By Holly Robinson
New American LibraryJuly 2013

Trade Paperback400 pages, $15.00, ISBN: 9780451415943
Subject: Women's Lives / Relationships / Family

  1. In the very first scene of the novel Juliet watches the voladores, the Huichole Indians who climb a tall pole and spin outward from it with their feet attached to long red ribbons. Why is Juliet imagining herself spinning high above the crowd with them, “with nothing more to connect her to the ground than one of those thin, blood-red ribbons?” What does this scene do to explain her state of mind at the start of the novel?
  2. Robinson chose to use only two points of view in The Wishing Hill—Juliet's and Claire's—instead of Desiree's. How might the book have been different if she had used all three points of view?
  3. Many of the main characters in the book keep secrets from the people they supposedly love most, yet keeping those secrets inevitably causes a lot of heartache. Are we ever completely truthful, even with the people in our own families? Should we be?
  4. At one point in the novel, Desiree accuses Juliet of being just like Claire. Juliet, meanwhile, has always been worried that she'll turn out like Desiree. How much do you think Juliet is like either woman? Do you think our personalities are more likely to be influenced by genetics or our upbringing?
  5. Desiree is portrayed as a negligent mother—at times even a neglectful one. In what ways has she perhaps also had positive influences on Juliet's life?
  6. Ian is put off by the idea that Juliet hasn't told the father of her baby that she is pregnant. In fact, Juliet hasn't even tried to find him. Why not? Did she make the right decision?
  7. Throughout the novel, Juliet compares her life in Mexico with life in the U.S. Claire experiences culture shock of her own when she travels to Mexico. What is the effect of this country on the two women? Why is Juliet's decision to return to the States so conflicted each time?
  8. What role do women's friendships play in The Wishing Hill? How has Claire been influenced by Stephanie, and Juliet by Marisol and Nicole? What role do your friends play in your life?
  9. What is a “good” mother, in your view? Is it ever too late to start over and become one if you haven't succeeded as a parent in the past?
  10. In the first scene between Michael and Juliet, Michael tries to excuse his behavior by saying, “I guess in the end it doesn't matter, right? We both got what we wanted.” Did they get what they wanted, and how much did his betrayal matter?
  11. In many ways, this is a novel about forgiveness. Do you think the main characters ever truly forgive each other for keeping such huge secrets? Do you think such forgiveness is possible in real life when someone you love lies to you?
  12. Robinson leaves the ending of The Wishing Hill somewhat open. Why do you think she chose to do that? Do you feel like the main conflicts were resolved? How do you imagine the next few years for Claire, Desiree, and Juliet?