1. In the historical context of The Pelican Bride, Geneviève escapes France because of religious persecution. Think for a minute about some doctrines of your denomination. Are there any that are controversial, especially politically? Are there any which have created divisions in your family or circle of friends? Which ones, if any, do you consider worth dying for?
2. Jean Cavalier was a real historical person. He was willing to take up a sword to defend others who were being persecuted for their religious beliefs, making him a hero to some and a felon and traitor to others. Discuss the circumstances under which civil disobedience, even violence, might be warranted. How far is too far?
3. Getting down to a more interpersonal level, how well do you think Geneviève handled her differences with her sister Aimée? Too passive? Too strong? Are there people you are close to who seem to easily push your buttons? What are your strategies for mentoring/dicipling them without pushing them away? Or do you think sometimes drawing a line in the sand is the only recourse?
4. What do you think about Aimée’s initial self-centered attitude and immaturity? Was it justified by the way her parents treated her and by the traumatic events of her young life? Why or why not? Do you think her journey into adulthood is realistically portrayed? In what ways?
5. What do you think will happen to Aimée after the conclusion of the book? Do you see her happily married?
6. If you had lived in the settlement of Fort Louis de la Louisiane, what would you have made of Bienville, given the events of this story? He was a historical personage surrounded by a good bit of controversy. Can you relate some of his dealings to political personages of our day? Do you sympathize with his frustration over the interference of the priests in the governance of the colony? Why? What role should Christians play in politics, if any?
7. European dealings with native populations have become a sore spot in American history. What changes in your thinking occurred as you read The Pelican Bride? In what ways did you sympathize with Nika?
8. Character back story plays an enormous part in the forward motion of the plot of The Pelican Bride. Choose a character and discuss how well his or her actions are justified by the events of their past.
9. Do you think of Geneviève as a traitor? Why or why not?
10. Are there plot threads that were not resolved to your satisfaction? If so, how would you have resolved them?
11. Do you think Ysabeau’s descent into madness is permanent? What evidence do you see that she may recover—or not? How can a society humanely treat its mentally ill citizens without endangering all?
12. Tristan and Geneviève commit to what is sometimes called a “marriage of convenience.” Predict what you think will be the future of their family. How well should you know someone before you commit to marriage?