By Erika Marks
New American LibraryJuly 2014

Trade Paperback368 pages, $15.00, ISBN: 9780451418869
Subject: Women's Lives / Love / Friendship

  1. At the outset of her trip, Claire is going back to Folly Beach with the goal of repairing her relationship with her daughter, but over the course of the visit, her focus shifts, especially when she learns that Shep and Jill have convinced Ivy to put the surf shop up for sale. Do you think it was Claire’s place to step in and encourage Ivy to keep the shop, or was she overstepping her bounds, as Shep and Jill claimed?
  2. Claire has a very complicated relationship with her mother, Maura. Do you think that Claire’s desire to belong to Foster and be a part of his life was just about being in love with him, or did she also crave the sense of belonging and acceptance she felt with his mother, Ivy? Do you feel by the story’s end Claire has come to terms with that question? Do you feel hopeful for her relationship with her mother going forward?
  3. Not surprisingly, Claire and Jill’s friendship suffered from the fallout of Jill and Foster’s love. By the novel’s end, do you feel Jill and Claire have a chance for reconciliation? Do you think it’s ever possible to move beyond this kind of disruption/betrayal in a friendship?
  4. While back in Folly, Claire voices to Ivy her worry that Foster loved only her, Claire, because Ivy approved of her. Do you agree with that assessment?
  5. While Foster loved Claire, he found himself falling for Jill, even though, by all appearances, Claire was a more likely match for him. What about Jill appeals so strongly to Foster? Conversely, why does Jill fall in love with Foster?
  6. Claire feels a new betrayal when she learns that Shep has taken Jill back. What do you think about his choice to resume his relationship with Jill after everything that happened between them? Do you think you could you take back a lover who had left you under similar circumstances and after so many years apart?
  7. Clearly, Jill and Foster delayed acknowledging their love to each other, let alone to their partners, for so long because the confession would tear everything apart. Do you think Jill and Foster should have fought their attraction and spared their lovers the pain, or do you think their feelings would have come to light eventually, despite their attempts at hiding their love?
  8. Claire’s mother, Maura, asserts that Claire doesn’t take responsibility for her own choices, but rather blames everyone else and sees herself as a victim—do you agree? Discuss examples in Claire’s life where that may have been the case, such as her divorce, and her eventual moving away from surfing.
  9. Gus arrives in Claire’s life at a time when she is most vulnerable and needing a sense of peace and self-worth. How does he help her find that? Were you happy with the way things stood for Claire and Gus at the novel’s end?
  10. Ivy has long held to a belief that it was Jill’s fault that Foster moved away from the surfing life and the shop Ivy always imagined him inheriting. By the story’s end, do you feel that Ivy has come to see a different view? Do you think this will change her relationship with Jill in the future? If yes, how?
  11. Claire is struggling to connect with her teenage daughter, Lizzie, who claims she feels suffocated by Claire. How do you think Claire’s strained relationship with her own mother has impacted Claire and Lizzie’s relationship? Do you see any parallels between Claire and Lizzie’s relationship and the dynamics between Jill and her teenage son, Luke? If so, what are they?
  12. Even though she is desperately curious as to the contents, Jill can’t bring herself to read Foster’s lost letter to Claire, but the reader finally learns the truth of its words. Were you glad about the letter’s sentiments or did you hope for a different outcome? Would you have had Jill’s resolve not to read it, or would your curiosity have gotten the best of you over time? The author doesn’t make it clear whether Claire eventually reads the letter, or if the letter is only there for the reader’s viewing—do you like to imagine Claire did read it, or would you rather think she, like Jill, had come to a place of peace never knowing?