Questions for Discussion
1. Discuss the effect of the plane crash in 1955 and the effect on Beaufort. How does it affect the lives of the characters in this story for generations? How did it recast Edith’s life?
2. Of all Loralee’s maxims found in her Journal of Truths
, which rings the truest to you? Do you carry around any of your own “truths” to guide your thinking?
3. Even after her husband’s death, why does Edith keep her “secret project” under wraps, even though it helps and inspires the police community?
4. Why do you think Edith makes the sea-glass wind chimes so devotedly? And why do you think Merritt chooses to leave them all in place? What do they come to represent, and why might they be called “mermaid’s tears”?
5. Why does Merritt blame herself for Cal’s death? How does she transform herself over the course of the book? Is she finally at peace with her journey at the end of the story?
6. Discuss the tragic connection between the women in the book. How did each survive her circumstances? Do you think a predisposition for domestic violence is a trait you can inherit?
7. Were you shocked by the “beloved” letter’s contents? Or by Merritt’s ties to the letter?
8. Do you think Edith was right to keep the letter writer’s secret? Was she justified in any way?
9. Did Cal’s personal struggles and rationale for seeking out Merritt surprise you? Was he sensible in feeling wronged by Edith’s secrecy?
10. Do you believe in fate or coincidences? Are there such things in your opinion? Do you think Merritt and Gibbes were ultimately meant for each other?
11. What is Loralee’s legacy for her loved ones? Do you think she successfully “built” a family or guidebook for Owen?