The House on Willow Street by Cathy Kelly: book club discussion questions

A quick reminder that our book club discussion questions sometimes contain spoilers. If you’d like to read the book before reading the questions: check the catalogue

The House on Willow Street cover

Cathy Kelly has mentioned in interviews that she thinks women carry around an extra set of mental baggage to men, and that her fiction draws heavily on that. Do you feel this is correct? How do you feel that is expressed in this novel?

Facing the past is a major theme of the book. How does each character deal with the ways the past has made her fragile?

The secrets which emerge in this story seem a little less world-breaking than in some of Cathy Kelly’s other books. Does a more domestic scale make the problems seem smaller, or realer?

Kelly notes in interviews that she builds the characters first, then works on her plots. Can you feel this in the novel? Are the characters more detailed than they strictly need to be, slowing the plot, or do you enjoy this extra detail as a feature?

Does the concluding chapter tie strongly to the rest of the novel? Is this an advantage?

Does the structure of the town of Avalon reflect the themes of the novel? How?