Reading Group Questions for Book Clubs: Bellevue
For readers who belong to a book club, here are a few questions that might help kick off a lively discussion about my latest novel, Bellevue.
1. Who is your favourite character in Bellevue and why?
2. Clare and Joe seem at first appearance to be unlikely friends, not least because of the age gap between them, and yet they form a bond that is important to each of them. Discuss why this occurs and whether it is believable or not. Compare and contrast the similarities and the differences between these two characters.
3. The structure of Bellevue and its plot were designed to increase narrative tension. When reading the novel, were you aware of the various techniques the author used to achieve that? In your opinion, what technique worked best in terms of increasing narrative tension?
4. Clare was deeply traumatised by the death of her husband Jack and the legacy he left. Do you think she should she have guessed at the truth behind this legacy before she inherited the dilapidated house Bellevue?
5. Bellevue has themes of strong female friendships and mother-daughter relationships. How important are friendships and family to the main character, Clare?
6. Compare and contrast two of the principal male characters, the brothers David and Jack. Consider why David initially appealed to Clare and why he was displaced by Jack.
7. Should Clare have better understood David’s true character earlier, and factored this into her choices? Or were his weaknesses only revealed after she moved into Bellevue and became aware of his plans?
8. Why do you think the author chose to set her novel in the early 1970s? Are the themes of Bellevue still relevant today?