In the opening scene, Adrienne decides to tell her daughter a story from her past about Paul Flanner, a relationship that had obviously ended. How would the novel have been different had the author decided not to let the reader know the ending in advance? Could the story have been told in another way, as simply a remembrance for instance, and still had the same impact?
Amanda lost her husband to cancer, and Adrienne lost Paul to an accident. Adrienne also lost her husband to a younger woman. Yet Adrienne found a way to heal, despite her losses, while Amanda has not. Is this difference a function of age and maturity, or simply the passage of time? If it’s both, do you believe that Amanda will eventually fall in love again? Is that important to her?
Rodanthe 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?
The novel deals with the themes of love and sacrifice. How did the major characters—Adrienne, Paul, Amanda and Robert Torrelson—sacrifice? How did love play a role? What else played a role?
In this novel, as in Message in a Bottle, there are scenes that take place on the beach. What is the significance of the beach in this story? How does it play into the theme of the novel?
There is a storm in this novel, just as there was in The Notebook. What is the significance of the storm? How does it play into the theme of the novel?
Adrienne never told her children about Paul in the year that followed their relationship in Rodanthe. Why wouldn’t she tell the children about him? Is that believable? How do her children remember her from that time? How does Amanda see her mother now, knowing that she’d kept a secret?
Paul is a wounded character when the novel opens because he feels that all the sacrifices in his life haven’t been worth it. How does Robert Torrelson influence the relationship between Paul and Adrienne? Would you like to read a novel based on the love story between Robert and his wife?
What do you make of the relationship that develops between Paul and Adrienne? Was it love at first sight? Do you think it’s possible to have such an intense connection with someone you’ve only just met?
Mark plays a central role in letting us get to know Paul Flanner. He also writes a letter that lets Adrienne know what had happened. Why did the author choose to use the epistolary method for describing these things? Is the letter more effective than a conversation? Why or why not?
What is the relationship between Mark and Paul like in the final moments of Paul’s life? How do you think Mark views Paul now? Is this typical of father/son relationships?
The inn is described in the opening paragraph of the novel. Why did the author start the novel with a description of an inn? How does the inn play a role in all that happens?