Synopses & Reviews
Though Juniper enjoys the easy life of a medieval princess, she chooses to learn about herbs, healing, and the magic within nature from her strange and difficult godmother. As her training comes to an end, Juniper discovers that her power-hungry aunt is using black magic to seize the throne. Juniper must use her as-yet-untested powers to stop herbefore the kingdom is destroyed!
About the Author
Known in her homeland of England in many rolesjournalist, biographer, novelist, feminist, and activistMonica Furlong was best known in the United States for her award-winning novels, Juniper and Wise Child. Monica Furlong died of cancer in January 2003 at the age of 72. Colman is her last work.
Reading Group Guide
is a prequel to Wise Child
. How does the prequel help to better define Juniper as a person? Discuss what shaped her views regarding women. Contrast her relationship with Euny to her relationship with Wise Child.
2. It is the custom in Cornwall for the astrologers to study the heavens and work out the portents for a childs life at birth. Read the words of the astrologers on page 6. How does the story of Junipers birth foreshadow her life as a doran? Discuss how her parents know that she is special. Why is Euny the appropriate godmother for her?
3. Dreams are important in the story. Juniper asks an astrologer for an interpretation of her dreams. Discuss why he is unwilling to consider her dream. How does a dream help Juniper know that it is time to go to Euny?
4. Juniper is an intelligent girl with knowledge of Latin, the stars, and mathematics. Euny discounts this type of knowledge and tells Juniper, “That sort just gets in the way–makes you think you are clever, like weapons make men think they are strong. My sort of power is about seeing–seeing into the future, seeing into someones heart and mind.” (p. 43) Discuss Eunys techniques for teaching Juniper about matters of the heart. How does this education later serve her when she returns home and encounters Aunt Meroot? How does the education she receives from Euny help her cope with the jealousy she feels at the birth of her little brother?
5. Discuss what Euny means when she tells Juniper, “You came here to make your life real.” (p. 59) What is it about hardships that makes a persons life real? Juniper suffers from loneliness while living with Euny. How does her loneliness help her develop strength? At one point, Junipers mother offers to take her home. Why does Juniper decide to stay?
6. Discuss Junipers relationship with Gamal. How is their relationship similar to that of Wise Child and Colman? How does Juniper help Gamal develop courage?
7. After Juniper returns home and finds Castle Dore under Meroots curse, she returns to Euny. Discuss what Juniper expects to find out on this visit. How does Euny know that it is time for Juniper to fly? Discuss what Juniper learns on her flight.
8. Juniper can never rule the kingdom because she is a girl, but she does strive to protect Castle Dore for her brother. Discuss how there are more ways to rule a kingdom than simply wearing the crown. How might Junipers powers be considered “ruling powers”?