1. Mr. Hammond knew that William was Emma’s father for many years, but he chose not to divulge this information to William until he felt the time was right. Do you agree or disagree with Mr. Hammond’s decision to keep Isabelle’s secret? Why or why not? How do you think William’s actions would have been different if he knew the truth earlier?
2. During the Regency period, if a woman was not married by the age of twenty-five or so, she was already considered a spinster. Does this surprise you? Patience believes herself to be a spinster and thinks her opportunity for a husband and children of her own has passed her by. How do you think this belief affects her decisions through the course of the story?
3. Which character (male or female) in the book do you identify with the most? It was ways are you similar to that character?
4. When Lydia arrives at Rosemere, Patience initially resents her new sister-in-law’s presence. Over time, however, Patience begins to feel friendship for Lydia and eventually enjoys her company and considers her family. Have you ever had a relationship that you initially resented but that ended up being a very positive one?
5. Do you think William Sterling will be a good father to Emma?
6. William finds it difficult to forgive himself for past mistakes, and throughout the course of the story he works hard to redeem himself. What do you think that William learned through the course of the story? How has he changed by the story’s end?
7. How would the story have been different if Rawdon never returned from London?
8. When Cassandra learns that Rawdon has married another, she decides to leave Rosemere, the only home she has ever known. If you were Cassandra, would you have made the same choice? Why or why not?
9. It what ways is Patience different at the end of the novel than she was at the beginning? In what ways does she remain the same?
10. It is your turn … what’s the next chapter of this story? Does Patience continue to teach at Rosemere after she and William marry, or does she leave the running of the school to Rawdon? Do Patience and William start a family right away? Are William’s plans to become a horse breeder successful, and if so, what impact would this have on their family? If you were they author, what is next for William and Patience?