1.What accounts for the differences in Maggie MacAuley’s perception of her hometown (Skingle Creek), from that of her sisters? What do you believe helps to form our feelings about the place where we live?
2.After Maggie willingly, if reluctantly, resigns from her job in Chicago to stay in Skingle Creek and help her parents, it seems that God answers her prayers by giving her a teaching position at the school. Later we sense that there might have been more to this answered prayer than Maggie first realized. What else came about once she turned over what she wanted to do and accepted what God wanted her to do?
3.Early in the story, it’s clear that Jonathan Stuart struggles with confusing, questionable feelings for both Maggie and Carolyn Ross. What accounts for the conflict of his emotions toward each? How does he handle these emotions?
4.When Jonathan and Maggie have a difference of opinion on what they can do to help students such as Huey and Selma Lazlo, Jonathan shares his belief with Maggie that there are times when it seems that prayer is the most important thing they can do, even the only thing they can do for a student. What does he see in Maggie at that moment reminiscent of the younger Maggie, when she was his student? What qualities does he remember and recognize in her again that combine to make her so special?
5.What are some of the changes Kate MacAuley has seen in her husband since the cave-in in which he was injured? Are all the changes in Matthew of a physical nature?
6.What was one of the first signs Maggie noticed that something is wrong with her older sister, Eva Grace, when she comes home for a “visit” without her husband?
7.What are some of the opinions that Maggie and her parents have formed, fairly or unfairly, about Eva Grace’s husband, Richard Barlow? Do those opinions turn out to be accurate or in opposition to the facts about Barlow?
8.Were you surprised when the truth about the Lazlo children’s parents was finally revealed? What do you think accounts for the father’s behavior? The mother’s? Who bore the most guilt?
9.Why does Jonathan Stuart dislike Fridays so much? Was there ever a time when you felt the shadow of depression closing in on you as the weekend approached? How did you handle your feelings?
10.Maggie and Jonathan’s need to escape their feelings of loneliness bring them together in an unexpected way one Friday evening. What were some of the results of that meeting?