Book Club Questions

The Concordia Wells Mysteries are set at a fictitious New England women’s college in the 1890s, a period that has since been dubbed the “Progressive Era.” There was indeed a great deal of progress during that time, both technological and social (see other pages here at my site, as well as the Research tab for more info).

Francois Courboin, In the Cabinet des Estampes (Bibliothèque Nationale), 1897. Image via wikimedia commons.

It’s great fun to immerse oneself in a different time and place, and experience how various characters interact in that environment. I’d like to think historical mysteries make for interesting book club discussions, too. With that in mind, I’ve generated a set of book club questions for Dangerous and Unseemly, the first novel of the Professor Concordia Wells Mysteries.

Feel free to email me with other questions you’d like added to the list.

*Note for educators: the Lexile Analyzer has given the novel a Lexile count of 800L-900L, which makes it accessible for middle school and high school readers, as well as advanced 5th grade readers. Although written for adult readers, it is a clean read, with no sex or graphic violence.

 

 

Questions:

  1. What do you consider the central theme of the story?

  2. Which character in the book would you most like to meet, and why?

  3. In the novel, the students prepare and perform Shakespeare’s Macbeth. How do the themes or elements of the play intersect with the book?

  4. How is Concordia Wells a product of her time? How is she unconventional for her time?

  5. Based on the novel, what pitfalls and challenges were women dealing with in the 1890s?

  6. What role did higher education play in the lives of women in the 1890s?

  7. What disparities existed in the roles, lifestyles, and behavioral expectations of male and female educators at Hartford Women’s College?

  8. How would you characterize Concordia’s relationships with her mother and sister?

  9. What role does Concordia’s sister Mary play in the story? How does Mary’s condition reflect the issues of the time period?

  10. What personal growth or deepened understanding does Concordia experience by the end of the book?

  11. What is unusual about Lady Principal Hamilton, and what is conventional about her? How does her presence reflect the story’s issues or themes?

  12. What do you see happening with Concordia and her life after this?

 

Where to purchase a copy of Dangerous and Unseemly:

Amazon

Barnes&Noble

iBooks

borrow a copy, via Overdrive

audiobook