Seeking Carolina

(Spoiler alert! You’ve been warned.)

1. Who is/are the ghosts in the novel? Did they enhance or detract from the story?

2. Is there really a wish inside the locket? Do you believe in the otherworldy power of wishes? Or do we have to make our own wishes come true?

3. Vanished, dead, erased, happy. What is the significance of the women in Gram’s story about the locket? Is there any at all?

4. Johanna avoids her ghosts by staying away from Bitterly completely. Emma avoids them by pretending she doesn’t. Nina holds them at arm’s length, and Julietta seems almost oblivious to them. In the end, they all confront their past together. Which sister, in your opinion, dealt with her past in the most effective way?

5. “The cure for pain is in the pain.” (Rumi) Do you find this to be true? Was it true for the Coco sisters?

6. Charlotte’s anger with her mother stems from the belief that, had she the opportunity to go back in time and start over, she would not choose the same path that led to marriage and her five children. If you had the chance to start over again at any point in life, would you?

7. Johanna is confronted with choosing her successful bakery and easy life in Cape May, NJ, and moving back to Bitterly where Charlie and his children are too rooted to uproot. This choice becomes even stickier as “modern woman” struggles with “traditional woman” in an age when neither seems to be the right choice. Is choosing love always the right choice? Does love have to mean sacrifice? As a woman? As a man?

8. Julietta deals with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) caused by being in the accident that killed her father. What do you know about PTSD? Did you, like many, believe it was only for military veterans?

9. Adelina (Gram) and Giovanni (Poppy) Coco kept secrets from their granddaughters, about Carolina, about Johan, about the inheritance. Do you agree with their decision to break the cycle in this way? Or should they have told the sisters about their mother when she was still alive?

10. The lore surrounding Carolina’s death at Wolf Moon Lodge is that Johan came back for her, just as he promised. Did he? Was he, as the residents believed, always with her?

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