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The Missing Years Reader’s Guide

By Lexie Elliott

The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott


Reader’s Guide
The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott
Questions for Discussion

1.The development of Carrie and Ailsa’s relationship is central to the novel. Carrie feels that Ailsa abandoned her when she left home. Is this fair? What responsibility do we have toward our siblings?

2.The novel is set in Scotland, essentially in the landscape of the author’s childhood. Do you think the story would have had the same impact in a different setting? How much does setting contribute to the tone of a novel?

3.Ailsa claims that “to all intents and purposes, Carrie and I had different mothers.” Do you think this can be said of all siblings? Is everyone’s childhood experience unique?

4.What do you think was the most likely cause of Ailsa’s father’s disappearance?

5.The author uses the Manse as if it is a major character in the novel. How did that approach contribute to building suspense?

6.Do you think that Ailsa’s professional career would have been helped or hindered by her relationship with Jonathan?

7.Ben has never told anyone about what they found in the woods out of loyalty to Fiona. Do you think that was the right decision? What would you have done?

8.Glen McCue appears to regret the manner in which he brought up Fiona and Jamie, commenting that he should have “been gentler, maybe. Fewer thrashings and more talking. Like all these modern dads I keep hearing about.” Is it fair to judge previous generations by the moral and ethical yardsticks of the modern day?

9.Ailsa lies to the police under duress from Carrie. Would you have done the same?

10.Who do you think had the most suspicious interest in the Manse?

11.At the end of the novel, Ailsa feels ambivalent as to whether she believes in “Fi facts.” When you were reading the novel, did you have a strong opinion, or did you also feel ambivalent? Do you believe Fi is right about how time can “slip”?
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