Reading Guide Between You & Me

June 08, 2018

Between You & Me
William Morrow
By Susan Wiggs
ISBN: 9780062425539

 

Introduction

Deep within the peaceful heart of Amish country, a life-or-death emergency shatters a quiet world to its core. Number-one New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs delivers a riveting story that challenges our deepest-held beliefs.

Caught between two worlds, Caleb Stoltz is bound by a deathbed promise to raise his orphaned niece and nephew in Middle Grove, where life revolves around family, farm, faith— and long-held suspicions about outsiders. When disaster strikes, Caleb is thrust into an urban environment of high-tech medicine and the relentless rush of modern life.

Dr. Reese Powell is poised to join the medical dynasty of her wealthy, successful parents. Bold, assertive, and quick-thinking, she lives for the addictive rush of saving lives. When a shocking accident brings Caleb Stoltz into her life, Reese is forced to deal with a situation that challenges everything she thinks she knows—and ultimately emboldens her to question her most powerful beliefs.

Questions for Discussion

  1. When it comes to her medical career, Reese “…didn’t even recall choosing it. Perhaps it had chosen her, or more accurately, it had been chosen for her.” How does this aspect of Reese’s modern life contrast with the lives of Caleb and his family in Middle Grove?
  2. Caleb tells Reese that despite living a traditional Amish life, “I’m not a prayerful man.” What role does religion play in his life? Are there moments he moves towards it, or away from it?
  3. Reese asks her friend Leroy, who left the Amish community, why others chose to stay. “It’s safe.” He tells her “And for the most part, simple. You spend your life with familiar people in familiar surroundings.” Does that appeal to you? Why or why not?
  4. Three times a year, the Stoltzes visit the men who murdered Jonah and Hannah’s parents. “The Amish principle of forgiveness was absolute….doctrine demanded they find grace through forgiveness.” Would you do the same? Do the visits to the prison help the inmates in any way? Do they help the Stolzes?
  5. Did Hannah have her daughter’s best interests in mind when she abandoned her, or was she thinking only of herself—her fear of being shunned, or forced to marry the baby’s father? Was Jonah right to help Hannah take her baby to the safe haven box?
  6. Was Hannah’s ultimate decision to keep her daughter the right decision? What sort of future would Sarah Jane have had if her mother had stayed in Middle Grove?
  7. Trauma plays an oversize role in the lives of the Stolz family: abandonment, a suicide attempt, murder, a catastrophic accident, a secret birth. How does each character reckon with tragedy and suffering? What role does their Amish lifestyle play in causing their trauma versus helping them heal from it?
  8. Caleb had promised his brother to raise Jonah and Hannah in the Amish tradition: “John had wanted his children to be raised Plain. But Caleb knew in his heart that John would have wanted his kids to be happy above all else. Maybe the best way to honor his brother was to set his kids free and let them go their own way. Living Plain should be a daily joy, not a daily burden.” Is Caleb right to break his promise and take Jonah and Hannah away from Middle Grove? Would you feel differently had Jonah not been injured or had Hannah not been shunned by the community?
  9. What do you think happens to Reese, Caleb, Jonah, Hannah and Sarah Jane in the years after the book? What do you make of Jonah’s final words in the Epilogue?