1. Put yourself in Alex’s shoes. Would you have left everything behind and traveled to a foreign country to start a new life and why? Why do you think Alex did?
2. Alex suffered greatly from the loss of her brother and father. How do you think their deaths played a part in her choice to move to Italy?
3. Alex did not make a very good impression on Nicolas by lying to him, especially when he was already resentful of her. Why do you think she lied? How would you have handled the situation?
4. Isa risked her life to pass secret messages back and forth between the Italian Resistance and the Allies. Why do you think she did that? Would you have taken that risk?
5. In what ways did Isa and Alex’s lives parallel each other? How were the two young women alike and different?
6. Alex learned many things from the Isa she knew personally, yet she learned even more from the younger Isa in the journal. In what ways did Isa impact Alex’s life?
7. Isa seems much more mature at 17 than Alex sometimes does at 22. Why do think that is? Do you believe that young people are less mature overall today than they were at that time (World War II)? If so, do you believe that the circumstances of war made young people grow up faster? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
8. Alex had a strained relationship with her mother but was determined to make things right. How would you have gone about bringing your mother back into your life? Would you have bothered? Why or why not? Would it be harder for a child to reach out to a parent than the other way around? How do you think Alex found the ability to forgive her mother and attempt to mend their relationship?
9. How would you have handled the discovery of a precious work of art on your property?
10. Do you believe that Isa was communicating with Alex from the grave, or was that wishful thinking of Alex’s part?