SISTERS OF FORTUNE: Discussion Guide

  1. Which sister did you identify with more—Flora, Alice, or Mabel? How do you feel that you are similar to that sister? How are you different?
  2. Prior to reading Sisters of Fortune, how familiar were you with the Titanic? Did you learn anything new? What surprised you most?
  3. Many of the Titanic’s survivors reported receiving ill fortunes like Alice or having premonitions of doom before the ship struck the iceberg. Why do you think so many reported this happening, and do you think they were truthful? Do you believe in omens or clairvoyance?
  4. Flora is seen as the dutiful daughter. This is something she has always prided herself on, until she begins to struggle with the implications of that role and a future she doesn’t want. How is Chess the catalyst for her change? What do you think her life would have been like if she hadn’t met him?
  5. Alice has always been coddled, but she begins to long for adventure. Do you think her concerns about her fiancé were justified? Have you ever let fear drive you to do something reckless? What would you have done in her position?
  6. Mabel longs to attend university and do something with her life other than marry and bear children. She struggles with her parents and society’s expectations for her as a woman. How have those expectations changed since 1912? How haven’t they? Were you surprised by some of the arguments against her achieving her goals?
  7. Before reading this book what was your understanding of the Titanic wreck? How have your feelings about it and the facts surrounding it changed now that you’ve read this book?
  8. Have you ever found yourself in a position similar to one of the Fortune sisters, when duty, expectations, or obligation prevented you from doing what you wanted? How did you handle it? What do you think of the choices the sisters made?
  9. A reoccurring theme in this book is fortune and all its different forms. What are those different forms and how do they affect the characters and various passengers aboard the Titanic?