THE TIME BETWEEN

By Karen White
New American LibraryMay 2014
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karen-white.com

Trade Paperback368 pages, $15.00, ISBN: 9780451468116
Subject: Family / Intrigue / Relationships

  1. “The relationship between sisters is a little piece of heaven and hell. But we share the same soul.” Do you agree with Helena’s sentiment? How does this idea unfold over the course of the novel for each pair of sisters? Why is this relationship so complicated, so special? Are our siblings an extension of us?
  2. From Eve’s difficult pregnancy and Glen’s and Ellie’s affections, to Helena’s and Bernadette’s wartime tragedies, every character in the story seems to carry a burden of secrets. How do these secrets shape the story? Does airing them set the characters free?
  3. Why does Eve wish for a child? Do you think it is wise or fair, knowing the risks? What trumps her own safety in her heart?
  4. In the novel, we spend a lot of time moving in and out of Gigi’s, Helena’s, and Bernadette’s bedrooms—what do these rooms say about the characters? Do you think this room defines or il-lustrates our lives?
  5. What did you think was hidden in Bernadette’s bedroom?
  6. Why are the Gullah sweetgrass baskets, like the “secret keep-er,” so significant? What kind of magic do you think is woven into them at the time of their creation?
  7. How do Helena and Ellie mirror each other in terms of the guilt they feel over the past? Is forgiveness possible for either one?
  8. Why do you think the author chose the title The Time Between? What does it mean in the context of the story?
  9. How does Ellie’s caretaking of Helena transform them, even heal them, both? Why does Ellie stick with the job as Helena works to sabotage any relationship? When do things start to change?
  10. Did you suspect any of the twists in the book? Which ones? From where did you think the paintings originated?
  11. Were you shocked by the revelations about Ben’s and Samuel’s fates? Could you ever imagine having to make such a set of life-or-death choices—especially as a mother? Does knowing this background help you make sense of Helena’s behavior? Do you think she did the “right” thing?
  12. What does the Gullah woman mean by “All good-bye ain’t gone”? What does it mean to Ellie? To Gigi?
  13. What does it mean for Ellie to finally play the Chopin piece?

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