helaine mario

Book Club Questions

I'm so glad you have chosen to read one of my books for your bookclub. Of course you will have your own discussions and your own way of doing things. But here are a few more questions to consider, just in case. If you let me know you are reading my books, I am happy to send you additional information. And, just so you know, every dollar of my royalties will go to charity—so thank you for making a difference. Welcome to Maggie's world!

If you have a book club in the Arlington, VA, or Washington, DC, area and would like to discuss my talk on the craft of writing, please contact me at helaine@helainemario.com.

Shadow Music

Shadow Music

Download a pdf of the questions

Of course you will have your own questions for discussion after reading Shadow Music. But here are a few questions that have been asked of me recently, that I found particularly intriguing or insightful, and sure to initiate a good discussion.

About the Characters...

The author has said she is 'all about character, character, character.'

Helaine Mario

Dark Rhapsody

Dark Rhapsody

Download a pdf of the questions

The Big Picture

About Characters

About Plot

About Settings

And finally

Note: many of these questions are the same as for The Lost Concerto, below, because Maggie and the Colonel are major characters in both books. But different questions specific to Dark Rhapsody have been included, since your members may not have read The Lost Concerto, which began Maggie's story.

Helaine Mario

The Lost Concerto

The Lost Concerto

Download a pdf of the questions

  1. How do different people handle grief and loss? How do these characters find a way to move on? How does the personality of each character as much as the loss suffered determine which path is taken?
    (Note: you might not want to begin with this question since many clubs report that it takes over the whole evening. ☺)

  2. Little was known about the huge quantity and value of treasures "lost" in WWII detailed in the movies Monuments Men and Woman in Gold. Were you aware of the loss of musical manuscripts as well?

  3. Helaine Mario says, "I wrote the book that I wanted to read. That means writing about something that I love—classical music. In The Lost Concerto, and in Dark Rhapsody, it is music that sets this story apart, music that tells Maggie's story. What are you passionate about? What would YOU choose to write about?

  4. How do the choices that we make shape our lives?

  5. What is your definition of courage? How was Maggie courageous? Sofia?

  6. How do you think you would you respond to learning someone you thought dead was still living?

  7. Do you think that Sugar's deception was justified? Is he conflicted about asking for Maggie's help? Why or why not?

  8. What do you think are the themes of the book? Are they fully explored?

  9. Which scene resounded the most deeply with you in either a positive or negative way?

  10. What is your opinion of Victor? Of Dane? Is the history the author shares of their early lives an explanation for their behavior or an excuse for it? What about Victor's last exchange with Maggie? Was he remorseful or did he feel justified for the horrors he caused?

  11. How did Michael's experiences in the Middle East make him more likely to help Sugar? How do you feel about the relationship between the Colonal and Shiloh?

  12. Maggie is a 48(ish) woman. How does her maturity dictate a different story than if she was childless or younger?

  13. How have the characters changed by the end of the book?

  14. Will you read future books by this author, or recommend her books to a friend?