Other Reader’s Corner
- Reading Guides
- Discussion questions for the Beekeeper’s Apprentice
- Discussion questions for Folly
For a set of bookmarks, ready to print on a color printer, click here. Just print onto a stiff, glossy paper and cut into four lengthwise strips for four long bookmarks, or cut those in two for eight shorter ones.
The two novels used most often in book groups seem to be The Beekeeper’s Apprentice and Folly. Discussion questions for those two books are provided below, and we will periodically be adding new discussion questions to the LRK Reading Guides page.
And if you’ve already used a Laurie King book for your discussion group and have something to add, please write us and we’ll try to incorporate your suggestions in the site.
Reading guides can currently be downloaded in PDF format for the following books:
- With Child
- The God of the Hive
- The Beekeeper’s Apprentice
- A Monstrous Regiment of Women
- A Letter of Mary
- The Moor
Discussion questions for The Beekeeper’s Apprentice
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice is a novel with a remarkably wide appeal, to all ages and many genders. I began the book not knowing a great deal about the period after World War I, but it did not take much reading to find a peculiarly familiar flavor to the time. My own period of growing up was the Sixties, and Mary Russell’s teens and Twenties felt eerily similar: the devastation of the Great War found an echo in Vietnam; women made huge strides in basic rights during both eras; their air flight presaged our moon shots; their growing dependence on the telephone found a parallel in the infancy of computers. Women of the two periods even looked the same: skinny adolescents in short skirts.
- In what ways does the War shape the book? Are the guns of the Somme merely background noise, or central? How much would the story change if set in, say, 1910, or 1920?
- Russell and Holmes, though similar in many ways, yet differ profoundly in others. How does Russell’s sex influence her outlook and actions? How does her interest in theology reflect and affect those differences?
- What does the book’s subtitle mean, beyond a reference to Holmes’ book on Beekeeping?
- There’s a considerable age difference between Holmes and Russell. How would it affect your attitude toward their relationship in this book if you knew they later married? How would it affect your attitude if you knew they did not marry?
- Is it fair, for a writer to make use of another writer’s creation? Does it make a difference if the later work is a straight pastiche (that is, a story with the same characters, setting, etc as the original) or if it merely incorporates the earlier work in a different story (as with Beekeeper, whose main character is Mary Russell, not Holmes)?
Discussion questions for Folly
Folly is another King book often used in book groups. It is a mystery, and thus an entertainment, but it is also a thoughtful exploration of a woman’s journey toward wholeness. And it encourages the powerful fantasy of going off to the woods and building a house…