Wildflower Hill

By Kimberley Freeman
Binding:Paperback
Publisher:Touchstone, (8/23/2011)
Language:English



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SPANNING THREE GENERATIONS AND HALF THE WORLD, WILDFLOWER HILL IS A SWEEPING, ROMANTIC, AND COMPELLING STORY OF TWO WOMEN WHO SHARE A LEGACY OF SECRETS, HEARTBREAK, COURAGE, AND LOVE.

Emma, a prima ballerina in London, is at a crossroads after an injured knee ruins her career. Forced to rest and take stock of her life, she finds that she’s mistaken fame and achievement for love and fulfillment. Returning home to Australia, she learns of her grandmother Beattie’s death and a strange inheritance: a sheep station in isolated rural Australia. Certain she has been saddled with an irritating burden, Emma prepares to leave for Wildflower Hill to sell the estate.

Beattie also found herself at a crossroads as a young woman, but she was pregnant and unwed. She eventually found success—but only after following an unconventional path that was often dangerous and heartbreaking. Beattie knew the lessons she learned in life would be important to Emma one day, and she wanted to make sure Emma’s heart remained open to love, no matter what life brought. She knew the magic of the Australian wilderness would show Emma the way.

Wildflower Hill is a compelling, atmospheric, and romantic novel about taking risks, starting again, and believing in yourself. It’s about finding out what you really want and discovering that the answer might be not at all what you’d expect.

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 General reading guide discussion questions to be used with ANY book your book club or reading group might be discussing.
 
 

TOPICS & QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

1. Which story did you enjoy reading more, Emma's or Beattie's? How did you relate to both of them?

2. Early in the novel, Beattie's friend Cora tells her: "There are two types of women in the world, Beattie, those who do things and those who have things done to them" (p. 31). How does Beattie adopt this motto throughout her life? Does Emma live by the same credo? Do you agree with Cora's theory about women?

3. How did you feel when Margaret went behind Beattie's back to let Henry see Lucy? How do you feel about Mary, Henry, and Molly's determination to "keep Lucy away from sin"? Is this just a selfish excuse to keep Lucy away from Beattie?

4. Discuss how religion is treated in the novel. Being a good Christian is emphasized by characters such as Mary, Henry, and Molly, but Lucy feels closer to God when she prays privately, and Beattie seems to feel more in tune with the land. Talk about each character's concept of God and "good vs. evil."

5. Beattie remarks that it doesn't matter how she earns money, as long as she can feed her child: "Children can't eat morals" (p. 135). Do you agree? Do you think Beattie did the right thing working for Raphael and serving drinks illegally?

6. Discuss the poker game that leads to Beattie's ownership of Wildflower Hill. Why does Beattie come up with such a risky proposal? Why does Raphael agree to it?

7. Beattie often blames herself for letting Lucy be taken away. Did she do the right thing by relinquishing more and more control to Henry? Should she have filed for sole custody? What is more important, for a child to have contact with both of her parents or to be raised in the most stable, "proper" way possible?

8. Compare and contrast Beattie's relationships—with Henry, Charlie, and Ray. Do you think Beattie should have told Ray about her former relationships? How do you think he would have reacted?

9. How do you think Beattie would have reacted if she knew Charlie's death was actually a murder? Do you think Leo was right to keep the truth from her?

10. Why do you think Beattie kept every record from her past at Wildflower Hill? Was it as Emma muses, that she was clinging to every scrap, or do you have a different theory?

11. The setting of the book is described beautifully, through the vivid description of Wildflower Hill and its contrast to the city of London. What was your favorite scene?

12. How does Emma's sense of identity, priorities, and relationships change throughout the novel? What event impacts her the most? Compare and contrast her transformation with Beattie's.

13. Discuss Mina's father's reluctance to see Mina perform. Do you understand his embarrassment? Why does Patrick refuse to get involved?

14. Emma decides to finally visit Lucy and deliver her grandmother's letter, even though her grandmother never intended to send it. How do you think Lucy will receive her? What do you envision happening after the close of the novel?

ENHANCE YOUR BOOK CLUB

1. Do a little research on Tasmania to help envision the setting of Wildflower Hill. Visit http://www.discovertasmania.com/about_tasmania for information, maps, and photographs. To take a virtual tour, visit http://tourtasmania.com/.

2. Visit Kim Wilkins' blog at http://fantasticthoughts.wordpress.com/ and read her thoughts on the writing process, her many novels, daily life, and more!

3. Before her injury, Emma was a prima ballerina. Go to the ballet with your book club and see the dance that Emma dedicated her life to.

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