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Fierce and fragile, the mysterious Elizabeth is obsessively drawn to the promise of gold in 1880s Alaska. But when kind Noah Wesley saves her life during a violent blizzard, she won't tell him why she's chasing her dream through a pounding storm. Can these cold and lonely hearts risk everything and be forever warmed? 304 pages, softcover from B&H.
1. Based on Jane’s relationship with her father and not having a mother, she tried to fill the hole with an unwise relationship. What is it that moves us to fill inner emptiness with something temporal? Have you ever longed for love to the extent of relinquishing some of your moral beliefs? If so, what was the result?
2. Elizabeth made bad choices because she was too afraid to trust anyone but herself. Why do we do allow situations to lead us to depend on our own strengths, instead of trusting in God and the people He placed around you to help? Can you pinpoint areas that you close off from God?
3. When Elizabeth shows up on his doorstep Noah is confronted with a choice of how deeply he will get involved. What controls your choices to stay in your comfort zone? How would you respond to a request to let in the unlovely, the wretched? What are other ways you can give to others?
4. Noah tentatively tries to help Elizabeth recover. Her response is telling of her past experience with people. Has humankind failed you and if so, how? Do you judge the motivations of others and see the best intentions toward you or the worst? God never fails. Do you trust God to be that big for you?
5. Elizabeth is convinced she can find gold if she has the chance to get to Dawson City and the Yukon Territory. When you were a child, what did you dream of being? Are your dreams and goals much different now? If so, what changed?
6. Noah is trying to reach Elizabeth’s heart. She is guarded and says things that hurt him. Have you been the person reaching out to someone hurting like Elizabeth? Are you empathetic? Able to be patient and loving in the face of rejection?
7. Noah’s friend Jacko arrives on the scene. This brings a new dynamic to Noah and Elizabeth’s relationship. What kinds of friends do you choose for yourself? Do your friends bring out the best in you or the worst? What kind of influence are you on your friends?
8. When Elizabeth remembers the rape, she has an emotional breakdown. Noah struggles with how to help her, crying out to God for advice. Have you had times in your life where the last person you were talking to was God? What caused you to pull away from Him? How can we keep God first in our hearts?
9. Elizabeth is being pursued by a dark evil and her response is to run away. Have you ever felt pursued by evil? What did that look like? Did God reveal ways of spiritual warfare to combat it? What do you know about the armor of God?
10. To increase her chances of getting into the group going to the Klondike, Elizabeth allows the men to believe she can cook. Are there “womanly tasks” that you are lousy at? Do you strive to be a super woman?
11. Joe Brandon is the bad guy in the story. While you may have never done anything truly evil, can you think of a time when you were the bad guy? What was your motivation for hurting someone else? How did it change you?
12. The preacher in Elizabeth’s group asks her if she needs to seek God’s forgiveness for her past. Elizabeth replies that it’s too early for that, that she doesn’t “have it all together” enough to start talking to God. Do you back away from God in an area because you aren’t ready for the commitment?
13. Elizabeth tells Noah a heart-breaking lie to protect him from the mess she is. Have you ever hidden your real self from someone because you didn’t think you were good enough for them? Have you ever let an opportunity of a relationship pass by because you thought you would never match up to that person?
14. When Elizabeth is forced to admit to her wretched past she is ashamed and pushes Noah away with hurtful words. Noah confronts God and hears something he didn’t expect, that he has his faults in the relationship too. Do you see everyone else’s problems and think about how they could change? Can you try to see situations as God sees them?
15. As Jane’s father is laid to rest, she finds it within her to finally forgive him for making her give up Elizabeth. Moments later, she discovers he is far more evil. Has there been a person in your life who did something terrible to you that you had to forgive? Were you able to? Do you forgive them every time, even daily?
16. Ben finally, truly takes up his role of protector for Jane. What do you think protection from a man looks like? Do you ever reject it for fear that its power might be misused?
17. Noah finally wins his bride, but Elizabeth is still fraught with fears. If you are married, how did you feel on your wedding day? Your wedding night? Were you excited, scared, something in between? What advice would you give to young, single women about their wedding, marriage and wedding night?
18. Jane’s search for Elizabeth has almost reached its fruition. She’s nervous, afraid that she won’t be the person Elizabeth wants and Elizabeth won’t be the daughter she has envisioned. Have you ever wanted a relationship to be something different than the other person seemed able to give? Were your expectations in error, unrealistic? How humble are you in your relationships?
19. Noah takes his bride home but feels something is not right. He falls back on his own nature, trying to fix it himself. Are you thinking that the answer to their problems lies within your power to “work it out?” Are you willing to consider that God is holding the situation in the palm of his hands, waiting for you to surrender to it as well as the other person?
20. Noah and Elizabeth have a decision to make. What crossroads have you encountered in your life? Do you think, now, looking back that you made the right decision? How has that decision impacted the rest of your life? How can you and God come together on a course that will lead to the fulfilling of the purpose for your life?