This is a really good book and thoroughly enjoyed it! Usually, if I post about a book, I post a review. This time, however, rather than writing an actual review, I decided to just answer the discussion questions found in the back of the book. If you haven’t read “The Lady Of Bolton Hill”, you might not want to read this post. If you have read the book, I would love for you to share your thoughts on it.
1. Daniel and Clara forge an intense bond, sparked by their shared love of music, when they are merely adolescents. Have you ever bonded with another person over a shared love of a musician, artist, or literary genre? Is there something about the adolescent years that makes it easier to forge intense friendships?
— 1st question: Yes, I have.
— 2nd question: I think it is sometimes easier for a younger person to “forge intense friendships” partly because people seem to become more — guarded? reluctant? — as they get older. They guard their feelings more and are reluctant to become close with “new” people. Some young people (though not all) are more open. This is definitely not always the case, though.
2. Do you think Reverend Endicott is a good father? Why or why not?
— I think he was the best father he knew how to be. Did he do everything right? Of course not! Nobody does. But he did try to do what he thought was best/necessary for his daughter. He loved her and she knew that and that’s what matters most.
3. By the end of the book, Daniel has surrendered his quest for vengeance. Has there ever been a time in your life when you needed to let go of a grievance, knowing you will never receive justice? Did the decision bring you peace or is it still a struggle for you?
— 1st question: Yes. One instance in particular comes immediately to my mind.
— 2nd question: I have found that, though it is usually hard to surrender such feelings, it brings me an immense amount of peace & relief to give my feelings to the Lord and trust Him to take care of the situation. It’s so much better for me to pray for the people involved rather than harbor hard feelings against them; and the longer I pray for them, the easier it becomes to do so.
4. Bane tests Clara by offering her the freedom to walk away from him. It was Clara’s willingness to accept Bane’s challenge that helped fuel Bane’s conversion. Has there ever been anyone in your life who has helped inspire your faith?
— Yes. Not to the extent, perhaps, that Clara inspired Bane’s, though. I loved that particular scene. It was one of my favorites. Quote from the book: “If she walked out that door she could be safe at home within the hour. This nightmare would be over and she could go about her life and make amends with Daniel. And she would know that when she had been tempted, she had failed.” I can only hope that I would respond correctly if placed in such a situation…
5. Daniel’s and Clara’s initial relationship was platonic, but it grew into something else as they grew older. What are the chances that a platonic friendship can blossom into a lasting romantic relationship? Is it possible that such relationships have more chance for success since they are founded upon something other than initial physical attraction?
— I don’t know what the “chances are”, but I have seen it happen. I do think that it’s definitely more likely to have a lasting romantic relationship that was founded on friendship rather than just physical attraction.
6. Mrs. Garfield, the Professor’s housekeeper, is fully aware of the criminal activities that are occurring in the Vermont mansion, but she does little to protest. What is the responsibility of a Christian when they are living in the midst of evil they have little or no chance of stopping?
— The wording of this question confuses me a bit because I don’t remember it ever being said or even implied that Mrs. Garfield was a Christian… However, if she was, I think she should have — if at all possible — gotten herself out of that place a long time ago and let the authorities know what was going on. As for the responsibility of Christians in any such situation, I think it would greatly depend on the exact situation they found themselves in. Sometimes, you literally cannot get away. Sometimes, you are put in that particular place in order to have an influence over someone. There is one thing you can always do, though: Pray.
7. Just as Daniel and Clara fantasized about becoming great composers, most children dream about becoming famous football players, rock stars, movie stars, etc. Very few will succeed in realizing these dazzling childhood ambitions, but does that mean their aspirations are wasted? What do we bring with us into adulthood from those childhood dreams?
— I don’t really remember any of the ambitions I might’ve had as a child, so I don’t have any personal input on this one. I do think it’s important, though, to allow a child to have his dreams and ambitions, and even encourage them. If children stop dreaming and wanting to do something with their lives… then what happens? I don’t know that I really answered that question, but that’s really all I have to say…
8. Clara’s father aggressively intervenes in her life to shape her destiny, first pushing her toward music, then separating her from Daniel. Although this had bad consequences in the novel, is it ever appropriate for a parent to intervene in their child’s life when it appears the child is on the wrong path? What is the best way for a parent to influence a headstrong child?
— 1st question: I think it can be appropriate for a parent to intervene in their child’s life in such a situation. Though, sometimes, a child needs to suffer the consequences of choosing the “wrong path”. Sometimes a parent’s intervention will only make a child more determined to continue on that path.
— 2nd question: Each child is different and will respond in different ways, so the only answer to this question is this: Pray and ask God for guidance in how to deal with that particular child. Wisdom is required in these situations and you can only get wisdom by asking God to give it to you.
Very insightful review.
I loved this book. With number 6, I can see it like you did, but like you said about influence (if she couldn’t leave) I think sometimes Christians have been too quick to leave the field at times. It may be that it was her example (no matter how small) of caring and living in a different way — as a mother to him – that may have planted seeds that were able to be watered later. If the boys had no one with any heart to care for them — if she were Christian and left – who might have replaced her? How would they have been treated? How would they have ended up? Initially only men of influence, religion and integrity were in politics. Then it became distasteful and they left it to the ones more willing to be “shady.” Maybe it isn’t even about these characters. If Clara had left we know Bane wouldn’t have changed. Yet it would have seemed like the smart and sensible thing to do for a young Christian lady. I don’t know that the answers are always as black and white as they seem.
Thanks for the input, Margaret. 🙂 I enjoy reading what other people think…
That part where Bane offers Clara her freedom was my favorite part of the book. I mean, sure, the romance and mystery aspects were great, but when she made the decision to stay… I don’t know how to say what I felt right then. She had more impact on Bane in that one moment than she could ever realize. It really made me think about what I would do in such a situation and it challenged me to pray for the strength to always make the right decision, even when it means doing something I might not want to do.