READERS GUIDEDiscussion questions
1. “Only men have the privilege of seeking their fortune on their own. . . . What else am I to do but seek a rich husband?”
Kitty faces challenges because of her gender, her social standing, and her lack of parental support. How is she able to work within these limitations in order to achieve her goal?
2. At the start of the novel, Kitty and Lord Radcliffe are at each other’s throats, unwilling to see eye to eye. What do you think is the turning point in their relationship? Is there more than one moment that causes a shift in their dynamic?
3. Kitty is driven by her desire to protect her sisters and provide for their futures, though Lord Radcliffe, Aunt Dorothy, and even Cecily find some of Kitty’s methods distasteful. Were there times when you thought Kitty crossed the line? Why or why not?
4. Kitty attends multiple balls throughout the novel, each an opportunity to make an impression on those with influence and wealth. How does behavior at these public events affect the success of various characters? Consider the outcome for Cecily, Lord Selbourne, Miss Fleming, Aunt Dorothy, and others.
6. Sibling relationships—Kitty’s with Cecily, Lord Radcliffe’s with Archie—play an important role in the story. How do these relationships evolve over the course of the novel? How have Lord Radcliffe and Kitty faced similar familial pressures?
7. Aunt Dorothy is Kitty and Cecily’s guardian angel, but there is a limit to her ability to introduce them into the ton. What did you think of Dorothy as a character, especially considering her past life? Do you think that she is a good influence on the girls?
8. Lord Radcliffe stands in the way of Kitty’s engagement to his brother once he learns that Kitty is only seeking marriage for financial reasons. When do you think it’s appropriate to object to someone else’s relationship? Would you ever express concern to a friend or family member about their significant other?
9. English society in the novel is upheld by strict social rules. Do you see echoes of any of those rules in modern life as well? Discuss.