portrayed as more likable? More intelligent? More mature? More likely to gain material success?
5. How do you react to Ma and Pa? What are their strengths and flaws? How representative are they of Midwest farmers of the 1930s?
6. What is your reaction to Flora’s goal of becoming a farm wife at age seventeen? Discuss the concept of teenagers then and now.
7. Nellie observes that you need to have good neighbors in order to be successful farmers. How is this depicted?
8. Do you believe that the author revealed too much or too little regarding some of the characters, e.g., Mrs. Vandenberg, Mr. Hendrik, Mr. Goldberg?
9. What aspects of life in rural America changed from 1934 to 1974, e.g, finding arrowheads, living entirely off the land, reusing everything including rags.
10. What aspects of the sisters’ childhood personalities do we continue to see reflected as adults in 1974? How do you react to their life stories? Why do you think the author chose 1974 as the year to end the book?
1. How is this a traditional Romance Novel? Where does it depart from common romances?
2. How is your opinion of Holly? What are her strengths? What are her blind spots?
3. How about Derek? Is he portrayed as a static character?
4. What secondary characters did you enjoy, e.g., Megan and Milton?
5. The New Age experiences that Megan pulled Holly into—did they seem natural or contrived?
6. How does the setting and the season impact the novel? Is snow, ice, and winter sports too glamorized?
7. In the scene where Holly and Derek view the elk in the majestic setting too idyllic? Have you had an experience in nature that becomes magical, almost spiritual?
8. Have you ever come across the term “Hatchet Man?” How appropriate is the term for describing Derek?
9. What role does Savage play in the novel? Are his actions plausible?
10. Does the ending meet with you expectations? What about the Epilogue?