Questions and topics for discussion

The suggested questions are offered to help you and your reading-group members discussBlossom . Though the story takes place more than 100 years ago, there’s much to relate and react to today.

  1. Whose life was more restricted and controlled: Clarissa’s or Blossom ’s? Why do you believe that to be true?
  1. Did men hold all of the cards when big decisions needed to be made in 1906?
  1. Who Blossom ed the most in the book?
  1. Who fits in and who is a misfit in the story?
  1. Is there such a thing as love at first sight? Or, is it more accurately described as infatuation at first sight?
  1. As a reader, you know that the earthquake and fires are coming while no one in the book does. Do you like knowing the future? Would you tell other people if you knew what was in their future?
  1. When Blossom learns about her family’s past, is her reaction appropriate? If you were Blossom , how would you react to the information about your mother?
  1. Think about the parent/child relationships of Chang and Blossom , Mrs. St. Clair and Brock, and Mrs. Donohue and Clarissa. How do their bonds differ? How are they the same?
  1. Considering how the buildings “had eyes” in Chinatown and no secrets were kept for long, how do the social media tools of today create the same challenges for young couples? Do they bring it onto themselves by sharing too much information in public spaces?
  1. Is it possible to be in love with the idea of love and not the actual person in a relationship?
  1. Clarissa arranges roses by the dozen. Each day, Blossom makes an arrangement with just one flower. What does that tell you about these two women? Is there beauty in bounty and scarcity?
  1. Is Faye Huntington evil or just misunderstood?
  1. Is Austin St. Clair a self-centered man-child or has he just not found his path in life yet?
  1. How different or the same are Grand Ma Maw’s mahjong club members and Blossom and her best friends who have quick lunches on a bench in the alley?
  1. How do you think young Ting Ting will turn out as a teenager and an adult?
  1. What role does Clementine play in Brock’s life? How about Austin’s life? Has anyone played similar roles in your life?
  1. Do disasters bring out the best in people or the worst?
  1. Do disasters bring more people together or separate them?