Reading Group Guide for Love, Charleston

1. Why doesn’t Roy want to move to Charleston? How does his view of Charleston society, particularly the parishioners of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, change over the course of the story?

2. Describe Roy’s faith and his approach to ministering to his new flock. What makes his ministry effective?

3. The children play a crucial in the three narratives of this story. How do both Rose and Cozy shed a new and hopeful light on the struggles of their parents?

4. When did you suspect that Drew’s commitment to Lish was tenuous? Why didn’t he stay and help her through her post-partum depression?

5. Do you think there are prejudices and misunderstandings about mental illness in our society? Discuss the story’s treatment of Lish’s post-partum depression. How do her loved ones react to her condition? How important is their reaction to her recovery?

6. Della’s desire to provide for her daughter nearly justifies her potential infidelity. How has she come to view financial means as the ultimate source of both security and happiness? What is the danger in cultivating this kind of view?

7. What type of spouse is Peter? How do his actions prove his commitment to Della and their family?

8. This novel takes a close look at marriage. What are the typical conflicts and challenges husbands and wives face today? Are they any different than the struggles of previous generations? What does this novel say about the importance (and the deep-seated joy) of sticking together?

9. Della grapples with what makes a story ending both full and resonant. Is the ending to Love, Charleston a happy one? Why or why not?

10. By the end of the novel, Roy admits that God’s plans are better than our own. How can we (in Roy’s words) “acknowledge our short-sightedness, trust in His grace, and make ourselves downright pliable”?

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