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Leaving November, Clayburn Novels Series #2Leaving November, Clayburn Novels Series #2
Deborah Raney
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Daughter of the town drunk, Vienne Kenney has escaped Clayburn for law school in California. But after failing the bar exam—twice—she is back home with her tail between her legs, managing Latte-dah, the Clayburn cafe turned upscale coffee shop. Jackson Linder runs the art gallery across the street and Vienne has had her eye on him since she was a skinny seventh grader and he was the hunky high school lifeguard who did not know she existed. Now it is his turn to fall for her and suddenly Clayburn seems like a pretty nice place to be...until Vienne discovers that Jack is fresh out of rehab and still struggling with the same addiction that ultimately killed her father.



 Leaving November Discussion Questions by Deborah Raney

Discussion Questions for Leaving November

1. In Leaving November, Vienne Kenney has escaped the hometown where she always felt second-class because of her father’s alcoholism. She’s sought to become “somebody” by getting a law degree.
Have you ever sought validation by striving for material things to make you feel worthy? A degree or title? A bigger home or fancier car? A prestigious address or a lucrative occupation? If so, have these things accomplished what you hoped they would, and given you a sense of worthiness? If not, why do you think that is? What happens to the temporary sense of worth such things can give when they are suddenly taken away from us the way Vienne’s future in law was when she failed the bar exam for the second time?


2. Jackson Linder comes home from nine months in rehab, still struggling with his desire for a drink. Have you ever suffered from an addiction that held you in its grip for months or years after you stopped the addictive behavior? Maybe you’re struggling with an addiction or a bad habit right now. How do you continue to have hope in the face of ongoing temptation? What have you found that helps you in your struggle? If you’ve overcome a past addiction or bad habit, what secrets can you share with those still struggling?


3. While she felt humiliated about failing the bar two times, Vienne comes to realize that she really isn’t cut out to be a lawyer. Her reasons for seeking a law degree had nothing to do with the way God had gifted her or with God’s leading in her life. Instead it was all about trying to find self-worth.
How do you feel about Vienne “wasting” her law degree? Have you ever sought after something, only to realize once you attained it, that it wasn’t what you wanted after all? How did you deal with that realization? Is it possible Vienne’s education wasn’t wasted after all, in spite of that fact that she’s now running a coffee shop? Explain.


4. As Vienne becomes friends with Jack, she almost doesn’t realize that she is falling in love with him. Have you had a similar experience? If so, what did you find to be the pros and cons of falling in love with someone who was a friend before they were a romantic interest? How did your story end?



5. The downside of Vienne’s falling in love with Jack is that when she discovers Jack has struggled with an addiction to alcohol, she realizes he has the one fault she promised never to abide in a man (because of her father’s alcoholism.)
If you were in Vienne’s shoes, how would you handle the situation? Would you break off all contact with Jack? Would you do as Vienne grudgingly did and try to remain friends, while putting aside thoughts of romance? Or are there other possibilities? Read Colossians 3:1-15 and 1 Peter 4:8 and discuss how these commands might apply to Jack and Vienne’s situation.


6. Forgiveness is a large theme woven throughout Leaving November. Vienne is faced with forgiving her father (who never repented). Then she must forgive Jack’s past. Jack has been forgiven of a great mistake (even though it was unintentional). Now, he must forgive his birthfather, as well as forgiving Vienne for her judgment of him.
Forgiveness is difficult, especially when there is no remorse. Have you struggled to forgive someone in your life? In what situation(s)? What do you think it means to “forgive and forget”? Read Psalm 103:8-14. Is it possible to ever truly forget a wrong that was done to us? Why or why not?


7. Like Jack, Wren has to deal with events from her past that color her present life. How do you feel about the way Wren handled Marcus Tremaine’s reentrance into her life? Do you think Wren gave Jack enough information about his father? Why or why not?


8. Jack’s confrontation with his birthfather left him feeling conflicted about what his response should be. What do you think about the way Jack handled his father’s attempt to be a part of his life? How could Jack have handled it differently?



9. Jack’s addiction to alcohol began as an escape from his shame and sorrow over the accident he inadvertently caused. Do you view Jack’s addiction any differently knowing this? How do you think the circumstances might have changed the methods counselors used to help Jack recover?
Discuss some of the recovery techniques Jack used to remain sober. How did you feel about the way his recovery was portrayed in the book? Did you trust that Jack had his addictions under control by the end of the book? Why or why not? If Vienne were your daughter, would you be comfortable with her having a romantic relationship with Jack? Why or why not?


10. Vienne felt quite a bit of animosity toward Pete Truesdell. What reasons did she give for this, and did you think her feelings were justified? Is it possible there were other reasons Pete irritated Vienne that she wasn’t willing to admit? What might those reasons have been?


11. Pete reveals to Jack that, for thirty-two years, he’s struggled with the same addiction Jack is struggling with. How did that make Jack feel? When you’re in the midst of a trial or temptation, is it helpful to know that others have the same struggle? Why or why not?
Read Romans 5:1-5 and Romans 12:15. In what ways can you find something positive in your own trials, knowing that someday you may be able to offer comfort to those who are walking in your shoes?



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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
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     • (The) Bridesmaid: Beverly Lewis
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     • Brigid of Ireland: Cindy Thomson
     • Burn: Ted Dekker


     • (The) Calling: Suzanne Woods Fisher
     • (The) Chance: Karen Kingsbury
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     • Chasing the Sun: Tracie Peterson
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     • 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
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     • Dying to Read: Lorena McCourtney


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     • Freefall: Kristen Heitzmann
     • Frontiersman's Daughter: Laura Frantz


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     • 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


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     • (A) Lasting Impression: Tamera Alexander
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     • 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
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     • Naomi's Gift: Amy Clipston
     • Never Far From Home: Mary Ellis
     • Nightshade: by Ronie Kendig
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     • Paper Roses, by Amanda Cabot
     • Plain Jayne, by Hillary Manton Lodge
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     • 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
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