MARCH BOOK CLUB

DISCUSSION 

BEGINS MARCH 21 - end of month

BOOK BLURB: Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions.

Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She's determined to find a way to buy Louis's freedom. But in 1840s Kentucky, she'll face an uphill battle. Based partly on a true story, Ann H. Gabhart's latest historical novel is a tour de force. The vividly rendered town of Springfield and its citizens immerse readers in a story of courage, betrayal, and honor that will stick with them long after they turn the last page.

About Ann H. Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart caught the writing bug at the age of ten and has been writing ever since. An award winning author, she's published many books for both adults and young adults. Her books cover several genres from historical to small town family stories to cozy mysteries under the name A.H. Gabhart. Her ideas are sparked by events in Kentucky history and by experiences in her own family. Her first Shaker novel, The Outsider, was a finalist for the ECPA Christian Fiction Book of the Year. Love Comes Home won the Selah Book of the Year award, and These Healing Hills was the Faith, Hope & Love Readers' Choice Women's Fiction Book of the Year. 

Ann lives on a Kentucky farm not far from where she was born. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. Ann enjoys hiking on her farm with her grandkids and her dog, Frankie. See more about her books at www.annhgabhart.com 
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
I WILL POST SOME EVERY DAY until the END of the MONTH
1. What character in this book would you like most as a friend, and why? 
2. What challenge did the main character face? How did they over come or deal with the challenge?
3. What words would you use to describe the main character in this book? Why?
4. What do you admire most about the characters in this book? Why?
5. Where there any characters in this book that you didn't like? why?
6. What lesson, if any, did you learn from reading this book? How has that lesson affected your life?
7. If you could ask the author one question about this book, what would it be?
8. What specific themes did the author emphasize through out the novel? What do you think while getting to know the characters? Did they emphasize something?
9. What was your FAVORITE Scene? Why did you love it?
10. What was unique about the setting of this story? How did it enhance or take away from the story?
11.The story took place during the cholera epidemic of the 1800's when an entire towns population ran for the hills, very few were left to deal with the after math of the disease.
Which leads into one of Ann's discussion questions states, "With our advanced medicines and health knowledge, do you think it's hard for us to completely understand the fear people might have felt when they heard cholera had broken out in their area?
12. Another discussion question from the author, "Adria had a close relationship with Aunt Matilda. What did you like best about Matilda? How would you describe her relationship with Adria?"
13. A discussion question from the author, "Were you disappointed that Adria made the choices she made at the end of the book or do you feel she did the best thing for her future?"
14. What was the feeling you got when you read the last page and closed the book? Why were you feeling that way?
15. Did you like how the story ended? If not, how would you have changed the ending? Why, make the change?

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Replies to This Discussion

Matilda reminded me of Hertha a friend of our family.  My mother did not even know how to boil water when she married my Dad, and she taught her how to cook.  My Mom was overwhelmed with four children under the age of four and I found myself at Hertha’s house most of my adolescence.  Her house was the hub for every child in town even though she had three children of her own.  She always had a treat for all of us and I remember her reading to us from a wonderful book of bible stories.  The saddest day of my childhood was when we moved several villages away to a much larger town.  She came to visit as often as she could as back then women did not drive.

Thank your for sharing your memories of Hertha, Adriann. She sounds as though she'd make a great character in a story. And then extending her Christian witness by reading your Bible stories.

And I didn't start out the story planning for Adria to make the choices she did, but then it just wouldn't work with either of those guys.

I was proud of Adria and the choice she made to not marry Carlton as he would have stifled her and she would not have been happy.  Plus his temper really worried me.

I think you understood the problem Adria had with Carlton even though she had always expected to someday marry him. But he did love the idea of who he wanted her to be and now who she was. 

Thanks so much for all the great questions, Nora, and for sharing your thoughts about my book.

I loved this book and am so glad that we had it on our reading list. My favorite character was Will. He really struggled with his faith and his actions while he was struggling is so like my spiritual journey too. Louis is my second favorite character and I was so very glad to read that he was a real-life character. Historical fiction has got to be my favorite genre!

Interesting comments, Nora. I do think Adria wanted to be a wife and mother if she could be respected for who she was or wanted to be. At that time in history, women were expected to stay out of the limelight and not express opinions about anything in the public arena. Women had to fight for their rights and the fight was only just beginning at the time of this story. You can see the difficulty when you think of how long it took women to win the vote. So Adria has an uphill battle to live the life she imagines and find a man who will love her as she is without wanting to change her. I don't think we, as modern women, can really grasp how different things are for women now than in the 1800's.  It was once thought that too much education would strain a woman's brain and make her insane. 

I wonder what men of the 1800s would think of women of our era as our brains seemed to have survived higher education.  Wouldn’t they be shocked to see us in positions of power.

Thank you Ann for telling us about Louis a true servant of God, and for giving us a story full of faith with lots to think and talk about.

So glad you enjoyed the book, Sharen. I do think many people do struggle like Will when hard things happen in life. While we can pray believing as Louis suggests, the answers we get aren't always what we want. But even through Will's struggles, he never doubted the Lord was there and that it was him, Will, who had stepped away.

I say today is the last day of this discussion BUT you are WELCOME to place your comments here any time you finish the book. That's the beauty of the on-line book club.
14. What was the feeling you got when you read the last page and closed the book? Why were you feeling that way?
I think it was a good ending. It felt to me the author was set for a sequel which I'd love to read.
15. Did you like how the story ended? If not, how would you have changed the ending? Why, make the change?
I liked the ending and wouldn't change it.
Tell me what you think. I look forward to hearing it.

All was wrapped up and I was totally at peace/feeling of serenity with how Ann chose to end this wonderful story.

I wouldn’t change a thing about the ending. Would love to read the sequel but nevertheless overall very satisfied.

Good to know that, Adriann. I have had readers say they wish I had told a little more. And I've read plenty of books where I wish I could follow a character a little farther on. On my new release, The Refuge, coming out in a few weeks, I do have an afterword to sort of let readers peek farther into the future with my characters. I did that in The Innocent too, but I don't usually have that extra chapter. I think sometimes it's better to let the readers imagine what next and to think about how the characters' lives went on happily.

I agree with you Ann.  As a child growing up I spent my reading since we did not have a television.  Keeping my nose constantly in a book absorbing everything I read constantly triggered my imagination, made me question everything and think about what if.  To this day my imagination is still in full force.  The way you ended River of Redemption allowed me to continue the story in many different ways using my imagination.  When you get the go to write the sequel I cannot wait to see if one of my what ifs turns out to coincide with yours.

Thank you Ann for joining us in our little group as this is my only lifeline to discussing books with other readers now that I am disabled.  Thank you Nora for making this group possible.  You have opened up a brand new world of reading for me, and I so enjoy being able to share my thoughts with you and the other members of our group.

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