In the opening scene, an unknown narrator makes his first appearance. Were you surprised that his story wove throughout the rest of the narrative? How would the novel have been different had this not happened? Did you know who the narrator was? When did you know?
The novel deals with the theme of love and forgiveness. How were the major characters—Miles, Sarah, Brian, Charlie, and Jonah—forgiven? How did love play a role? What else played a role? Is forgiveness and act, or is forgiveness and on-going process? Explain.
New Bern is described in detail. How does the setting play a role in the story? Could this story have occurred in a larger city? Why or why not?
Miles lost his first love and yet he’s ready to move on by the time he meets Sarah. Does Miles believe in the idea of eternal love?
Sarah is a wounded character when the novel opens because she can’t have children. How does Jonah influence the relationship between Miles and Sarah? Would they still have fallen in love had Jonah not been around?
In this novel, as in A Walk to Remember, there are scenes that take place in the cemetery. What is the significance of the cemetery in this story? How does it play into the theme of the novel?
Miles watches family home videos in the privacy of his home but refuses to share them with Jonah. Think about the memories that Miles has of Missy. What is Miles’s vision of Missy and how does that play a role in how he views Sarah?
Charlie plays a central role in the investigation and is Miles’s boss. He also plays a central role in Miles’s life as a father figure. What is there relationship like? How does Charlie view Miles? How does Miles view Charlie? Is this typical of father/son relationships?
Describe Jonah’s character. Is he believable as a young child?
The narrator confesses to stalking Miles and Jonah without their knowledge for almost a year. Did this make him a more sympathetic character or less? Why? What does this tell us about him? What do his memories tell us of Miles and Jonah before the story opened? Was this information important?
Toward the final third of the novel, the narrator makes an appearance and confesses to having been involved in Missy’s death. Was Sarah’s response believable? What would you have done if the same situation had happened to you? Knowing what she knew, did she make the right decision? Was Miles’s response justified?