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         Book Groups - Discussion ideas/questions

PLEASE NOTE: The author will participate by phone, Skype video-hookup, or in person at no charge (except for travel costs) in any book group discussion of her works. For more information click on "send me an E-mail" at the bottom right of this page.

All books available from amazon.com;
also from the author's other website: (outofspain.com)

The author has also developed discussion questions for book groups for two of her titles: The Woman who Defied Kings (below) and Russian Dance.(see left column).

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Discussion Questions: THE WOMAN WHO DEFIED KINGS

1.Why do we think that modern women were the first to lead truly independent lives? What forces in history would have made this probable in other eras? Discuss some examples.

2.Has this book changed your perceptions of the lives of Jewish people during the Renaissance? Compare your attitudes before and afterwards.

3.It probably does not surprise you that there have been other women leaders and women professionals like Doña Gracia Nasi throughout history who we tend to hear nothing about. Discuss why this might have been so, especially in Jewish history.

4.What unfortunate character traits did Doña Gracia develop while pursuing her mission? Could she have prevented this from happening? What were some of the personal side effects?

5.Do you think Doña Gracia dealt fairly with her sister, Brianda? What else might she have done?

6.Do you think Doña Gracia sensed in advance that she might end up losing the family fortune? Do you think this bothered her?

7.Do you think she was wrong in rejecting Cosimo de Medici's invitation to settle in Florence? If not, why not? If so, why?

8.Do you think the Ottoman rabbis had a reasonable attitude towards the incoming conversos? What were their underlying and often unspoken concerns?

9.Could the Tiberias experiment have been saved? If so, how. If not, why not.

10.What makes someone feel a sense of mission? Does this sort of work develop courage or are some people simply more courageous by nature? Discuss the interaction between courage and mission.