Readers Guide for SAFE HOUSEQuestions for Discussion
1. When Charlie is released from prison, she fears that people will think she hasn’t been adequately punished. Do you believe her fears are accurate? How do you think society reacts to ex-prisoners? Are we able to forgive crimes when the sentence has been served, or do we continue to judge people by their past?
2. Charlie chooses to move somewhere remote. Was this the right decision? Where would you go if you wanted to “disappear”?
3. How much of a role did the media play in turning the public against Charlie? How does the media portray women differently from men?
4. Charlie feels guilty for the death of Anna Atkins and Katy Foster. How much is she to blame?
5. Charlie always tries to see the best in people. Though that has caused her difficulties in the past (such as believing everything that Lee told her), how does this help her when she is settling in to Penderrion?
6. In what circumstances—if any—do you believe criminals deserve anonymity? Can you understand why some people would want to exact revenge once a person is released from prison? Can you think of any circumstances where you might want to take revenge on someone?
7. Charlie had never dreamed big—she always wanted to stay in the village she grew up in and didn’t want a promotion at work. If she hadn’t gone to prison, she might have stayed in Pinchdale. Can a positive spin be put on her negative experiences? How did it encourage her to grow? In what way did it improve her life?
8. Charlie’s relationship with her father was toxic. How do you think this might have paved the way for her relationship with Lee?
9. Did Lee get the ending that he deserved?
10. What’s next for Charlie? Can she hope to lead a “normal” life now? How will she be forever altered by her experiences?