Week 2 Questions for Book Lovers Unite: Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn

hush little baby

It’s time for Week 2 questions! Week 1  was a great discussion- so let’s keep the momentum going for Week 2!

 

Remember: Answer the questions you want and ask questions if you have one- just don’t spoil ahead please!

 

Week 2 Questions:

1. I think we, as a group, are pretty much in agreement that Gordon is pond scum. Worse than pond scum. However- what is your opinion of Jillian? Do you trust Jillian? (Thanks to Cindi (Utah Mom’s Life for getting my mind thinking along these lines from last night’s chat!)

 

2. Jillian is on the defensive- trying to anticipate Gordon’s next move. After years of being married, does Jillian even have an idea of what Gordon is capable of?

 

3. Jillian and the school teacher- why is the school teacher going to be singing Gordon’s praises instead of Jillian’s?

 

4. Jillian seems to know her husband- and yet, he constantly surprises her by being 2 steps ahead. Is this because Jillian still loves her husband in some way?

 

5. Jillian had an affair. And then she renews it- why? Why would a woman who is married to an insane man do this? Was Jillian’s affair more about “her choosing life”, choosing to live than live in a world of black?

 

6.Should Jillian have clued Jeffrey more about the ways of Gordon- what he was capable of? Or, does doing that make her sound crazy?

 

7.  Jill runs. Takes the kids. Leaves. Is she running to certain death? Should Jill have just left on her own? Could you leave your kids?

 

8. When Jillian met Gordon’s dad- he warned her to not marry him. Would Jillian’s life be different if she had heeded that advice?

 

9. Someone realizes who Jillian is while she’s on the run. Why don’t they turn her in? Would you?

 

10. Paul names Jillian “Ntamqe” which translates to bear. How central is that part to this story-line?

 

11. Jillian knows what might be her saving grace if Gordon finds her. Is that her only motivation for keeping the baby?

8 thoughts on “Week 2 Questions for Book Lovers Unite: Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn

  1. lorispielman says:

    So loving this novel. And thanks T and Suzanne, for the great online chat last week!

    1. I think Jillian is a very real character, filled with flaws, like all of us. I really dislike black and white characters who are either all good or all bad, and Jillian definitely falls in the gray area. She makes mistakes and has some serious shortcomings, but she has a good heart. But do I trust her? Sometimes it’s hard to know whether she’s thinking clearly and doing what’s best for the children. I think this may have been Suzanne’s intention. Because we question her decision-making skills, we feel more uncertainty and our tension increases.

    2. Sometimes. But other times, like when she gets word that Drew’s teacher-conference was cancelled, she falls for his antics. I thought she should have warned Jeffrey immediately after Jeffrey confronted Gordon. She knew Jeffrey’s confrontation was a mistake, but she obviously underestimated how brutally Gordon would retaliate.

    3. In the teacher’s eyes, Jillian really does appear to be a neglectful parent. And she’s not able to defend herself, so it makes her look pretty checked out. And Gordon’s just waiting in the wings, ready to sweep in and look like the steady, reliable parent. So frustrating!

    4. I wonder sometimes, too. Though it’s hard to understand, I’m guessing that women in these relationships have very conflicting feelings.

    5. I think she was emotionally empty and wanted someone to make her feel loved. Yes, her choosing life, as you said.

    6. (See #2)

    7. Absolutely! I wonder why such a shocking statement from his father, of all people, didn’t give her more pause.

    8. I believe he would have turned her in, if Toad and the others hadn’t rallied behind her. Toad has a lot of influence in her community. I love her character!

    9. Like a bear, Jillian is strong and protective of her children. When she’s given the name, I don’t think she realizes the extent of her strength.

    10. She wants Jeffrey’s baby–and owes him his legacy.

    • Aww TY Lori 🙂 🙂

      1. YES! That Suzanne is a wily person- she made Jillian into such a complex person- which ups the tension factor by oodles!

      2. The teacher’s meeting thing bothered me b/c quite frankly- Jill should have been expecting it. I knew immediately something was hinky with the cancellation!

      3. YESSSSSSSSSS! And boom- FRUSTRATING. I wanted to throw the book at that point.

      4. I think, as Suzanne has said, that there is love- amongst the terror. And that makes it hard.

      5. Yep! Yep! Even though I did want to shake ole Jill and be like “really? You got a crazy hubby- but you’re going to have an affair? WTG, Jill- bright thinking!”

      7. I think Jillian let her interactions with her mom color that interaction w/ G’s dad a bit too much!

      8. YES. And could you blame him- here they are living a peaceful life and this woman is going to cause trouble- even if she didn’t mean to. So glad she had Toad’s and Paul’s support.

      9. I LOVE when Jill begins to understand that a Bear is not a bad thing 🙂

      10. I like that- even though I still think Jill’s hedging her bets to stay alive a bit more at first.

  2. Lori, thank you for contributing, and T, great questions.
    1. In the beginning of the novel, Jillian is so overwhelmed she is not the best mom or woman that she could be. She also has an enormous amount of insecurity in her ability as a mom. Gordon has undermined her every step of the way so she definitely doubts herself as a mother and that contributes to her making some imperfect choices. She’s also uncertain if the kids might not be better off without her. At this point Gordon has not abused the kids and has been, for the most part, a devoted father. I really wanted to create an opportunity for Jillian to grow as a mother and to realize the damage Gordon did to her belief in herself as a mom.

    2. I think it is extremely difficult for a non-sociopath to truly know what a sociopath is capable of. Our minds just don’t think that way. And, Lori, you are exactly right, she underestimated Gordon and what he was capable of. His evil escalated. I don’t know if anyone in Jillian’s shoes would have anticipated what he did to Jeffrey (Plus, he might not actually have done it. We are only fairly certain he did it.)

    3. It is frustrating, but unfortunately appearances can be deceiving, and Gordon is a masterful actor. And in truth, by all accounts, other than brutally beating his wife behind closed doors, a doting dad.

    4. They shared a life and two children, and most of the time that life was good. It is conflicting. Real love existed in between the horror.

    5. She somewhat explains it in the beginning when she talks about the cycle of abuse, and how when she started the affair she was “playing Russian roulette with five bullets in the chamber.” It’s not uncommon for victims to exhibit self-destructive behavior and to incite their abusers almost in a desperate attempt to just be done with it.

    6. I think she tried to warn him, but like Connor, Jeffrey didn’t truly believe how dangerous Gordon was. And Jillian at this point, while knowing Gordon was dangerous, I don’t think realized that he what murder Jeffrey in cold blood.

    7. She believed Gordon was a murderer. I couldn’t leave my kids with a murderer. No matter how dangerous it was to take them and run, the alternative of leaving them was unthinkable.

    8. She was young and in love. She didn’t know the dad or what the history was between him and Gordon. She believed it was similar to her mom telling Gordon that he shouldn’t marry her, that he should hold out for someone better. Only in retrospect, did she realize the weight of the warning he gave her.

    9. That community also had things to hide. They wanted to protect Jillian, but they also wanted to protect themselves.

    10. Being named Mother Bear by Paul is one of the greatest compliments Jillian receives and is the pinnacle of her transformation. I loved Paul. He is the character that empowers the change in Jillian, sees her strength, and he is also the one who saves Drew, and empowers the change in him.

    11. I struggled with the idea of Jillian keeping the baby because I do believe the initial motivation was self-preservation. That being said, Jillian is a mother bear, and once that baby was born, no matter how determined she was not to love it, she couldn’t help herself.

    • So interesting for you to bring up the point of “we only THINK Gordon killed Jeffrey.” For Week 3 we will discuss that more in depth!

      10. So THANKFUL for Paul. He might have been a short story in Jill’s life- but his role was important 🙂

      Jillian being complex made this book. This book, had it been straightforward, could have been boring. But, you Suzanne, made it so much BETTER!

  3. I know I’m a bit behind, but I downloaded my copy last night and started reading. It was late when I began, but I did not stop until the very last word had been read! WOW! Needless to say, sleep did not come quickly as thoughts about this book lingered! I look forward to going back and reading the questions and comments from Week 1.

  4. I think we, as a group, are pretty much in agreement that Gordon is pond scum. Worse than pond scum. However- what is your opinion of Jillian? Do you trust Jillian? (Thanks to Cindi (Utah Mom’s Life for getting my mind thinking along these lines from last night’s chat!) I trust her, but doubt her judgement. It’s difficult to think along those lines unless you are in that situation yourself, I suppose.

    2. Jillian is on the defensive- trying to anticipate Gordon’s next move. After years of being married, does Jillian even have an idea of what Gordon is capable of? Yes. I think that is why she is so terrified of him, and wants to get away.

    3. Jillian and the school teacher- why is the school teacher going to be singing Gordon’s praises instead of Jillian’s? As a teacher myself, things are never what they seem. It is easy to cast judgment upon someone not knowing the underlying circumstances. Gordon was a charmer, and people love charmers!

    4. Jillian seems to know her husband- and yet, he constantly surprises her by being 2 steps ahead. Is this because Jillian still loves her husband in some way? She’ll always love him, but he’s maniacal, and she doesn’t want to accept his vigilance in making her feel small.

    5. Jillian had an affair. And then she renews it- why? Why would a woman who is married to an insane man do this? Was Jillian’s affair more about “her choosing life”, choosing to live than live in a world of black? No, it was escape. She just could not get Gordon to exhibit the love she yearned for, so she sought it out in other ways. Also, she was staved for attention that wasn’t in the form of beatings, and he was an easy catch due tot heir work circumstances.

    6.Should Jillian have clued Jeffrey more about the ways of Gordon- what he was capable of? Or, does doing that make her sound crazy? I think she said as much as she could, and obviously more than she should have. Sad…

    7. Jill runs. Takes the kids. Leaves. Is she running to certain death? Should Jill have just left on her own? Could you leave your kids? I could never have left my kids. Never. I can say that with certainty.

    8. When Jillian met Gordon’s dad- he warned her to not marry him. Would Jillian’s life be different if she had heeded that advice? She should have listened! Her life would have been so very different, but SHE would also be different. Her suffering made her stronger.

    9. Someone realizes who Jillian is while she’s on the run. Why don’t they turn her in? Would you? In this case, probably not. As a woman I can empathize with her situation I think. I’m not certain what I would have done.

    10. Paul names Jillian “Ntamqe” which translates to bear. How central is that part to this story-line? Bears have fight in them, and are fiercely protective of their young. So appropriate.

    11. Jillian knows what might be her saving grace if Gordon finds her. Is that her only motivation for keeping the baby? I think so. She makes references to it all the time.

    • I really like the name Paul gives Jillian- because I think he is essentially reminding her of her role- her spirit. He’s building her up and giving her the confidence to face the long haul. A spirit that, with Gordon, she was lacking- because he beat her enough to break her.

      I did not always trust J’s judgment at times either- and that even went into the affair (although I understood why she would want to have an affair).

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