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Indiscretionby Jude Morgan
Reading Group Guide
1. What do you think about Caroline? What are her strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and defeats? Does she fit the mold of the contemporary female heroine or does she break that mold? How?
2. Captain Fortune is an imperfect man and one of the least appealing characters in the book, and yet Caroline cares for him. In what ways does Captain Fortune let Caroline down and in what ways, if any, does he provide support? How do his mistakes and disappointments influence Carolines choices for herself?
3. Is there truth to Stephens initial judgment of Caroline? Is his description of her correct? To what extent is Caroline implicated in the troubles that fall upon the Millner household?
4. Which of the three central female characters——Caroline, Isabella, or Fanny——do you relate to most strongly? Why?
5. Caroline is often blamed for the indiscretions of others. What
factors play into this?
6. Discrepancy between perception and reality is a central theme of Indiscretion, i.e., prejudicial judgment of Caroline. Can you think of other examples of this theme in the book?
7. Are the characters of Mrs. Caitling, Mr. and Miss Downey, and
Mr. Leabrook wholly unlikable? How are they affected by the same social and economic considerations as Caroline?
8. Stephen is initially adamant about his aversion to the institution of marriage. Discuss the marriages in the book with respect to how well they fulfill various functions: social, financial, spiritual, etc.
9. How does the relationship between Stephen and Caroline change throughout the course of the novel? In light of their occasional quarrels and antagonistic banter, how do they really feel about each other at the beginning? Do their feelings change as the novel progresses? If they do, what incidents account for the change in feelings?
10. Indiscretion is, in some ways, a debate about the principles of rationalism, represented by Lady Millner, or even Isabella, and those of Romanticism, represented by Fanny. Where does Caroline stand among these diverging principles?
11. How does the book discuss the shaky social, financial, and legal ground upon which women stood during this time period? Do you think this discussion is affected by the fact that the author is male? If so, how?
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