Reading Group Questions – My Secret Sister by Lauren Westwood

 

  1. What are your views on genetic testing before and after reading the book? If a long-lost relative emailed you out of the blue, would you welcome them with open arms, delete the email, or something else?

  2. Initially, Claire and Marianne are both faced with situations in which they feel powerless due to circumstances outside their control, such as illness/infertility or other people, such as husbands/mother/children etc. What advice would you give to someone who feels powerless?

  3. Claire and Marianne are biologically related and yet grew up in very different environments. What clues can you find that the two women are similar – whether they want to believe it or not? How have the places where they live now (Northern California/DC) affected their lives and outlooks? 

  4. If Claire and Marianne had grown up together as siblings, how would they be different people now? How would they have reacted differently to the situation? 

  5. Becky is a character with her own hopes and dreams and her own pain. In what ways is she a typical teenager, and in what ways is she old beyond her years? What advice would you give her about how to handle the conflict with her mother?

  6. Becky sometimes has a love-hate relationship with her sister, Jess. Of the four sisters in the book, which one do you identify most with and why?

  7. Both Claire and Marianne have difficult relationships with their husbands. Could they have done more to use the difficult times to bring them closer together rather than tear them apart? 

  8. Are there any characters you’d like to deliver a lecture to? If so, who? What would you say?

  9. Is blood thicker than water? Is there a moral obligation to help a family member and/or “give the gift of life” even when it may go against your own values or morals? What about a friend? Or a stranger? 

  10. If Marianne had insisted on the “trade”, what choice would you have advised Claire to make in regards to herself? What about in regards to Becky? 

  11. What would have happened if Marianne had made her intentions clear from the beginning as to what she wanted from Claire/Becky? 

  12. Do you think Claire and Marianne deserved their happy endings? Why or why not?

I hope you enjoyed My Secret Sister and your book club discussion. Do drop me an email with any questions, or even just to let me know how you got on! I’m always looking to add new thought-provoking questions to my discussion list. 

If your group is interested in a virtual Author Q&A by zoom, please get in touch for details.