“Lioness of Boston” book group discussion guide

Thank you for choosing The Lioness of Boston as your book group selection! Here are some questions to consider:

• Isabella is rejected early in her Boston life. How does this rejection influence her character? Are there ways this rejection helps her?

• What draws Isabella to Jack? What traits does she have that he finds compelling do you think? How does their marriage change during the course of the book?

• What is Isabella looking for in a friend? Do you think she finds it? How would you describe her circle of friends by the end of the novel?

• How does the tragedy Isabella experiences influence her later lite decisions?

• Scandal seems unavoidable for Isabella——do you think it finds her or she finds it?

• Isabella isn’t an artist, yet she does have an artistic vision. How do you see this vision throughout the book, prior to the opening of the museum?

• Though this novel starts in 1861 and closes in 1903 with the opening of the museum, there are many issues discussed that still are relevant today. Discuss these themes (misogyny, racism, cliquishness, etc.).

• Is there a scene that resonated for you personally? If so, why? Are you comfortable sharing this with the group?

• What did you learn about Boston history or world history that you did not know prior to reading this novel?

• Isabella says that we collect all that we are. Is there an object in your own home that tells a story about you? Or a collection?

• Who–or what–is Isabella’s greatest love?

• How does Isabella’s older voice looking back differ from the voice in book 1-4?

• What story elements surprised you?

• Isabella was the first woman to open a museum in the United States. She decided in her will to state that nothing be moved. Why?

• Were you compelled to look up any works of art or details from the novel? If so, which ones and why?

• Why do you think The Lioness of Boston is the title of this novel?