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Book Club Questions for Homecoming by Kate Morton

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Book club questions for Homecoming by Kate Morton explore the depths of love, loss, family bonds, and the power of secrets.

I really loved this book because it beautifully weaves together different timelines and perspectives, keeping me on the edge of my seat throughout. Morton’s storytelling is masterful, drawing you into the lives of her characters and unraveling the layers of intrigue and deception.

The novel takes readers on a journey across continents and generations, starting with a shocking crime that haunts a small town in South Australia. It then jumps forward in time to follow Jess, a journalist facing her own struggles, who uncovers a startling connection between her family and the unsolved case from 1959.

Homecoming is an epic tale that spans generations, exploring the lengths we go to protect those we love and the secrets we keep hidden. It raises profound questions about loyalty, the power of truth, and the meaning of finding your way back home. Kate Morton’s exquisite storytelling will keep you spellbound from the first page to the last.

In this blog post, I’m excited to share with you a collection of book club questions, discussion prompts, and a reading guide that will help you delve deeper into the captivating world of Homecoming by Kate Morton.

I hope you will enjoy my discussion questions, and let me know what your thoughts are on this masterfully written novel! ✨

About the story

The story begins in a place called Adelaide Hills on Christmas Eve in 1959. It’s a scorching hot day, and near a creek on a fancy estate, a local person makes a horrible discovery. The police are called, and the whole town of Tambilla gets involved in one of the most puzzling murder investigations in the history of South Australia.

Now fast forward to many years later, and we meet character named Jess. Jess is a journalist who is looking for a good story to write about. She has been living and working in London for twenty years, but suddenly she loses her job and is struggling to make money. Out of the blue, she receives a phone call that brings her back to Sydney, her hometown. Her beloved grandmother Nora, who raised Jess when her own mother couldn’t, has had a serious accident and is in the hospital.

When Jess goes to Nora’s house, she discovers a book about a real crime that happened a long time ago. It’s called the Turner Family Tragedy of 1959. As Jess quickly looks through the book, she finds something shocking: a connection between her own family and this famous unsolved case. It’s a mystery that has never been fully explained.

This is a big story that covers many generations. It explores the lengths we would go to protect the people we love and the secrets we keep hidden. It also asks us to think about what it really means to come home. Overall, it’s a captivating and complex novel written by one of the best authors of our time.

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About the Author

Kate Morton is a really popular author who has won awards and sold a lot of books. Her stories, such as The Forgotten Garden or The House at Riverton have been published in many countries and languages, and they always become bestsellers.

kate morton author

She grew up in the mountains of southeast Queensland and now lives with her family in both London and Australia. She studied drama and English literature and used to dream of being an actress. But she realized that she loved words and writing more than performing on stage. She still gets a little sad when she goes to the theater and the lights go down.

As a child, Kate fell in love with books, and she believes that reading gives you freedom. She thinks that reading is like living a thousand different lives in one. When you read fiction, it’s like having a magical conversation with the author, where your minds meet even though you might be far apart in time and space. She loves books that create a whole world around you, making the real world disappear as you turn the pages and get lost in the story.

Book Club Questions for Homecoming

I hope you and your book club will enjoy my discussion reading guide for Homecoming by Kate Morton.✨

  • The title Homecoming holds significance for Jess’s story as she embarks on a journey to uncover the truth about her family’s connection to the Turner Family Tragedy. However, does the concept of homecoming hold deeper meaning for any other character in the novel? Explore the various characters’ personal journeys and their quest for a sense of belonging and completion. How does the theme of homecoming resonate with their experiences?
  • The book features a dual timeline, exploring the Turner Family Tragedy in 1959 and the present-day events surrounding Jess and her grandmother, Nora. How does the author use the dual timeline to create suspense and build tension? How does the past inform and influence the present in the story?
  • Secrets play a significant role in Homecoming, with characters hiding their true intentions and actions. Explore the theme of secrecy in the book and discuss its impact on the characters’ lives. How do the secrets shape the narrative and contribute to the overall mystery of the story?
  • Kate Morton presents the idea that home is not merely a physical place but a feeling of completeness and the absence of loneliness. The opposite of home is not being away, but rather feeling lonely. Reflect on this statement and discuss whether you agree or disagree with it. How does this concept shape the characters’ desires for homecoming and their pursuit of connection throughout the novel?
  • At the beginning of the story, what were your initial thoughts about what happened to the Turner family in 1959? Did your theories evolve and change as the narrative unfolded? Analyze the twists and turns of the plot and discuss how the author masterfully played with your expectations and assumptions.
  • If you had the opportunity to ask a question of any character in the book, who would it be and what would you ask? Consider the complexities and motivations of the characters, and dive deeper into their perspectives, actions, or secrets that intrigued you the most.
  • Motherhood serves as a recurring theme in Homecoming, explored through the characters of Isabel, Meg, Polly, and Nora. Did you find yourself forming judgments about these characters based on your own beliefs and definitions of motherhood? Discuss the complexities and challenges faced by each character as they navigate their roles as mothers, and how their choices shaped the narrative.
  • Kate Morton is known for her descriptive writing style, often incorporating vivid descriptions of settings and landscapes. Discuss the role of descriptive writing in Homecoming. How does Morton’s use of descriptive language contribute to the atmosphere and mood of the story? Does it enhance or detract from your reading experience?
  • Homecoming explores the concept of home and what it means to come back to one’s roots. Discuss the different interpretations of home presented in the book. How do characters grapple with the idea of homecoming, both physically and emotionally? Explore the themes of belonging and identity in relation to the concept of home.
  • In Homecoming, secrets play a significant role in the lives of the characters. Reflecting on their experiences, do you believe that keeping secrets from one’s family can ever be justified? Discuss the complexities and consequences of secrecy within the context of the story, examining both the motivations and the potential impact on relationships and personal growth.
  • Guilt permeates the hearts of many characters in Homecoming, stemming from their actions in the aftermath of the Turner family tragedy. As the narrative unfolds, explore whether any of these characters can be deemed guilty of a crime. Delve into their moral dilemmas, decisions, and the repercussions that haunt them, evaluating the boundaries between right and wrong in their quest for love, protection, and justice.
  • Homecoming delves into the concept of home and what it means to come home. Explore the different interpretations of home presented in the novel and how the characters’ relationships with their homes evolve over time.
  • The power of reading is a recurring theme in Homecoming, as the characters find solace, connection, and shared experiences through books. Reflecting on the quote, “Reading shapes a person. The landscape of books is more real, in some ways, than the one outside the window,” consider the role of literature in shaping individuals’ lives. Discuss whether you agree that reading has the potential to shape a person’s identity and worldview more profoundly than the physical world they inhabit.
  • Percy observes that Polly, one of the characters in the story, exhibits signs of shyness and a diffident nature. He theorizes that growing up in the shadow of tragedy has left a lasting impact on her. Analyze Percy’s assumption and delve into the effects of tragedy on Polly’s life. Consider the psychological and emotional ramifications of living in the aftermath of a traumatic event and how it can shape one’s identity and interpersonal interactions.
  • After many years of secrecy, the truth behind the Turner family tragedy is finally unveiled. However, the question remains: Can this revelation, arriving after such a long period, truly make a difference for those who have been left behind? Explore the idea of closure, redemption, and the potential for transformation when long-buried secrets are brought to light. Analyze the impact of the truth on the characters’ lives and relationships, reflecting on whether it is ever too late for a revelation to catalyze meaningful change.
  • Among the rich ensemble of characters in Homecoming, who was your favorite, and why? Analyze the character’s development, personality, and their impact on the story. Did any particular character resonate with you on a personal level?
  • The book explores the theme of family and the lengths we would go to for those we love. How do the characters in Homecoming demonstrate this theme throughout the story?
  • Nora, Jess’s grandmother, holds deep secrets that she chooses to keep from Polly and Jess. Do you believe Nora was justified in withholding these secrets? Delve into Nora’s motivations and the implications of her actions. Reflect on the complexities of family relationships and the difficult decisions one may make to protect their loved ones.
  • Kate Morton is known for her descriptive writing style, often incorporating vivid descriptions of settings and landscapes. Discuss the role of descriptive writing in Homecoming. How does Morton’s use of descriptive language contribute to the atmosphere and mood of the story? Does it enhance or detract from your reading experience?
  • Reflect on the ending of Homecoming and share your thoughts on the resolution of the story. Did you find the ending satisfying, or were there unresolved elements that left you wanting more closure?

Selected Reviews for Homecoming

“Morton’s layered writing leaves surprises for even the keenest of detectives.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Morton keeps the secrets coming, leading up to a powerful, emotional conclusion. This is storytelling at its finest.” — Booklist (starred review)

“A deliciously compelling mystery.” — Liane Moriarty on The Lake House

Additional Recommendations

Hope you enjoyed my book club discussion questions and reading guide for Homecoming by Kate Morton!

Here are some more of my book club recommendations:

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

rom the #1 internationally bestselling author of The House at Riverton, a novel that takes the reader on an unforgettable journey through generations and across continents as two women try to uncover their family’s secret past

A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book—a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-fi rst birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, “Nell” sets out to trace her real identity.

Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell’s death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled. A spellbinding tale of mystery and self-discovery, The Forgotten Garden will take hold of your imagination and never let go.

The Echo of Old Books by Barbara Davis

A novel about the magical lure of books and summoning the courage to rewrite our stories by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of The Keeper of Happy Endings and The Last of the Moon Girls.

Rare-book dealer Ashlyn Greer’s affinity for books extends beyond the intoxicating scent of old paper, ink, and leather. She can feel the echoes of the books’ previous owners―an emotional fingerprint only she can read. When Ashlyn discovers a pair of beautifully bound volumes that appear to have never been published, her gift quickly becomes an obsession. Not only is each inscribed with a startling incrimination, but the authors, Hemi and Belle, tell conflicting sides of a tragic romance.

With no trace of how these mysterious books came into the world, Ashlyn is caught up in a decades-old literary mystery, beckoned by two hearts in ruins, whoever they were, wherever they are. Determined to learn the truth behind the doomed lovers’ tale, she reads on, following a trail of broken promises and seemingly unforgivable betrayals. The more Ashlyn learns about Hemi and Belle, the nearer she comes to bringing closure to their love story―and to the unfinished chapters of her own life.

The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry

When a woman discovers a rare book that has connections to her past, long-held secrets about her missing sister and their childhood spent in the English countryside during World War II are revealed.

In the war-torn London of 1939, fourteen-year-old Hazel and five-year-old Flora are evacuated to a rural village to escape the horrors of the Second World War. Living with the kind Bridie Aberdeen and her teenage son, Harry, in a charming stone cottage along the River Thames, Hazel fills their days with walks and games to distract her young sister, including one that she creates for her sister and her sister alone—a fairy tale about a magical land, a secret place they can escape to that is all their own.

But the unthinkable happens when young Flora suddenly vanishes while playing near the banks of the river. Shattered, Hazel blames herself for her sister’s disappearance, and she carries that guilt into adulthood as a private burden she feels she deserves.

Twenty years later, Hazel is in London, ready to move on from her job at a cozy rare bookstore to a career at Sotheby’s. With a charming boyfriend and her elegantly timeworn Bloomsbury flat, Hazel’s future seems determined. But her tidy life is turned upside down when she unwraps a package containing an illustrated book called Whisperwood and the River of Stars. Hazel never told a soul about the imaginary world she created just for Flora. Could this book hold the secrets to Flora’s disappearance? Could it be a sign that her beloved sister is still alive after all these years?

As Hazel embarks on a feverish quest, revisiting long-dormant relationships and bravely opening wounds from her past, her career and future hang in the balance. An astonishing twist ultimately reveals the truth in this transporting and refreshingly original novel about the bond between sisters, the complications of conflicted love, and the enduring magic of storytelling.

Thank you for reading my book club discussion questions and as always, happy reading! ❤️