Hold Tight the Thread (Tender Ties Historical Series #3)
by Jane Kirkpatrick
Paperback- $14.03

BASED ON A TRUE STORY

In a land occupied by foreign powers and torn by confusion and conflict, a mother seeks to weave her family and her ...

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  "Conflicted by secrets, haunted by the past" by fastreader (see profile) 11/11/14

Despite not reading the first two books in the series first, the story was not lacking because I did not have prior knowledge of the characters or plot. Reading the first two books beforehand will undoubtedly make this book a richer reading experience.

Part of the historical elements in the story are about the establishment of the Catholic and Methodist settlements. Although there is a spiritual influence in the plot, it is not overdone or overbearing. The intention of the author is to accurately retell the lifestyle, culture and history of the French Prairie Country in Oregon during mid-1800s.

There are 12 discussion questions listed in the back of the book that I was not able to find posted on a virtual source.

Because there is potential for a meaningful discussion about this book, I have posted the questions below:

1. What threads did Marie hang on to in her life? Which of the threads served to keep her from getting lost, and which led her astray?

2. What scenes portray the threads of landscape, family, and faith? How do these three threads remain consistent amid the inevitable changes of her life? Do you find them in your own?

3. Which qualities of the character, Marie, are reflected in those of her children? As you think about your own life, which qualities of your mother or father are alive and well in you? Are these characteristics you particularly admire? Have others recognized them? What did your parents do to transfer those qualities to you? What family story do you remember about one of those qualities?

4. Are the threads that sustained Marie different for her as a mother and wife and friend than as an individual woman? Can a woman separate herself from those relationships that seek to define her?

5. Why do you think the former Astorians and others from the French Prairie community chose to bury this Indian woman inside the church rather than in the cemetery where ordinary people and even the priests were buried?

6. Have you experienced a false memory, something that you know did not happen to you and yet you have a memory of it or an event that was later brought to your consciousness by a sibling or parent, which then triggered the memory of the event for you? What were your stages toward trusting that memory or denying it?

7. Did the reading Marie had, the unveiling of her mystery of John, ring true? Why or why not?

8. Did Paul kill Louis Venier? What makes you think that? How does the lack of certaintoy Marie has affect her feelings toward Paul? Toward herself as his mother?

9. Was the French-speaking community of French Prairie safer than the larger outside community, or were they as isolated as they thought from political dissension? What threads bring safety from family conflicts, neighborhood disagreements, changing demographics, or the rumors of war?

10. In fiction, characters are drawn forward by their desires. The quality of their character is revealed by how they overcome the barriers keeping them from those desires. What are the desires of Marguerite? of Marianne? of Baptiste? of Paul? of Francois? of Jean Toupin? Can you identify some of the barriers in their lives?

11. Some say that human desire is the longing for past pleasures. Such desires suggest they are never attainable as they belong to memory and the past. But the proverb reads: Desire realized is sweet to the soul.

How would you define desire? What gets in the way of your achieving the desire of your heart?

12. Did Marie achieve the desire of her heart? Why or why not?

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