Hannibal Free Public Library

The Oysterville Sewing Circle


Susan Wiggs

May 16, 2022

2:00 – 3:30 p.m.


Discussion Questions


1. In this novel’s first scene, we see Caroline Shelby headed back to the hometown she’d been eager to leave 10 years earlier. Did she do the right thing by returning? Would you choose to go back to your parents’ home if you’d been in a similar situation? Why or why not?

2. Caroline thinks to herself about Sierra and Will: “We’re not kids anymore. The past is the past. They could start fresh. Clean slate.” Is that just wishful thinking? Are clean slates truly possible? Do they manage to start fresh?

3. When Caroline says to Sierra, “I’m really happy for you,” she then reflects, “I’m really happy for you. One of the great empty phrases used by so many people to hide so many real feelings. Could you actually tie your happiness to someone else?” Do you think you can tie your own happiness to other people?

4. Caroline was raised in a small town with a close-knit family whereas Will moved constantly with his father’s military deployment and lost his mother when he was 12. How do their different backgrounds affect their worldview as children? As adults? Why do their life’s paths both end up leading back to Oysterville?

5. When reading Old Yeller to Flick and Addie, Caroline discovers, to her horror, that the book ended with the dog’s death and not the happy ending she remembered from her childhood. She accuses her mother of changing the ending and her mother simply replies, “Did I? That was smart of me. I certainly didn’t want the five of you up all night crying over a sad dog story.” Did her mother do the right thing? Would you ever change the ending of your favorite children’s book?

6. In the first chapter, Caroline looks at Angelique and thinks: “The last thing she looked like was a victim.” What do you think Caroline was looking for that she didn’t see? She later looks at Lindy Bloom, another survivor of domestic violence and considers how Lindy Bloom had always “seemed as steady and grounded as the lighthouses along the coast.” How does this novel challenge our ideas about what victims of domestic violence look like? How does organizing the Oysterville Sewing Circle shift Caroline’s perception?

7. When Sierra confesses to Caroline that she’d terminated a pregnancy and hidden it from Will, Caroline thinks to herself, “the truth needed to come out, but it wasn’t hers to disclose.” If you were Caroline — or Sierra — would you have kept that kind of a secret? Should Sierra have shared it with Caroline at all?


Adapted from: http://www.lhttps://www.bookbub.com/blog/the-oysterville-sewing-circle-book-club-questions