A note from the author ~ Discussion questions are for readers, usually book clubs, who’ve read the book.
If you haven’t read the book, the discussion questions below may contain plot spoilers.
- Have you ever experienced a heartbreaking loss that turned your life upside down, like when Mattie’s cake shop burned down? How did you cope? Were you able to see any way that God might work something good from it—either at the time it happened or later, in retrospect? Has that perspective enabled you to better handle later losses?
- Do you have a personal possession that you treasure, like Mattie’s notebook of cake designs? What makes it so special to you? Why do you think Mattie’s notebook was so important to her? When do you think it is acceptable to place so much importance in an object like that, and when do you think it is unhealthy?
- When Mattie’s cake shop burned down, she was forced to move back to her parents’ home—a place she’d avoided because of her feelings for Gideon. Have you ever witnessed two people who would prefer to not be around each other being forced together? How did they handle the situation? Do you think Mattie and Gideon handled it badly or well in the beginning in comparison to your own experiences?
- Mattie started dating Sol because he was the complete opposite of Gideon, who’d broken her heart. Do you think this thought process is a wise way to make a decision? Do you think it is a good way to choose a mate?
- Gideon went out of his way to recreate Mattie’s notebook, and that act meant the world to her. What else do you think he could have done to show her his feelings? Why do you think recreating her notebook was especially meaningful to Mattie?
- Gideon hid the truth of his cancer from Mattie and broke up with her, trying to protect her from the long period of pain and the fear of losing him. If he had told her, however, he would have put her in a position where she would be forced to make a very difficult decision. Do you think he was right or wrong to make this decision on his own, without revealing the truth to Mattie? Why or why not?
- Do you think Gideon may have had other reasons for not telling people about his disease? If so, what do you think they might have been?
- When Gideon finally told Mattie the real reason he broke up with her, he regretted not telling her sooner. If you had been in Mattie’s position, how would you have reacted when he revealed his reason?
- Sol was a good man, and the relationship between him and Mattie was comfortable and beneficial for both of them. As you read the story, did you think Mattie should stay with Sol, in spite of her feelings for Gideon? Which man did you want her to end up with? If Mattie was your friend, and she asked for your advice, what would you tell her?
- Mattie and Gideon avoided each other for years after their painful breakup. But when they were forced together, they managed to resolve their issues and their relationship. When you read about fictional characters whose lives work out in the end, does that encourage you to trust that God can work out your confusing or painful circumstances for good, according to His perfect plan? Or do you believe that things like that only seem to happen in novels?