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Good Hope RoadGood Hope Road
Lisa Wingate
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In a time of crisis, two women come together—and set off down a road of hope...

Twenty-year-old Jenilee Lane, whose dreams are as narrow as the sky is wide, doesn’t imagine any good could come out of the tornado that has ripped across the Missouri farmland where she makes her home. But some inner spark compels her to take action. To rescue her elderly neighbor Eudora Gibson from the cellar in which she’s been trapped. To make her way to the nearby town of Poetry, where the townspeople have begun to gather in the only building left standing. To collect from the devastated landscape fragments of life that lie strewn about in the tornado’s wake: letters, photographs, and mementos that might mean something to people who have lost everything.


 Good Hope Road Discussion Questions: Lisa Wingate


1. Good Hope Road describes a community recovering from the destruction caused by a cataclysmic natural event.  Have you experienced anything similar in your own life, or do you know people who have?  How might one’s experience of destruction caused by an act of war, as on September 11th, differ from one’s experience of a natural disaster? 



2. Although the townspeople have ignored Jenilee’s plight throughout her life, she instinctively comes to the aid of her neighbor, Eudora Gibson, after the storm. On the other hand, at first, Jenilee doesn’t think to bring emergency supplies from home to the center of town.  Why does she behave inconsistently in this regard? Is one act instinctual and the other a learned response? Where does the instinct to help come from? Do other characters in the book have it? Do you and the people you know?  How does one learn to become a caring member of a community?



3. The storm and the days afterward prove to be important turning points in the lives of Jenilee Lane, Eudora Gibson, and Dr. Albright.  Why are these three characters so changed by their experiences?  Can you compare their experiences to an important turning point in your own life?



4. Of all the items she finds in the debris, Jenilee is most fascinated by the photographs.  Why? What do they symbolize for her?  Compare what she does with the photographs to what people in real communities have done with photographs after great tragedies—for example, in Oklahoma City after the bombing of the Federal Building; in Littleton, Colorado, after the school shooting; in New York City after September 11th. Why do you think that Jenilee feels, and the people of these real-life communities felt, such a strong need to publicly share those photographs? Discuss the impact of the photographs on the community.



5. At the beginning of Good Hope Road, Jenilee Lane is a young woman whose abusive family situation and limited circumstances have led her to expect very little from life.  By the end of the book, she sees new possibilities for herself.  Discuss the specific events in the novel that bring her to a place where she can see beyond the present to a brighter future.  Why is her transformation so difficult?  Do you know people like Jenilee? What efforts have been made to help them and what have the results been like?  Why is it so difficult to change people’s expectations of themselves, and where does our responsibility lie in helping them?



6. For much of the novel, Jenilee is angry at her brother, Drew, for having left her and their younger brother, Nate, alone to face their abusive father and ill mother.  Was Drew wrong to leave the family? In what ways has he both succeeded and failed to overcome the limitations of his upbringing?  In what ways are the responses of Jenilee, Drew, and Nate typical of children raised in abusive homes?



7. Don’t read this question if you haven’t already finished the novel.  At the end of Good Hope Road, Jenilee’s father is still very ill, but if he recovers from surgery, the expectation is that he will be placed in a Veteran’s hospital for long-term care, thus freeing Jenilee and her brothers from his undermining influence.  If a facility such as the Veterans hospital did not exist, what affect might that have on the futures of Jenilee, Drew, and Nate?



8. Many of Eudora Gibson’s problems in life are the result of bitterly held resentments regarding past events.  She concludes that God has been letting hardships come to her in order to prod her into “turn(ing) over the reins” of her life.  Do you agree with her assessment? Why or why not?



9. Dr. Albright arrives on the scene with an unfriendly, all-business attitude, and shows little concern for his patients as people.  How does he change in the course of the novel, and what specific events provoke that change?  What changes do you think he will intend to make when he returns home? Will he succeed?



10.  The story of the moth struggling to become a new creature begins and ends the book.    
Why do you think the author chose to frame the book with this image?  Is it effective?




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Discussion Question Index


 • Abigail: Jill Eileen Smith
 • Abigail's New Hope: Mary Ellis
 • Against All Odds: Irene Hannon
 • Against the Tide: Elizabeth Camden
 • Almost Forever: Deborah Raney


 • Blue Moon Promise: Colleen Coble
 • Blue Widow Brides: Maggie Brendan
 • Breach of Trust: DiAnn Mills
 • (The) Bridesmaid: Beverly Lewis
 • (The) Bridge: Karen Kingsbury
 • Brigid of Ireland: Cindy Thomson
 • Burn: Ted Dekker


 • (The) Calling: Suzanne Woods Fisher
 • (The) Chance: Karen Kingsbury
 • Chasing Mona Lisa: Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey
 • Chasing the Sun: Tracie Peterson
 • Choices of the Heart: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate: Diana Wallis Taylor
 • Critical Care: Candace Calvert
 • Crossing Oceans: Gina Holmes


 • (The) Dance: Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley
 • Deadline: Randy Alcorn
 • Deadly Devotion: Sandra Orchard
 • Deadly Ties: Vicki Hinze
 • Deception: Randy Alcorn
 • (The) Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow: Olivia Newport
 • (The) Discovery: Dan Walsh
 •  Dolled Up to Die: Lorena McCourtney
 • Demon: A Memoir: Tosca Lee
 • Digitalis: Ronie Kendig
 • Dogwood: Chris Fabry
 • Double Minds: Terri Blackstock
 • Dying to Read: Lorena McCourtney


 • Fair Is the Rose: Liz Curtis Higgs
 • Freefall: Kristen Heitzmann
 • Frontiersman's Daughter: Laura Frantz


 • Gift of Grace: Amy Clipston
 • Gone South: Meg Mosley
 • Grace: Shelley Shepard Gray


 • Havah; The Story of Eve: Tosca Lee
 • Heart's Safe Passage: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Highland Sanctuary: Jennifer Hudson Taylor
 • Hope of Refuge: Cindy Woodsmall


 • Intervention: Terri Blackstock
 • Into the Whirlwind: Elizabeth Camden
 • Invisible: Ginny Yttrup
 • Iscariot: Tosca Lee


 • (The) Jewel of His Heart: Maggie Brendan
 • June Bug: Chris Fabry


 • Katie's Way: Marta Perry
 • Killer Among Us: Lynette Eason


 • Lady in the Mist: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Lady of Bolton Hill: Elizabeth Camden
 • Lady of Milkweed Manor: Julie Klassen
 • (A) Lasting Impression: Tamera Alexander
 • Leah's Choice: Marta Perry
 • The Lesson: Suzanne Woods Fisher
 • Lethal Remedy: Richard Mabry
 • Life in Defiance: MaryLu Tyndall
 • Like Dandelion Dust: Karen Kingsbury
 • Lonestar Sanctuary: Colleen Coble
 • Lonestar Secrets: Colleen Coble
 • Love Amid the Ashes: Mesu Andrews
 • Love at Any Cost: By Julie Lessman
 • Love Calls: Lorna Sielstad
 • Love in a Broken Vessel: Mesu Andrews


 • Making Waves: Lorna Sielstad
 • (A) Memory Between Us: Sarah Sundin
 • Moon in the Mango Tree: Pamela Ewen
 • Moonlight Masquerade: Ruth Axtell
 • (A) Most Peculiar Circumstance: Jen Turano
 • My Heart Remembers: Kim Vogel Sawyer


 • Naomi's Gift: Amy Clipston
 • Never Far From Home: Mary Ellis
 • Nightshade: by Ronie Kendig
 • No Place for a Lady: Maggie Brendan
 • (A) Noble Groom: Jody Hedlund



 • Paper Roses, by Amanda Cabot
 • Plain Jayne, by Hillary Manton Lodge
 • Preacher's Bride: Jody Hedlund
 • Promise of an Angel: Ruth Reid


 • Rebekah: by Jill Eileen Smith
 • Redeeming Love: Francine Rivers
 • Redemption: Karen Kingsbury & Gary Smalley
 • (A) Reluctant Queen: Joan Wolf
 • Remember to Forget: Deborah Raney
 • Remembered: Tamera Alexander


 • Sarah's Gift: Marta Perry
 • Shadows of the Past: Patricia Bradley
 • Simple Choices: Nancy Mehl
 • Simple Deceit: Nancy Mehl
 • Slow Moon Rising: Eva Marie Everson
 • Someone to Blame: Susanne Lakin
 • A Sound Among the Trees: Susan Meissner
 • The Sweetest Thing: Elizabeth Musser


 • Tailor Made Bride: Karen Witemeyer
 • That Certain Summer: Irene Hannon