Breaking Wild
by Diane Les Becquets

Published: 2016-02-09
Hardcover : 320 pages
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In captivating prose, Diane Les Becquets tells the story of one woman missing in the Colorado wilderness and another bent on discovering the missing woman’s whereabouts, in an unforgettably moving and thrilling literary debut.
It is the last weekend of the season for Amy Raye Latour ...

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In captivating prose, Diane Les Becquets tells the story of one woman missing in the Colorado wilderness and another bent on discovering the missing woman’s whereabouts, in an unforgettably moving and thrilling literary debut.
It is the last weekend of the season for Amy Raye Latour to get away. Driven to spend days alone in the wilderness, Amy Raye, mother of two, is compelled by the quiet and the rush of nature. But this time, her venture into a remote area presents a different set of dangers than Amy Raye has planned for and she finds herself on the verge of the precarious edge that she’s flirted with her entire life.
When Amy Raye doesn’t return to camp, ranger Pru Hathaway and her dog respond to the missing person’s call. After an unexpected snowfall and few leads, the operation turns into a search and recovery. Pru, though, is not resigned to that. The more she learns about the woman for whom she is searching, and about Amy Raye’s past, the more she suspects that Amy Raye might yet be alive. Pru’s own search becomes an obsession for a woman whose life is just as mysterious as the clues she has left behind.
As the novel follows Amy Raye and Pru in alternating threads, Breaking Wild assumes the white-knuckled pace of a thriller laying bare Amy Raye’s ultimate reckoning with the secrets of her life, and Pru’s dogged pursuit of the woman who, against all odds, she believes she can find.


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Discussion Questions

1. The story is narrated by two female characters, Amy Raye and Pru. Discuss these two women. How do they compare and differ? Do you identify with one more than the other?

2. More specifically, compare Amy Raye and Pru as mothers. In what ways do you think they succeed and fail as parents? Do they evolve in their roles as mothers throughout the novel?

3. Why is Amy Raye so drawn to the wild horses? What do they represent for her?

4. In a conversation with her husband, Amy Raye said, “Everyone wants love to be this great, life-altering experience, their feelings to be so special, so unique, so dramatic, so beyond anything anyone else has. Is that even possible?” What do you think? Does this type of love exist? Have you experienced it yourself?

5. How does Amy Raye use sex—is it an addiction, a source of comfort, a feeling of power, a habit, an escape? Who’s to blame, if anyone, for her wild ways?

6. Amy Raye states, “She knew how Farrell loved her, did not want to lose her, knew how important it was for him to hold the family together, and that was the power she had over him.” Were you sympathetic toward Farrell? If you were Farrell, would you have stuck with Amy Raye after all she put him through? Did your feelings change throughout the novel?

7. Dogs in Breaking Wild are invaluable companions for several of the characters. Discuss the relationship of each character and her dog. How do their pets help them through life?

8. “She wanted to believe that he, like Saddle, could love her unconditionally.” Is there any such thing as unconditional love between people? Could you love someone no matter what hurt he or she may cause you?

9. Pru states: “My goal at this point was to find some evidence that Amy Raye had indeed taken down an elk, that perhaps there had been something pure about her disappearance?” Why does Pru feel such a strong need to redeem Amy Raye? What draws her to the woman? What might they have in common?

10. Why is it so critical for a search team to find a body or discover the truth, even when a cause seems lost? Is it worth the energy and prolonged emotions?

11. Discuss the morality of Amy Raye and her actions. Do you feel sympathetic toward her? Was her sexual deviancy at all to blame for her disappearance?

12. Several times throughout the novel, Amy Raye calls upon God and prays. What role does religion play in Amy Raye’s life? Is she religious or does prayer serve a different purpose for her?

13. When the novel ends, the relationship between Colm and Pru is left ambiguous. Where do you think, or hope, it is headed?

14. How does being alone in the wilderness change Amy Raye? What revelations, if any, does she have? Did you think she would survive as long as she did, and were you surprised by her fate at the end of the book?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

“The sheer force of this book lies in the force of its two main characters. These are complicated women who carry long stories with them, but they're defined, in the end, not by their histories, their loves, their mistakes or their suffering, but by their actions—by the pure determination with which they push themselves to extremes, in the most physical and concrete sense, when it’s a stark question of life or death.” —Tana French, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Place

“Prose that is lean, spare, and frequently poetic . . . The precise rendering of weather and landscape here alone is breathtaking, yet what sets this novel apart is how deeply its author dares to venture into the psyches of her two unforgettable protagonists.” —Andre Dubus III, bestselling author of Dirty Love

“Diane Les Becquets brings to life the story of two very different and captivating women, whose worlds collide through a series of unexpected and compelling circumstances. When one goes missing in the wilderness and the other sets out to find her, the pages practically turn themselves as the reader races through this harrowing and heart-wrenching tale, determined to discover how it all turns out.” —John Searles, New York Times bestselling author of Help for the Haunted

“Harrowing yet compulsive, this novel is as wild as the landscape it portrays, and it's just as dangerous.” —Wiley Cash, New York Times bestselling author of This Dark Road to Mercy

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