1. Discuss the ways the author uses landscape as a character in The Quickening.
2. The tension between Enidina and Mary slowly builds from a personality conflict until it becomes an enduring family feud. In what ways does this evolve from a difference in values? In what ways is it shaped by external forces?
3. As a reader, did you find yourself “taking sides”? Why? Did your allegiances change over the course of the book?
4. How does the novel explore the uneasy relationship between money and morality? In dire financial times, how do the Currents balance the needs of their family and farm, and what they believe is right? What about the Morrows? How are these themes and dilemmas relevant to our own time?
5. Compare Enidina and Frank’s marriage to Jack and Mary’s. How does their love change over the course of the novel? In each relationship, how do circumstances bring them together? How do they drive them apart?
6. One of the driving forces and major themes of The Quickening is betrayal. How does betrayal–real or perceived–shape the relationships between various characters? In which cases do you think the character is right to feel wronged? In which cases do you disagree?
7. Do you think that Enidina and Mary’s friendship is entirely one of necessity? After all, the Currents managed fine before the Morrows moved in down the road. If it is, then what kind of necessity? Practical, emotional, financial, familial? How does this change over the course of the novel?
8. How are the children–especially Kyle and Adaline–shaped by the relationship between their mother and father? Between their two families?
9. How does Mary’s religious devotion affect her sense of righteousness? Do you believe that she genuinely tries to do the right thing? Or does she, more often, try to convince herself that she has done the right thing?
10. What do you think the novel says about the possibility and nature of forgiveness? Is redemption possible? Do the characters find it?