Left orphaned and penniless in London in 1866 by her father’s suicide, Marina Weston struggles to find a way to make a living. In the process, she runs afoul of some very powerful and unscrupulous men. When she finds herself at their mercy, her sanity and her very identity become imperiled. Will she emerge with her sanity and her identity intact, or end as a pawn in someone else’s game?
Book Club Questions:
- How does Marina’s background foreshadow the events that occur?
- What parts of a woman’s “place” at the time surprised/disturbed/angered you? Are there any vestiges still in effect today?
- Where in Marina’s upbringing were the seeds of strength planted?
- How did Marina’s relationship with her father affect her live and her decisions?
- How does the relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist change throughout the story?
- What role does love play in the story? Whose love has the most positive effect on Marina, and whose the most negative?
- Is there a difference between the effect of drugs in the story and the effect of drugs on people today?
- What role does prejudice play in the story, and do we still suffer from the same kind of thinking today?
- How does the hierarchy of rich to poor continue today? Is it as overt as back in 1866, or more covert?
- Is it easier or harder for people (men and women) to find their place in society today than it was in 1866? Why?
- What prejudices against women still remain, and how do they affect what women hope to accomplish in their lives? What can women do to help put these prejudices to rest?
- What do you think will happen to Marina once she returns to the United States? Were the laws here any different from those in England at the time?