Bookclub Questions for ‘The Girl on the Cliff’
1) In the opening pages of the novel, Aurora reveals the overriding theme of her story is love. Discuss the many forms love takes in The Girl on the Cliff.
2) The backdrop of the First World War provides the setting for the beginning of the Lisles’ and the Ryans’ entanglement. How important is this setting in terms of what unfolds between these two families and how they first meet?
3) Aurora’s voice punctuates the chapters as she narrates her story. How does this affect the rhythm of the novel? What does it add to the reading experience?
4) The mother and child – and indeed the father and child – relationship is explored through all the central characters in the novel. How do these relationships differ from one another? Does adoption have an impact on any of the relationships?
5) We see three generations of Ryan women and three generations of Lisle women over the course of the novel. How does each generation compare with the next? Do the women pass down any traits or life lessons to their daughters?
6) When Grania tells her mother of her plans to look after Aurora while her father is away, Kathleen fears that history is about to repeat itself and only sorrow will await her daughter. Do you think Kathleen’s fears are justified? Discuss the ways in which history has already repeated itself in the lives of these two families?
7) How did you feel about the revelation at the end of the novel? Was it what you expected? How would you have felt if Aurora’s fate had been different?
8) Did you think Aurora’s final words to her “readers” and her letter to Grania provided a fitting ending for the novel?