Book Club Discussion Questions
1. The main character, Brynlei, has been diagnosed as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). HSPs processes stimuli from the world around them more acutely than most people, including experiencing a heightened sensitivity to odors, noise, lights, etc. In some cases, HSPs may develop a “sixth sense” that allows them to experience premonitions or detect the presence of certain types of energy. Approximately 15-20% of the population are believed be HSPs. Are you an HSP? Do you know someone who is? Consider taking this QUIZ to find out for sure.
2. In what ways did the author use the setting of the book to set the tone and further the mystery?
3. In the first book in the series, Trail of Secrets, Brynlei feels like an outcast when she arrives at Foxwoode and quickly befriends another outcast, Anna. In Barn Shadows, has Brynlei overcome her label as an outcast? How does the appearance of her new cabin mate, Grace, factor in?
4. Think back to the scene when Brynlei discovers that Jackson Woods has been destroyed to make way for a housing development. Brynlei seems to disdain the greedy and egocentric views of the general population, and often feels more at ease around animals than people. Can you relate? What would our world look like if we gave as much weight to the protection of the natural world, and the thoughts, feelings, and needs of animals as we do to the economic prosperity of humans?
5. Several strange and unexplained happenings occur in Brynlei’s presence throughout the book—drained batteries, flashing clocks, the letter “C” appearing, vivid dreams, etc. Do you believe spirits are able to send messages to the living in this way? Have you ever had a paranormal experience, or had something that happened to you that simply could not be explained? Is there a difference?
6. Much of the book revolves around Brynlei’s quest to win Foxwoode’s Top Rider Award. How was she able to keep her focus on her riding in the midst of the growing distractions around her? Have you ever trained in a sport over weeks/months/years in an effort to win an award/game/competition? What obstacles got in your way?
7. Why was the discovery of the antique doll important to the heart of the story? Why did the doll have such intensely different effects on various characters? (Brynlei, Anna, Grace, Debbie Olson, Joseph Flynn)