The Parting Glass – Reading Guide

  1. Megan Donaghue isn’t sure she knows how to be a good wife, but she loves Niccolo so much she is willing to try. What qualities do both Megan and Nick have that will help guarantee a happy marriage? What qualities will make one more difficult? What do you believe are the most important qualities to bring to a marriage?
  2. Peggy feels guilty that her baby son is autistic. Does she make the right decision when she gives up her dreams of becoming a doctor to work with him full time? Do good parents usually know what’s best for their child? Should Peggy feel guilty, or is Kieran’s autism beyond her control?
  3. When Niccolo is knocked unconscious during an explosion, he awakens to an image much like the Virgin Mary on the wall above him. Even though he is a former priest, he is skeptical his survival is a miracle, but “miracles” continue to occur near the image. Do you believe that miracles happen outside the pages of novels? Are the things Megan and Niccolo learn from this experience miraculous enough?
  4. Finn O’Malley has suffered a terrible loss. How can any person recover from the pain and guilt associated with an accident like the one that befalls his family?
  5. Peggy and Irene, her elderly distant cousin, feel a close kinship at first sight. Do you think the bonds of family can be so strong that even relatives we’ve never known before will seem familiar and important to us?
  6. There are many kinds of “partings” in everyone’s lives and this novel deals with many of them. Leaving the single life to be joined in marriage. Leaving the priesthood. Leaving one dream behind to pursue another. Parting from loved ones because of death or approaching death. What “partings” have been most significant in your life and what have you learned from them?