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The Wishing Thread Reader’s Guide

By Lisa Van Allen

The Wishing Thread by Lisa Van Allen


Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. The three sisters, Bitty, Aubrey, and Meggie, are each very different and have spent a lot of time apart, but despite everything they all find their way back home upon the death of the aunt who raised them. What does the novel have to say about the bonds of sisterhood?

2. Each sister rejects, deals with, or embraces the idea of magic in her own way. Which sister do you relate to most? Are there themes in this book that run parallel with (or contrary to) the tenets of your faith community or your own personal ideas and beliefs?

3. At one point, Aubrey thinks “if the Madness was real, then the sacrifice of being a guardian of the Stitchery was a bigger, scarier thing than any single sacrifice made in the name of a single spell.” What is the connection between the Madness and magic? Do you think the Madness will continue to follow the family after the Stitchery is gone?

4. Why do you think Bitty started out so rebellious, but was so quick to embrace a socially acceptable lifestyle in adulthood and to distance herself from her sisters and the Stitchery?

5. Aubrey struggles with confidence throughout the book. What do you think was the main turning point for her? What made her believe in herself?

6. Meggie drops everything to go looking for the truth about her mother. Is there anything from your past you’d like to get to the bottom of?

7. Why do you think Aubrey feels that she can’t give in to her attraction to Vic?

8. The women of Tappan Square band together on Halloween Night to produce a feat of, if not magic, at the very least of remarkable artistry. What were the true effects of the yarn bombing? Do you feel the conclusion of the book indicates that magic is literally at work, that magic is something people choose to see, or that magic is what we make of it?

9. Were you upset by the fate of Tappan Square? What does this novel have to say about gentrification?

10. After Aubrey sacrifices Vic to save Tarrytown, she takes him back even though the Great Book in the Hall says she shouldn’t. How does she justify her actions? Was she right to take him back or should she have stayed true to her legacy?

11. The old Stitchery is no more but something remarkable happens instead. What do you think is the legacy of the Stitchery and how does it live on?

12. In the end, Aubrey comes to accept uncertainty. She thinks “The Stitchery had made a thing very clear to her—-a thing she did not see until now: Whatever the Van Ripper guardians had said magic was, was only a very small part of it, if it was part at all.” Do you feel this is a step forward in her understanding? Or is it an excuse that allows Aubrey to reshape tradition according to her own ideas? What are your feelings about embracing irresolution and uncertainty?

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