7. Jessamine had long carried a romanticized idea in her mind of “the prince who loved her mother,” that is, her father. Do you think that made it harder to accept the man her father was when he came to get her, or do you think it made it easier?
8. Jessamine is such a complete innocent since she has had such limited exposure to the world. She is, at turns, fascinated and repelled by the actions of the people at White Oak Springs. Which things do you think she might have the most difficult time learning to accept in the world outside the Shaker village?
9. Sheldon Brady gave his infant daughter to his grandmother to raise. Do you think he was right to so completely desert Jessamine there and not plan to go back to see her until she was twelve? Do you think he was considering what was best for Jessamine or what was best for him? What do you think would have been best for Jessamine?
10. White Oak Springs, a spa for the well-to-do, and Harmony Hill, the Shaker village, existed in the same county. Both thrived with very different lifestyles for many years and then declined and disappeared from the scene. Why do you think that happened? What do you feel were the most dramatic differences between the two places?
11. Partly because of his experiences in the Mexican War, Tristan doubts the existence of God. Do you understand why he felt that way? Or do you feel being in a war might be an even greater reason to seek a closer relationship with God? What did make Tristan finally reach for belief?
12. Jessamine had a gift of words and a love of stories, but she seemed unable to channel those gifts into anything the Shakers could accept as good. They believed the beauty in anything, whether a chair, a rose, or words, was in its usefulness to the community of Believers and not in how it might be pleasing to the eye or mind. Do you believe Jessamine’s gift of words was from the Lord? Does he open up ways for us to use our diverse gifts for him?