Reader's Guide

1.         During the course of the story, Marka struggles with life and herself. Does understanding her German Russian roots help her?  Does living in a small town help or hinder her?

 2.         Marka finds herself attracted to an old high school classmate.  Does she make the same mistake she made in Denver?  Is she trying to get even with Stella?

 3.         What does the novel say about children who have issues with their parents?  Why is forgiveness important to moving on with your life?

 4.         Why does Marka strike up a friendship with Ruby even though Anna warns her that Ruby is a Gypsy and cannot be trusted?  Is it because she feels safe with Ruby?  That she can share her feelings, be heard, and validated?  How does learning to forgive help Marka? 

 5.        What are some of the challenges of living in a small town?  Do all small towns have gossip mills and competition? 

 6.         There are similarities between Anna and Ruby.  How are they similar in the way they regard their culture?  What guilt do they carry?

 7.         Freedom is one of the themes in the story.   Those who left Russia before the Revolution are “free” to live their lives in America.  Why then is Marka not free to be her own person?  Why doesn’t she know herself very well?

 8.         In the novel, what draws Marka and Jack together?  If Jack had received Marka’s letter, how might things have been different?

 9.         In your opinion, what is the main lesson the novel showed you?

 10.       Why does Judy end the story the way she does?