1. Why do you think Pickard chose to title her novel The Scent of Rain
and Lightning? How does she use weather and landscape as symbols in
2. How does Jody’s place in the community change after her father’s
3. How is Collin’s life affected?
4. What role do the residents of Rose have in Billy Crosby’s conviction?
5. The Linders are portrayed as the most influential family in the
county. What responsibility comes with such influence? Do any of the
Linders abuse their power, despite their good intentions?
6. Though Hugh Linder, Sr., is clearly the patriarch of the family, is he
really the most powerful figure in the clan?
7. The Scent of Rain and Lightning revolves around the theme of
revenge. What does this novel tell us about the nature of revenge?
8. The theme of forgiveness also plays a large role in the novel. How
does the story reveal the challenges of forgiveness? Are the characters
clearly in one camp or the other (revenge or forgiveness)? If so, how
would you divide them? And which characters, if any, bridge these
9. Was Meryl essentially a good guy, despite his affair with Laurie and
his role in Hugh-Jay’s death? Can a person really hide his or her true
character from his or her family so successfully for so many years?
10. Do you feel sympathy for the way Billy’s life turned out?
11. In the last moments of her life, Laurie seemed to have recognized
the errors of her ways. If the tragedy never occurred and Laurie had the
chance to grow old, would she have matured and become a better person,
wife, and mother?