Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. Angel Falls begins with a flashback about Ian and Fiona, Liam’s grandparents. Why do you think Kristin Hannah chose to start the book in this way? What tone does it set for the novel as a whole? How do Liam’s grandfather and father both motivate and intimidate him?
2. The novel unfolds from the points of view of four distinctive narrative voices—Bret, Liam, Julian, and Mikaela. How is this narrative technique effective in propelling the novel forward? Did you identify with one voice more than another, or consider the novel to be the story of one particular character? Which one?
3. After Bret sees his mother’s accident, how does he cope with the ensuing trauma? How do his reactions differ from those of Jacey? How does each of them grow up within the course of the book?
4. What do Mikaela and Liam consider the most important elements of parenthood? How does their approach to child-rearing differ from that of their parents? How does Liam deal with winning Jacey over when he comes into her life and becoming a single dad after Mike’s accident?
5. How does Rosa’s “bad love” influence her daughter? What do you think motivated both Rosa and Mikaela to choose the inappropriate men that they did? Have you or a friend ever been in a similar situation? How did you resolve it?
6. Why do you think Mikaela saved the remnants of her former life in a pillowcase? What about that time did she cling to? Were you surprised by Liam’s response to the discovery? Why do you think that he behaves as he does? How might you have reacted?
7. Why won’t Mikaela tell Liam about her previous marriage to Julian? Why doesn’t Liam press her? What would you have done on either side of the same situation?
8. Why does Liam involve Julian in his quest to awaken Mikaela? What are Liam’s initial feelings about Julian, and do they change over time? Why do you think that Mikaela murmurs Julian’s name and then responds to it while she’s in the coma? What about his memory haunts her?
9. Why can’t Liam turn to music after Mikaela’s accident? What does he turn to instead to combat his anxiety and worry?
10. “Julian True” is an invented name by a movie star. What’s ironic about the moniker that he has chosen for himself? Why does he finally tell Mikaela his real name?
11. Do you think that Julian ever truly loved or still loves Mikaela? Why couldn’t he stay faithful to his wife? How come he returned to Last Bend to be with her?
12. How is Kayla a different person in Julian’s memories than the Mikaela of Liam’s recollections? How does Rosa provide Liam with a picture of her daughter’s life before him? Do you think that she approves of either of her daughter’s relationships? Why or why not?
13. What is Liam’s weakness in relationships? What is Julian’s? Do you think that the two men forge a bond with each other, and if so, how? What might have attracted Mikaela to them?
14. Why does Julian decide to attend the prom? What does Jacey represent to him? What does he think he might be able to give Jacey?
15. Part four of the novel begins with a quotation by Kierkegaard: “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.” How does this quote resonate in the lives of Mike, Liam, and Julian? How does the past influence and affect their futures—both together and apart?
16. What prompts Mikaela to remember the details of her past? Do you think that divine intervention spurs her recollections? The intervention of her mother? What do you think Mikaela might regret the most?
17. “It was the coma that had saved her life,” Kristin Hannah writes. What do you think might have happened to a seemingly picture-perfect family had Mikaela not been in the accident? How does it bring Liam and Mikaela closer together? How does it affect the family as a whole?
18. Why does Liam constantly refer to himself as “ordinary”? To what do you attribute his low selfesteem? In which ways is movie star Julian a resolutely ordinary person? Do you think that both Liam and Julian have extraordinary characteristics? What are they?
19. How does Mikaela finally put her obsession with Julian behind her? Why do you think her feelings for Liam triumph over her lingering love for Julian? How do you think their partnership will change as a result?