P.S. If you’ve already read the book, feel free to add any other discussion questions of your own in the comments!
Birle is willing to follow Orien through countless dangers in order to be with him. Have you ever followed someone (either over a great distance or through very extreme transitions) because you loved him/her?
1. When the story begins, Birle is a 14-year-old living in a world where people age quickly. Did Cynthia Voigt succeed in crafting a character with advanced maturity (based on this culture) who still sometimes behaved like a typical teenager?
2. The morning after Birle meets Orien, she quickly develops a strong connection with him–basically, she’s head over heels. Did this feel like insta-love to you? Or did it feel natural?
3. How did you judge Orien’s decision to run away rather than remain next in line to be Earl? Was it selfish or selfless?
4. Almost every single character in this book is morally gray. Which one did you find to be the most kind-hearted? Which one surprised you by turning out to be more villain than hero (or vice versa)?
5. Birle has a gift for adjusting, but when she reaches the Earl of Sutherland’s court, she can’t seem to find her footing and ultimately leaves, even though she’s in love with Orien and pregnant with his child. Did her motivation ring true to you? And did you agree with her decision?
6. Did you guess that Orien would show up at the end? Did you find his behavior and actions, both at the court and then at Birle’s home, to be true to his character?
7. Cynthia Voigt published this novel in 1990, when young adult literature was still very limited in scope and popularity. Did this book read differently than YA fantasy stories written today? Why or why not?