Reading group questions for The Midnight Rose
1. Love is a powerful thread that runs through The Midnight Rose, especially that of the friendship between Indira and Anahita. What do you think makes their friendship so enduring? Have you yourself experienced such a strong friendship of your own?
2. Do you think the relationship between Indira and Anahita is equal, given that it’s between mistress and maid? And are there parallels with Lord Anthony and Mrs Trevathan’s relationship?
3. Maud has an obvious prejudice to both her children’s choice of partner, Donald with Anahita and Selina with Henri. Anahita also experiences prejudice when she visits the Royal Academy of Arts in London. How did this make you feel? Do you think that the world’s perception has changed towards this over the past 100 years?
4. Do you believe in a sixth sense? Have you ever felt the pain of the death of a loved one?
5. Do you believe that the lack of a loving childhood can affect how you become as an adult? For example, Rebecca becomes strong, having had an alcoholic mother, and Lord Anthony suffers problems in adulthood after being raised by Maud and Daisy. Is it nature or nurture that dictates your personality?
6. A strong theme in the book is Ayurverdic medicine and its health benefits. Do you share the same beliefs in alternative medicine as Anahita?
N.B. The remaining questions contain plot spoilers!
7. Do you agree that Donald should have married Violet, or should he have waited for Anahita?
8. Do you think that Donald did love Violet? How did you respond to her death, and Donald’s reaction to it?
9. Rebecca is shocked to discover that the world know of her supposed engagement to Jack when she arrives in England. What do you think the effects of social media and immediate press coverage have on today’s celebrities?
10. Anahita helps her best friend, Indira, elope to Paris with Prince Varun. Do you think her loyalty was right lying with Indira or do you think she should have been loyal to the Marahani, the closest thing she had to a mother?
11. Anahita experiences a strong mother’s instinct that her son is still alive. Do you believe in maternal instinct? Do you think women are generally more instinctive than men?
12. Donald, Anahita and Violet are part of a classic ‘love triangle’. In your eyes, did the depth of Donald’s love for Anahita make it acceptable for him to have a relationship with her outside his marriage?
13. Another theme of the book is redemption. Do you think that Ari finds this, in following the story of his family’s past? Did you think his storyline mirrored that of any of the other characters?