The Good Daughter
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Kit Brennan has always been the most grounded of her sisters. A Catholic school English teacher for seventeen years and a constant giver, her decisions have been soundjust not very satisfying. Her fortieth birthday is right around the corner, causing Kit to consider some wilder notions, like skipping right past the love and marriage to raising a child all by herself . . .
A girls’ weekend away is just the reprieve Kit needs from school, Mr. Wrongs, and lifechanging decisions. It’s there that she meets a man who’s dangerous; a man who challenges who she thought she was, or rather should be. Kit wants to indulge herself this once, but with one of her students in crisis and the weight of her family’s burdens weighing heavy on her heart, Kit isn’t sure if now is the time to let her own desires take flight . . .
Jane Porter is the awardwinning author of The Good Woman, She’s Gone Country, Easy on the Eyes, Flirting with Forty (basis for the Lifetime movie), and several other novels. There are more than 5 million copies of her books in print.
- In the first chapter, the Brennan family comes together to celebrate Cass’s birthday. When asked to make a wish, Gabi shouted, “Wish for a baby.” Tommy responded with, “We don’t need a baby.” Tears slowly filled Cass’ eyes. As the reader, could you feel the pain between Cass and Tommy? Do you think that Tommy was being insensitive with this comment or realistic regarding their history with trying to conceive?
- After the party, Kit begins to reflect on her life and decides that she wants more. What is it about milestone birthdays that, at times, cause us to do drastic things or make lifechanging decisions?
- Kit decides to take matters into her own hands to become a mom even though it goes against her Faith and what her family would approve of. Do you think Kit feeling the pressure of her “biological clock” ticking is causing her to go against her morals?
- When Kit meets Michael in the bar his first impression seemed sincere almost too good to be true. At the end of her date with him, she began to realize he was different then the person she first met. How do you think Kit’s previous longterm relationship and her family values prepared her for Michael?
- Kit goes on a girls’ trip with her teacher friends, Polly and Fiona. While chatting with Polly, the subject of her sister Meg’s affair is brought up. Kit makes the statement that the affair was just about sex and not a big deal. In turn Polly says, “Kit, you can’t have a great relationship without good sex.” Do you agree with Polly’s statement or do you tend to agree more with Kit, that you can have an intimate relationship without good sex?
- While in Capitola, Kit meets Jude Knight, a rugged, motorcycle riding, bad boy and nothing like anyone Kit has ever dated. However, she finds herself curiously attracted to him. At this point in the story were you hoping for Kit to break away from her normal attractions and date Jude or were you hoping for her to go on with her life and her adoption plans? Why? That being said, why do you think women are attracted to the bad boy? In your opinion do these relationships ever work out?
- Sarah calls Kit with the news that their mother, who is dying of cancer, wants to go on a cruise with the whole family. This starts a tense conversation about the reality of their mother’s impending death. Which sister are you more like? Kit, who wants to avoid talking about her mom’s death or Sarah who is devastated but wants to be more realistic about her wishes and logistics of her last days?
- In part two of the story, we meet 16yearold Delilah, who is Michael’s (Howard) stepdaughter. Delilah lives next door to bad boy biker Jude Knight who Kit met in Capitola. Delilah is fascinated by Jude and enjoys watching and talking to him while he works on his motorcycle. Why is Jude reluctant to engage her in conversation and get involved with the obvious problems he hears and sees next door? Conversely, what do you think draws Delilah to Jude?
- When Kit first meets Delilah, Kit is uncomfortable for many reasons but partly because she suspects that she is hiding something. Have you met people in your life that you got a feeling about their situation? Did you try to find out what it was?
- Delilah kisses a girl in her class at the end of an English literature performance and the girl slaps her in response and then a bigger fight ensues. Kit goes to bat for Delilah, defending her and helping her to get a lighter punishment. What does Kit see in Delilah? Why does she defend her? How did she respond when Jude walks into her classroom as Delilah’s guardian?
- Kit begins to piece together that Delilah doesn’t have a good home life and suspects that her stepfather might be abusive. How does Kit reach out to Delilah? How far should a teacher go to protect a student? Teachers are mandated reporters and must report suspected abuse? What is your opinion about teacher intervention?
- Kit’s mom is too sick to go on the already planned and booked cruise but she is adamant that everyone go on the cruise anyway. Kit stays with her mom during that week. One night Kit is awakened by her mom’s painfilled crying. Without anyone else to call, she turns to Jude for help. How did this event change their relationship? Why does Jude pull away from Kit before he leaves?
- At the request of her mom, Kit calls her sister Bree in Africa to tell her that their mom doesn’t have much time left and to fly home. During this conversation, Bree reveals a terrible secret from her childhood. What did she reveal? How is Kit affected by this revelation?
- After reading Delilah’s journal, Kit makes a bold move and drives to Delilah’s house to confront Howard about being abusive. Kit bluffs and says that she knows what’s going on and that she has talked to the police. Howard panics, Delilah runs and when she returns home, Howard and her mom are gone. Do you think Kit did the right thing by confronting Howard? What do you think would have been a different or better way to handle the situation, if any? Do you think Delilah’s mom was smart to provoke Howard so he wouldn’t take his anger out on Delilah?
- Jude shows up at the Brennan’s St. Patrick’s party when they are celebrating the life of their mother before she passes. How did Kit react to Jude’s visit? How did her brother, dad and family react? How do you think their relationship will progress?
- At the end of the story, Delilah is back in Texas where she receives a letter from her mother that says that she loves her but that it’s time for her to be on her own. Do you think that Delilah’s mother was smart to abandon her daughter or selfish with her decision?
- In The Good Daughter Porter shows us that life isn’t always perfect that unfortunately, sometimes people go through life with many secrets of abuse. In this story, some were only hinted at, but others were a dominating theme. How did you feel about abuse being a main character in the book? Was there one abuse that bothered you more than the others? Do you think that the abusive characters and those that were abused were accurately portrayed?
- Throughout the book, Kit relies very heavily on first impressions. Sometimes she was right and sometimes she was very wrong. How much do first impressions impact our own lives? Are your impressions typically correct or have their been times when you’ve been wrong?