Discussion Guide for TheMap Quilt by Lisa J Lickel
1. How did the prologue set up the story for the present? Did you feel as if were back in time on the journey with Sasha and Missie and her little boy?
2. The author departs from the traditional single point of view of having one person, the sleuth, show what's happening in The Map Quilt, by letting Hart, the male protagonist, live out his side of the events. Does this practice help or hinder solving the mystery?
3. How did you see the character Hart develop throughout the story? What were his real issues?
4. Hart and Judy have a great relationship with Hart’s mother, Ellen. It takes both parents and children to make that happen. What ways were they helpful and encouraging to each other? What were their conflicts and how did they resolve them?
5. Ardyth Belters Edwards is in her seventies while Judy is still in her late twenties/early thirties. What makes their friendship work? Is it healthy to have such a close companion who is so different age-wise?
6. Ardyth and Bryce married when they were in their seventies. Ardyth had been married before and had certain expectations of Bryce, who had never been married. What were they? How did they handle their problems? What was Ardyth’s secret and why was she afraid to tell anyone?
7. Pancho Villa the cat, like his father Carranza, has unique talents. What were they, and how they help or hinder the story?
8. Julietta Barslow carried a huge secret burden. What was it, and why was she afraid to talk about it? Did you believe her story?
9. Are Hart and Judy a typical contemporary couple? Why or why not? What struggles and triumphs did they share?
10. Hart’s supervisor, John Harding, was troubled on many fronts. What were some of his problems and how did he deal with them? What happened to him?
11. Ardyth felt guilty about her grandson Bryan’s behavior. Do you think she deserved to feel that way? Have you ever blamed yourself for someone else’s actions?
12. Cheyenne Valley, Wisconsin, is a real place, settled by black farmers in the early days of Wisconsin history. (See the history behind The Map Quilt here.) How did the Talbots and the Burnses come into the story and what information did they have that was crucial to solving the case?
13. What was the buried treasure in The Map Quilt, and what clues led to finding it?
14. Which characters had the most to lose? Which had the most to gain? Have you ever worried about the choices of your family members? How did you handle it?