Ellen’s suspense novels Poplar Place and The Brass Compass (arriving May 22, 2017) are excellent for reader’s groups. Below are guided discussion questions.
If your book club is interested in inviting Ellen to be a guest author at an upcoming meeting please complete the contact form. Be sure to provide your location. Depending upon availability, Ellen may be able to attend book clubs local to the Washington, DC area. Other alternatives are via Skype and conference call.
Book Club questions for Poplar Place.
1. How did you find the Poplar Place experience? Did the book engage you immediately, or did it take a while to “get into it?” What kind of emotions did the story evoke while you read it—amused, entertained, disturbed, confused?
2. Discuss the main characters, Cara and Danny. What kind of personality traits and inner qualities could you identify with? Which ones turned you off?
3. Discuss the motivations of the different characters as they relate to each other–Cara, Danny, Dr. Nolan, Jackie, Agent Bryant, Rizzoli, etc. Discuss the dynamics between characters? Why do you think the characters do what they do? Do you feel their actions were justified? Did any of the characters remind you of people you know? Which character did you like the most? Least?
4. Do you feel Cara and Danny grow or mature by the end of the book? Do you think they learned something about themselves?
5. Do you find the plot engaging? Did you consider it a fast-paced read or did it drag? Do you consider Poplar Place a plot-driven or character-driven story? What part(s) of the plot surprised you? Provided suspense? Were there parts that you felt were predictable?
6. The time-line moves back and forth between past and present, through flashbacks. What did you think about the book’s structure? Did you find it confusing or was it a good way to tell the story? Why do you feel the author chose to tell the story in this manner? Would you have written it differently? If so, how?
7. The author wrote the story through the eyes of Cara. Why do you think the author chose to write in first person? In general, do you prefer stories written in first person or third person? Why or why not?
8. What did you think of the title? Why do you think the author chose to name the book Poplar Place? Can you think of a different title for the book?
9. Were there scenes or passages that struck you as insightful or profound? Was there a snippet of dialog that you found funny or poignant or that captures a particular character’s essence? Is there a passage or scene that made you cry or laugh out loud?
10. Did you find the ending satisfying? Why or why not? How would you change it?
11. If you could ask the author a question about the characters, plot, theme, etc., what would it be? Have you read any other books by Ellen Butler? If so, how does Poplar Place compare? If not, does this book spark your interest in reading others?