The Amber Keeper
1 - It felt to Abbie that a mistake she’d made in her past as a teenager had ruined her life by damaging her relationship with her family. Is this something we all suffer from on occasion, and how can it be resolved?
2 - Did Millie make the mistake of being too outspoken with the Countess from the start, or was she right to stand up for herself?
3 - Could Stefan have done anything to prevent the Countess from pursuing him, and do you think he encouraged her in any way?
4 - Was it sensible of Millie to take part in the demonstration which ultimately sparked off the rumblings of revolution? And was the Countess right to sack her for having done so, or was her attitude symptomatic of what was happening in Russia?
5 - Would you describe Millie as naïve or courageous in the way she handled the problem of being handed a child at the cost of her reputation? What would you have done?
6 - Is it right to keep a secret which involves others, or should we reveal all to our offspring, no matter what the consequences? Do you think there are any lurking within your own family?
7 - Which character do you like the most or least, and why?
8 - What emotion did the story evoke in you as a reader?
9 – Did you find the historical setting engaging, revealing something you didn’t know?
10 - If you could change the ending, what would it be and why?
1 – Should the British government have given more help to the International Brigade to support the Spanish against the fascist dictatorship?
2 – Class was an issue in those days and affected the relationship between Charlotte and Libby. Do you think it has changed in today’s world?
3 – Charlotte’s reason for going to help the Spanish people was partly because of her own experience of being bullied by her stepfather. Did she have any other motivations, and was she wise to take such a risk with her life?
4 – Libby was rather a complex and difficult character who made many mistakes in her life. Was her behaviour justified? And did you like or dislike her?
5 – Did any of the characters change, for better or worse, by the end of the book?
6 – Was it right for children to be given away to other families for political reasons? This was a policy that lasted for some time in Spain even after the war ended. How would you feel about losing your child that way?
7 – The way women were treated at that time was not good. They had a poor education and were not permitted to take a job without the permission of their father or husband. There were similar issues in the UK up to the end of WWII. Are women now treated as equals or are there still issues needing attention?
8 – Charlotte’s relationship with her stepfather was never good. Sophie’s relationship with Jo, her alleged stepmother, wasn’t easy either but did improve. Why do you think that was?
9 – Does the time-shift from past to present add more mystery to the story?