In her compelling, beautifully crafted novel, New York Times
bestselling author Marie Bostwick celebrates friendships old and new—and
the unlikely threads that sometimes lead us exactly where we need to
Christmas is fast approaching, and New Bern, Connecticut, is
about to receive the gift of a new pastor, hired sight unseen to fill in
while Reverend Tucker is on sabbatical. Meanwhile, Margot Matthews’
friend, Abigail, is trying to match-make even though Margot has all but
given up on romance. She loves her job at the Cobbled Court Quilt Shop
and the life and friendships she’s made in New Bern; she just never
thought she’d still be single on her fortieth birthday.
shock to the entire town when Phillip A. Clarkson turns out to be
Philippa. Truth be told, not everyone is happy about having a female
pastor. Yet despite a rocky start, Philippa begins to settle in—finding
ways to ease the townspeople’s burdens, joining the quilting circle, and
forging a fast friendship with Margot. When tragedy threatens to tear
Margot’s family apart, that bond—and the help of her quilting
sisterhood—will prove a saving grace. And as she untangles her feelings
for another new arrival in town, Margot begins to realize that it is the
surprising detours woven into life’s fabric that provide its richest
hues and deepest meaning…
“This is one very talented writer…watch her star rise!” --Debbie Macomber
1. The story opens on Margot’s fortieth birthday—an occasion
she’d just as soon ignore. What about you? Do you like celebrating
birthdays, or do you prefer to let them slip by unnoticed?
What do you enjoy about getting older? What aspects
of aging do you dislike or perhaps even fear?
2. We all know that there’s no such thing as a perfect family, and
Margot’s is no exception. To the extent that you feel comfortable
doing so, share some insights about your family. What
did your parents do right? What do you wish they’d done differently?
If you’re a parent, how did your childhood experiences
shape the way you raised or are raising your children?
3. Margot and her sister, Mari, were close as children, but when
they got older, they became estranged. What changed their
relationship? Was there anything they could or should have
done to help heal it? If you have siblings, do you have a close
relationship with them? Why or why not? If you’re an only
child, have you ever wished you had siblings? What do you
imagine the benefits or strains of having brothers or sisters
4. After Reverend Tucker becomes ill, the church board hires
Reverend Clarkson to fill in for him while he recovers, not
realizing that “he” is actually a “she” until Philippa arrives in
New Bern. Some of the characters seem bothered that their
new minister is a woman, while others feel her sex is immaterial
to her ability to serve as their minister. What do you
think accounts for the difference in their attitudes? If you attend
a church, does your denomination allow women to
serve as clergy? Do you think that this is a good idea or not?
If you belong to a denomination that doesn’t ordain female
ministers, do you think they should?
5. Philippa had a number of careers before finally responding
to the call to ministry. Why do you think it took her so long
to do so? Have you ever changed career paths? Tell the
group about your experiences. What was difficult about it?
What was easier than you thought it would be? If you could
do it over again, would you? And if you’ve never changed
careers, do you wish you could?
6. People deal with grief and loss in very different ways. Margot,
her parents, her niece, and Philippa have each undergone
a terrible loss at some point in their lives. How did
their responses to grief differ? How were they similar?
What does the manner in which they respond to loss say
about their personalities? If you have ever grieved the loss
of someone close to you, how did you get through it? Or are
you dealing with it still? What are some of the things that
people did or said that were helpful or harmful as you were
7. Margot has had many male friends in her lifetime, yet those
friendships never seem to blossom into romance. Why do
you suppose that is? Do you think that all those men were
truly uninterested in Margot romantically? Could she have
been sending out unconscious signals that she wasn’t interested
8. Margot often says that she’s given up looking for “Mr.
Right” and would happily settle for “Mr. Good Enough,”
but do you think that’s true? How might Margot’s views
about sex outside of marriage have affected her relationships
with men? In our modern culture, is it realistic for a woman
to wait until marriage before she experiences sexual intimacy?
9. Philippa and Margot both want children but, for different
reasons, face obstacles to realizing that dream. Have you, or
has someone you know, been faced with issues of infertility?
What about life as a single parent? Do you think it is important
for children to be raised in a two-parent home? What
are the particular challenges of raising a child alone? Can
you think of strategies that would make the job of being a
single parent easier?
10. In talking about the attitude of the church congregation in
New Bern, the book makes mention of “the 10–90 rule,”
meaning that 10 percent of the people do 90 percent of the
work. If you belong to a church or volunteer organization in
your community, have you found this rule to be true? If you
volunteer in your church or community, what are some of
the benefits you’ve gained from that experience? What do
you enjoy most about volunteer work? What do you like the
11. Geoff Bench’s intentions toward Margot are less than honorable.
Margot feels uncomfortable around him from the first,
but dismisses her own feelings and ignores her instincts.
Why is that? Do you think this is a common reaction among
women? Have you ever been in a similar situation? How did
you respond? Did you trust your instincts, or try to ignore
them? What do you think is the best way to confront someone
you believe may be trying to harass you or make unwanted
advances, especially if the harassment isn’t blatant?
12. When Margot first meets Paul, she could not find him less
appealing. However, as the story progresses, her feelings toward
him move from disinterest to friendship to true love.
Do you think this is the usual way for romantic attachments
to develop? Or do you believe in love at first sight? What
about your story? If you’re married or in a meaningful romantic
relationship, how did you come to know that this was
the one for you? Did love hit you like a thunderbolt? Or was
it a slow burn? Do you think one is better than the other?