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Discussion Questions: The Lilac Bouquet

1) In what ways are the lives of Emmy Jo and Tandy similar? Throughout the novel, could you identify a mirror-image complex between the grandmother and granddaughter?

2) What do you think are the motivations behind Emmy Jo’s stubbornness about her wedding? How much of a role does her upbringing and family history have in her desire to have a “proper” marriage? How does this affect her relationship with Logan?

3) Could Seth Thomas be seen as an anti-hero? That is, a character who, by design, may be seen as malevolent, but who the reader actually feels drawn to? What were your feelings towards Seth at the beginning of the book, and how did they change as the story progressed?

4) As the story progresses, do you think Emmy Jo’s motivation to work for Seth changes from her desire to pay for her wedding to finding out the truth about her Grandmother and Seth’s history? In other words, does the latter reason outweigh the former by the end of the book?

5) How important do you think Seth’s obsessive tendencies are to the story? How do you think his past has influenced his present behavior?

6) How do you feel that the themes of faith and reputation relate to one another within the context of The Lilac Bouquet? Consider Logan’s relationship with his father, the history of premarital pregnancy in Emma Jo’s family, and the details Emma Jo uncovers about Seth’s mother’s marriage and pregnancy.

7) How do the characters of The Lilac Bouquet exemplify the various stages of life? Think specifically about Seth, Jesse, Tandy, and Emmy Jo.

8) The Lilac Bouquet explores the theme of children suffering or thriving because of their parents’ or grandparents’ actions. Jesse Grady grew up on a farm that his father won from Samuel Thomas. Samuel Thomas married Seth’s mother, Mary, in an attempt to atone for his sins as a child. How do these coincidences or acts of fate play into the plot? In your opinion, should children be burdened with the rivalries or complications of their family’s past?

9) How much of Emma Jo’s insistence on having the perfect wedding and life with Logan do you think is out of a desire to defy her family’s reputation in Hickory?

10) What might the future hold for Emmy Jo? Do you think she might leave the small town of Hickory to escape the rumor-mill and sameness of everyday life? From what you know of her character, will she be content with a stationary life in a small town?