Book Discussion Question for The Kelpie by T.J.Wooldridge
1. The author opens the book en media res or “in the middle of the action.” Many adventure stories over history use this method. What do you think about it? What are some other books you’ve read that use this? What are some other ways authors open their books? Which do you prefer and why?
2. The author narrates the story in first person, or as if Heather is telling the story herself. What do you think of this kind of storytelling? Do you feel pulled into the story or do you feel limited? How do you feel when Heather speaks directly to the audience with her comments?
3. What are some ways that Heather’s family is unique? What are some of the problems they have as a family? How does her family affect Heather’s choices in dealing with dangerous situations?
4. Heather’s brother, Rowan, is diagnosed with autism, and her father takes medication for bipolar disorder. What are some of the ways these characters interact differently? What are these characters’ strengths and weaknesses? To what extent do their psychological differences affect or not affect their relationships and how they help Heather deal with the kelpie?
5. When Heather realizes that the kelpie isn’t a regular horse, she borrows books on faerie stories from her mother. What is she looking for? Does she find it? How does she apply the knowledge she obtains? Are the things Heather finds in the books correct and useful? What explanations does Heather’s mother give about magick and faerie toward the end of the book and why are those explanations necessary?
6. In Great Britain (which includes Scotland), “tea” is a traditional meal served between lunch and supper. We see tea served four times in the book: once with the police, once during the family meeting after the police leave, once with the queen, and once with the prince and princess. What are the differences in those events? How do you know? What does that lead you to believe about “tea” as a tradition in Great Britain? And how do the characters interpret this tradition differently?
7. Heather is shocked when she finds out the biggest consequence of putting the magickal bridal upon the kelpie. The kelpie responds to this by saying, “Ignorance of consequences has never been a release from any contract or action,” to explain that even if she didn’t know what was going to happen, Heather is responsible for the consequences. What does that mean to you? Is this a fair statement? Why or why not? Has there ever been a time in your life where you made a choice without knowing the consequences? How did you deal with the responsibility of these consequences?
Read a free sample of The Kelpie.