The Rhythm of SecretsThe Rhythm of Secrets
Patti Lacy
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Sheila Franklin has lived three separate lives. Now a conservative pastor's wife in Chicago, she is skilled at hiding secrets--a talent birthed during childhood romps through the music-filled streets of New Orleans. But when the son she bore at the age of eighteen comes back looking for answers and desperate for help, her greatest secret--and greatest regret--is revealed.


 Rhythm of Secrets Discussion Questions: Patti Lacy


1.  The book opens with Sheila Alexander, a pastor’s wife, getting a mysterious phone call. Has your life been transformed in one second? Share such a time.


2.  As in Patti’s first two novels, The Rhythm of Secrets employs a frame device that links the past and present. Do you like to see two stories unfold at once or prefer a more linear approach?


3.  The book’s settings are instrumental in our heroine’s metamorphosis. Discuss things you learned about WWII French Quarter, postwar St. Paul, Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and the red light districts of Vietnam-era Thailand. In what ways does the heroine change as a result of her setting? How has your setting influenced who you are?


4.  How does Sheila exhibit growth as the story unfolds? How about Edward? Samuel?


5.  Patti has threaded “music literature” into the pages of this novel. Discuss ways that music becomes a character in the book.


6.  Starting with her first experience at Mimi’s New Orleans church, trace Sheila’s faith journey. How has your walk with Christ been similar? Different?


7.  How has societal treatment of unwed mothers changed since the era when Sheila was sent to the Home in St. Paul? Is it different inside and outside the church?


8.  The device of a fire is used during two pivotal scenes in the book to “transform” our main character. Discuss similarities and differences between the two life-changing trials through which Sheba/Sheila walked.


9.  A mysterious man confronts Sheila at the teak house. Discuss his role. Do you like the open-ended approach to this character’s involvement? Why or why not?


10. Two Vietnam veterans shared their experiences with Patti as she constructed Samuel. Time travel back to the turbulent 60s. Did this novel evoke feelings or memories of that period?


11.  How do the nuns, Miz W, and the Moody girls influence Sheila?


12.  Discuss Sheila’s conversion experience.


13.  Patti drew from real-life incidents—Sandy Sperrazza’s memories of her time at a Home, Billy Graham’s preaching on the Moody campus, a gentleman who did attempt to jump from Moody’s balcony. Did these scenes seem realistic to you, or did you find even truth hard to believe?


14.   Discuss the “so-what” of this novel, the takeaway value, and the themes.




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