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Sweeter Than Birdsong, Saddler's Legacy Series #2Sweeter Than Birdsong, Saddler's Legacy Series #2
Rosslyn Elliott
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When Ben casts lovely Kate Winter to sing in his latest show, they find they share a love for music and ideas. But Kate's mother wants her daughter to marry a rich man. Ben has given his life to God, not to the pursuit of wealth.

Kate Winter will be the first female graduate of Otterbein College, and every young man in town courts her. But Kate's dark family secrets leave her unspeakably shy. When Kate joins the Hanbys in their dangerous work on the Underground Railroad, she finds her courage and her voice. Can Ben and Kate find a way to be together in spite of the obstacle of Kate's family?
     


 

 Sweeter than Birdsong Discussion Questions: by Rosslyn Elliott


 

1. Why do you think Kate is so fearful about speaking in public? Is it her temperament or her personal history? Have you ever known someone who had this phobia? What effect did it have on that person?

 

2. Even though Kate suffers from great social anxiety, she is completely comfortable with her horse and willing to perform feats on horseback that others consider physically daring. Most people have similar odd mixes of courage and fearfulness, but we never learn those secrets about them. Is there an area in which you are courageous or fearful that might surprise those who know you?

 

 

3. How might Kate’s married life look if she married Frederick Jones? What does he seem to expect from her, and how does it differ from Ben’s attitude toward her?

 

 

4. Why is Ben so driven to fi nd Nelly and liberate her? How does such a strong passion for a good work help a person? How can it cause problems or mistakes?

 

 

5. How would you describe Kate’s relationship with her sister, Leah? What gets in the way of their closeness?

 

 

6. The circus performers include women who vault and do tricks on horseback in knee-length tutus. How did this violate social custom of the time? Why might it have appealed to Kate even as it shocked her? How might others in the audience have perceived those women in positive or negative ways? How do you think you would have reacted to them if you had lived in the 1850s?

 

 

7. John Parker was a real African-American hero who worked on the Underground Railroad in Ripley. What would it have been like for a black man to own a foundry right across the Ohio River from a slave state and even employ white men? What everyday challenges might John face, and what personal qualities would he need?

 

 

8. How does the journey with Nelly and her baby change Kate?

 

 

9. Why is Ben tempted to take the law clerkship? Is the advice his father gives him correct, and is Will Hanby wise to give his adult son such firm direction and principles? Under those circumstances, would you advise your adult son of the right path or keep silent? Do you think you would listen if you were the adult son or daughter in Ben’s position?

 

 

10. Why does Ben think “Darling Nelly Gray” has failed when he passes through the music store and the inn in Pittsburgh on his way to Philadelphia? Why does this failure affect him so deeply? How does the end of the novel affect your perspective on this moment in Pittsburgh?

 

 


11. In the historical afterword, we learn what happened to the real Ben Hanby and Kate Winter after their marriage. Despite the unexpected events of their life together, do you think the real Kate Winter was glad she married Ben Hanby? If you were Kate, would you think it was all worth the pain and sacrifices?

 

 

 

12. What are some of the reasons this novel is titled Sweeter than Birdsong?

 


 

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Discussion Question Index

A


 • Abigail: Jill Eileen Smith
 • Abigail's New Hope: Mary Ellis
 • Against All Odds: Irene Hannon
 • Against the Tide: Elizabeth Camden
 • Almost Forever: Deborah Raney

B


 • Blue Moon Promise: Colleen Coble
 • Blue Widow Brides: Maggie Brendan
 • Breach of Trust: DiAnn Mills
 • (The) Bridesmaid: Beverly Lewis
 • (The) Bridge: Karen Kingsbury
 • Brigid of Ireland: Cindy Thomson
 • Burn: Ted Dekker

C


 • (The) Calling: Suzanne Woods Fisher
 • (The) Chance: Karen Kingsbury
 • Chasing Mona Lisa: Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey
 • Chasing the Sun: Tracie Peterson
 • Choices of the Heart: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate: Diana Wallis Taylor
 • Critical Care: Candace Calvert
 • Crossing Oceans: Gina Holmes

D


 • (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
 • Double Minds: Terri Blackstock
 • Dying to Read: Lorena McCourtney

 F


 • Fair Is the Rose: Liz Curtis Higgs
 • Freefall: Kristen Heitzmann
 • Frontiersman's Daughter: Laura Frantz

G


 • Gift of Grace: Amy Clipston
 • Gone South: Meg Mosley
 • Grace: Shelley Shepard Gray

H


 • Havah; The Story of Eve: Tosca Lee
 • Heart's Safe Passage: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Highland Sanctuary: Jennifer Hudson Taylor
 • Hope of Refuge: Cindy Woodsmall

I


 • Intervention: Terri Blackstock
 • Into the Whirlwind: Elizabeth Camden
 • Invisible: Ginny Yttrup
 • Iscariot: Tosca Lee

J


 • (The) Jewel of His Heart: Maggie Brendan
 • June Bug: Chris Fabry

 K


 • Katie's Way: Marta Perry
 • Killer Among Us: Lynette Eason

L


 • Lady in the Mist: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Lady of Bolton Hill: Elizabeth Camden
 • Lady of Milkweed Manor: Julie Klassen
 • (A) Lasting Impression: Tamera Alexander
 • Leah's Choice: Marta Perry
 • 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

M

 • 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
 • My Heart Remembers: Kim Vogel Sawyer

N


 • Naomi's Gift: Amy Clipston
 • Never Far From Home: Mary Ellis
 • Nightshade: by Ronie Kendig
 • No Place for a Lady: Maggie Brendan
 • (A) Noble Groom: Jody Hedlund

O


P


 • Paper Roses, by Amanda Cabot
 • Plain Jayne, by Hillary Manton Lodge
 • Preacher's Bride: Jody Hedlund
 • Promise of an Angel: Ruth Reid


R


 • 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

S


 • 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
 • A Sound Among the Trees: Susan Meissner
 • The Sweetest Thing: Elizabeth Musser

T


 • Tailor Made Bride: Karen Witemeyer
 • That Certain Summer: Irene Hannon