Hannibal Free Public Library

The Life and Times of  Persimmon Wilson


Nancy Peacock

April 19, 2021

2:30 – 4:00 p.m.




A sweeping love story that follows the epic journey of a slave-turned-Comanche warrior who travels from the brutality of a New Orleans sugar cane plantation to the indomitable frontier of an untamed Texas, searching not only for the woman he loves but also for his own identity.



Nancy Peacock is the author of the novels Life Without Water and Home Across the Road, as well as the memoir, A Broom of One’s Own: Words on Writing, Housecleaning, and Life. She currently teaches writing classes and workshops in and around Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband Ben.



1)    While on Sweetmore Plantation, Chloe begs Persy to help her escape, yet he is hesitant. Do you think his reluctance is realistic or cowardly?

2)    What do you think the likelihood of their escape being successful would have been?

3)    Besides Master Wilson and Holmes with their whips and possibly dogs, what were the binds that held them in slavery?

4)    Chloe is always presented through Persy’s eyes, or as he believes other men see her. In this way she is never allowed to represent herself. Do you think Persy’s portrait of Chloe is accurate?


5)    At the Double H Ranch, Persy witnesses Mo Tilly killing Miss Doreen. It is Miss Doreen’s death that finally sets Sedge free. Do you think this was cold ruthlessness on Mo Tilly’s part, or was it a kindness extended toward Sedge?


6)    Throughout the book, Persy moves from victim to a man of violence. Does he remain a sympathetic character to you through this evolution?


7)    When Persy is captured by the Comanche, they treat him badly, yet later he is accepted into the tribe. How is it that Persy was able to forgive the Comanche their treatment of him, yet never able to forgive Master Wilson?


8)    Persy moves from the culture of slavery to the culture of being in the military to the culture of being a freedman to the culture of the Comanche. How do you think his behavior was influenced by each of these cultures? Do you think the behaviors of Master Wilson and Holmes were influenced by the culture in which they lived? What parts of Persy’s character remain constant regardless of the culture he lives in?


9)    The tribe Persy lives with is surprised in two different attacks by the U.S. Army. These battles are historically accurate. Did you find it difficult to believe that the Comanche would be surprised in such a way? If so, where do you think this belief came from?


10) If Persy had never found Chloe, do you think he would have escaped Palo Duro Canyon during the final raid? What do you think became of those that did escape? How were

their lives changed?


Adapted from: https://www.bookmovement.com/bookDetailView/51250/The-Life-And-Times-Of-Persimmon-Wilson-By-Nancy-Peacock and https://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/Nancy-Peacock/509264700#:~:text=Nancy%20Peacock%20is%20the%20author,lives%20with%20her%20husband%20Ben.