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Bellewether
by Susanna Kearsley

Published: 2018-08-07
Paperback : 448 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 1 members
From New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Susanna Kearsley?A magical novel that blends history, forbidden romance and the paranormal

"I've loved every one of Susanna's books! She has bedrock research and a butterfly's delicate touch with characters?a sure recipe for historical ...

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Introduction

From New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Susanna Kearsley?A magical novel that blends history, forbidden romance and the paranormal

"I've loved every one of Susanna's books! She has bedrock research and a butterfly's delicate touch with characters?a sure recipe for historical fiction that sucks you in and won't let go!"?Diana Gabaldon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Outlander.

Secrets aren't such easy things to keep: It's late summer in 1759, war is raging, and families are torn apart by divided loyalties and deadly secrets. In this complex and dangerous time, a young French-Canadian lieutenant is captured and billeted with a Long Island family, an unwilling and unwelcome guest. As he begins to pitch in with the never-ending household tasks and farm chores, Jean-Philippe de Sabran finds himself drawn to Lydia, the daughter of the house. Slowly, Lydia Wilde comes to lean on Jean-Philippe, a true soldier and gentleman, until their lives become inextricably intertwined. Legend has it that the forbidden love between Jean-Philippe and Lydia ended tragically, but centuries later, the clues they left behind slowly unveil the true story.

Susanna Kearsley's latest masterpiece, Bellewether, will draw you in and never let you go: Bellewether is the latest from the bestselling author of Season of Storms and Mariana. Susanna Kearsley's books combine the magic of Deborah Harkness's Time's Convert, the picturesque beauty of Sarah Maine's Women of the Dunes, and the captivating mystery of Kate Morton's The Clockmaker's Daughter.

Part history, part romance, and all kinds of magic, Susanna Kearsley's latest masterpiece will draw you in and never let you go, even long after you've turned the last page.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

THRESHOLD
Some houses seem to want to hold their secrets.
The Wilde House, standing silent in its clearing in the woodlands on the eastern shore of Messaquamik Bay, Long Island, holds more secrets than most houses.
From the start, in 1682, when Jacob Wilde came across from England and first chose the rise of land above a small cove of the bay to build his house on, it was rumored he was fleeing a dark scandal in his family. There were whispers he had killed his only brother in a rage, and so had fled to the Americas by way of doing penance. What the truth was, Jacob never said, and if the hands that laid the first square timbers of the Wilde House had indeed been stained by blood, the house stood stoic in that knowledge and concealed it. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. Patience is only partly right when she tells William he’s spelled the name of his ship wrong. Bellewether is, in fact, the original Middle English spelling of the word bellwether. Apart from its literal meaning—a sheep that wears a bell to lead the flock— the term can also apply to a predictor or harbinger of something. When asked about the meaning of the book’s title, the author said, “In the book, the ghost is a literal bellewether, leading Charley toward the truth, while the divisions forming between Britain and her colonists, and among the colonists themselves, are a bellewether of the coming revolution.” What bellewethers have you experienced in your own life? Did you know they were harbingers at the time? Or only when you looked back after a significant event?



2. The legend of Lydia, her French officer, and the ghost that haunts the Wilde House grounds turns out to be wrong in several respects. Did you see the twists coming? Were there any stories passed down in your own family that turned out, in the end, to be not entirely true?



3. Did you guess who the ghost was? Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever encountered a ghost in your own life?



4. Charley and Lydia are both struggling to hold their families together through difficult times. Who is the person in your family who holds everyone together through difficult times? Have you ever had to play that role?



5. Both the past and present storylines feature multiple generations interacting. Do you like this in stories? Do you have difficult or colorful characters in your family? What is the best thing about your own family dynamics?



6. Did you relate more to the historical story line or to the story line in the present day? Why?



7. The use of two viewpoints in the past—Lydia’s and JeanPhilippe’s—means that sometimes we see the same scene from two different perspectives. Have you ever talked to someone about an event from the past and found that they saw the event completely different from how you did?



8. Charley’s feelings for Sam, like Lydia’s for Jean-Philippe, develop over time. Have you ever been in a relationship or friendship that had a slow build like this? What was it like at the beginning? What is it like now?



9. Tyler uses charm to get his own way, and Jean-Philippe tells us de Brassart is “a man who used his charm the way another man might use his sword, and with as deadly an effect.” Is there anyone in your life who is charming in this way? How do you deal with them?



10. Even though the Seven Years’ War was arguably the first true world war—drawing in every great European power, with battles on five continents—relatively few novels are set in this period. Did you know much about this war, before you read Bellewether? What was the most interesting thing you learned? If you could go back and visit any historical period, which one would you visit?



11. Was it a surprise to you to learn that Canada had slavery? Had you ever heard about the trials and burnings in New York in 1741? Why do you think this history isn’t widely taught in schools? Do you know about other events or historical truths that aren’t taught widely?



12. The system of parole of honor worked well enough in the eighteenth century, but it would still have had its difficulties for those involved. What would have been the most difficult part for you, as either a prisoner or a host?

13. Is Lydia and Jean-Philippe’s romance the only example in the book of love and greater understanding overcoming prejudice and intolerance? Can you think of any others? Do you feel this has a particular resonance for our modern lives?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "Bellewether"by Carolynr (see profile) 09/08/18

3.5
you can read the story summary for yourself
I fyou like historical fiction you will like this. I like that it took place on LI and the going back and forth between two time periods w

... (read more)

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