Trouble the Water
Sparkpress, 9781943006540, 352pp.
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. In Trouble the Water, we meet three characters trying to move on with their lives after suffering trauma. How do their traumas affect their personalities? How do their pasts affect their interactions with others?
2. Abby never wants to be beholden to anyone or to rely on anyone. Her independence means everything to her. Do you think this makes her more sensitive toward the cause of Abolition?
3. Discuss how parents are portrayed in this novel.
4. Friedland depicts a broad cross-section of women in her story: society belle, governess, mother, sister, charity case. What roles were open to women in the 1840’s in America? In England? What do you think Abby’s family hoped would happen to her when they sent her to America?
5. How do friends and friendships define this story?
6. Did you learn some things about the history of the pre-Civil War South that you had not known prior to reading the novel? What did you learn?
7. How, or how not, is historical fiction important to understanding our history?
8. Secrets play a determining role in the lives of key characters. Discuss.
9. Abby is a character that readers want to see succeed. What makes Abby so compelling?
10. The ending is a surprise. Did you see it coming? What do you foresee for the boys?
11. Why do you think Friedland chose the title of her book? How does it relate to the novel as a whole?