Topics & Questions for Discussion
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1. Which of the Randolph sisters did you most like? Which one did you most identify with? Why?
2. Abbie and her sisters seemed particularly close to their father. Why do you think that was?
3. Abbie and her sisters hated the damage the lumber company inflicted on their valley, yet they also seemed to enjoy some of the luxuries the company provided (such as community events, ice cream, a movie theater). How do you think they would explain this apparent contradiction?
4. Although the moonshine whiskey was “medicinal,” Nate seemed to know it was being used for illegal purposes. Even if what he did was “legal,” was it right, especially knowing that people were using the product illegally?
5. At several points in the book, the locals (Maddie and Granville Calhoun, to name two) argued that the Prohibition was either wrong or evil or both. Do you think their arguments were valid? If so, why? If not, why?
6. The characters had a variety of feelings about the impact a national park might have on their valley. If you lived there, at that time, how would you have felt? Would you have favored the formation of a national park, even if it meant losing your home?
7. Dr. Andrew Keller was the lumber-company doctor. Did the locals trust him or just tolerate him? Why or why not? Explain your view.
8. Why did Wade Chandler come to the area? What do you think he was seeking? Were his motives altruistic or more self-centered? What evidence would you give to support your view?
9. Lillian Frye took advantage of an almost unknown law to help the girls. She admitted she was not following the “spirit of the law,” but rather “the letter of the law.” Was she right to do this, or not? Why?
10. The Haint, Jeremiah Welch, practiced an ancient tradition called sin eating. Why did the pastor consider the practice “pagan”? With what biblical teaching(s) would this custom clash?
11. How important to Abbie was her spiritual faith? How many spiritual disciplines did Abbie practice? How did these disciplines aid her in both happy and sad times? What spiritual disciplines do you need to develop in your life? How will you do this?
12. Many difficult and bad things happened to Abbie and her sisters during this story. Does God cause bad things to happen? Does he allow bad things to happen? How can God use difficult experiences and circumstances in your life?