1. Taylor grew up without her father’s presence, and she believes this contributed to her inability to form healthy relationships. She perceives his absence as rejection, and even with a doctorate in psychology, she believes she is a loser. Do you think this is a common problem in families where a parent is absent?
2. After her father left, Taylor’s mom never talked about what happened, shrouding the subject in secrecy. Do you believe her mother’s silence contributes to Taylor’s problems? Have you experienced loss or issues in your family that everyone knew about, but no one talked about? How did you deal with it?
3. The story opens with Nick searching for his alcoholic brother, wondering if he’d been right to practice “tough love” with Scott. Then, when Scott ends up in the hospital, Nick takes him in. Do you think Nick took the right approach or should he have applied tough love again? Do you think one approach fits all with family members and addiction?
4. Taylor tells Nick she’d found a bias in educational circles against a Southern accent. Nick responds by telling her she missed a good chance to prove them wrong. Do you agree with Nick? Or do you think Taylor was right to change a basic part of her Southern roots? Have you ever changed something about yourself to fit in?
5. In the first chapter, Sheriff Dale Atkins tells Taylor that God will bring the right man into her life, then later her mother and a friend echo those words. Taylor doubts that God is interested in her love life. Do you think God is interested in every detail of our lives? Why or Why not?
6. Taylor is upset when she discovers her mom wants to sell the family home—until she learns the house is a constant reminder of what her mother has lost. Can you think of a time when you were so caught up in your own hurts that you failed to consider how another person might be affected?