This page is for you!
I have had the opportunity to meet many, many readers over the past 20 years, both here in the USA and Internationally - at large book events, award events, and smaller, intimate book store settings.
The Missouri Ladies
I have found that Book groups are filled with thoughtful and insightful readers who share a passion for reading and learning. So, I wanted to create a page just for you!
We plan to create Reading Guides for all of my books. This will be an ongoing project (as there are quite a few books) and we welcome your input. If you have read one of my books and/or participated in a book group and have a great question that you think other book groups would enjoy, please pass it along to us using our CONTACT page. Send photos too of your book group meeting and we will post them in on this page.
Shanghai Reading Group
Reading Guide for Daughter of the Sun
Reading Guide for The Blessing Stone
Daughter of the Sun - Summary and Reading Group Questions
In "Daughter of the Sun" international best-selling author Barbara Wood turns her attention to a 900-year-old mystery. Why did the Anasazi Indians of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico abruptly abandon a vast & flourishing city filled with monumental architecture and ceremonial buildings?
17-year-old Hoshi'tiwa, a gifted pottery maker, plans to marry a storyteller's apprentice. Her plans are turned upside down when she is snatched by the fierce Toltec army and taken from her primitive village to "Center Place", an outpost of the Toltec empire. Hoshi'tiwa is assigned to the Potter's Guild where she distinguishes herself through her exotic and unusual pottery. This leads to an elevated position and eventual entry into the court of the powerful and violent Toltec leader. Embroiled in a web of deceit, love, envy, murder and betrayal, Hoshi'tiwa unwittingly becomes the catalyst for the eventual downfall of Center Place and what historians now call "The Abandonment."
Reading Group Questions
1. Historians and archaeologists still do not know why Chaco Canyon was abandoned. The drought in DAUGHTER OF THE SUN is one theory. Can you think of other reasons a people would pick up and abandon a thriving settlement, never to return?
2. The Toltecs and the People of the sun did not believe that anything happened by accident. Everything is part of a great cosmic design and that we can read our fate in the stars. Does this still leave room for free will?
3. If you had access to a time machine and you could visit any period or event in the past – but only one – what would you choose, and why?
4. What is the significance of dreams? Do they foretell the future? Do they bring messages from the gods/God, as Lord Jakál believed? Or are they merely the random misfirings of a sleepy brain?
5. What was the purpose of the Anasazi roads? The people of Chaco Canyon did not have beasts of burden, they did not have the wheel. Why, therefore, did they need wide, straight highways?
6. White Orchid’s secret adoption. Is bloodline so important? Can love make up for the fact one is not related to the parent? How important is it to know where one came from?
7. Hoshi’tiwa was willing to die for her beliefs. Is there anything you would give your life for? And how is self-sacrifice different from the human sacrifice described in the book?
8. The final battle in the book is sparked by a single act of defiance – a person from the crowd throws a rock. A simple gesture producing profound consequences. Can you think of a time in history when other such simple acts have had a powerful influence?
9. Hoshi’tiwa believes that nothing dies, that there is constant change in the universe. When a person dies, he or she is not lost but joins the stars, the rocks, and all life. What do you think?
10. Hoshi’tiwa’s mother tells her she “was born to a special purpose”. Are we all born for a special purpose? If we believe this, then how does this tie in with the belief in a cosmic Oneness, that all things are connected, that we are part of a universal design and that nothing happens by accident?
Order Daughter of the Sun for your reading group
The Blessing Stone - Summary and Reading Guide Questions
Three million years ago, a meteorite plunged to earth in a cataclysmic collision, out of which emerged a beautiful blue stone. One hundred thousand years ago, a girl named "Tall One" discovers the crystal on the African plain and finds her destiny after looking into the mysterious stone.
Thus begins the story of The Blessing Stone, an account of the ways in which the stone changes the lives and reveals the destinies of those it comes into contact with. The history of the world unfolds as the stone is passed from generation to generation, and across 5 continents from the Jordan River Valley to ancient Israel, from Imperial Rome to Medieval England, from fifteenth-century Germany to the eighteenth-century Caribbean and finally to the pioneers of the American West. Wood's 19th novel is comprised of eight individual books linked by a common thread: The Blessing Stone.
Each story is set in a different country and period of time featuring Wood's trademark attention to historical detail. This backdrop provides a compelling canvas on which are painted the lives of the book's characters as they search for truth, courage, solace and even revenge, aided they believe, by the mystical powers of a cosmic blessing stone.
Reading Guide Questions
Africa: 100,000 Years Ago
1. The primitive humans described in Book 1 did not use a verbal language. How did they communicate with each other?
Group Exercise: Choose two people and give one of them a question/command/statement to communicate to the other. Verbal language is not allowed : )
2. As a primitive person, imagine how you would have viewed the Blessing Stone. What significance would you have placed on it? Where would you think it originated? (Tall One, for example, thought that it was a small pool of water.)
The Near East: 35,000 Years Ago
1. The moon was believed to regulate a woman's menstrual cycle, and women held tremendous power within their tribes due to their ability to create life. Do women hold such power now? Is a mother's role greater than a father's?
The Jordan River Valley: 10,000 Years Ago
1. Separation between rich and poor became evident. Trade and commerce gained in importance and families no longer lived in communal dwellings, opting instead to live with their own family group in separate dwellings. People began to settle in specific geographic areas and no longer led nomadic lives. What are the advantages and disadvantages of such a society?
2. The concept of conception was still a mystery and the idea of a father did not exist. A child's bloodline came from his or her mother. What freedoms did this give women? Compare this to present society where a child is automatically given his/her father's last name and a woman commonly takes her husband's name when she marries. Should children receive both names?
Rome: 64 C.E.
1. In this story, negative connotations are associated with the blessing stone for the first time. Up until this point, what had the stone represented to its owners?
2. This was a male dominated society where women had little power, privileges or rights. Compare this society to the matriarchal societies described in earlier stories; was power shared equally between genders in these societies?
3. Compare Amelia's infidelity to Cornelius' abandonment of his newborn child and the way in which society reacted to each situation.
England: 1022 C.E.
1. To escape male dominance, one option was to become a nun. Was this truly an escape?
Germany: 1520 C.E.
1. Katharina's quest to find the blessing stone, and through it her father, became an obsession. How did this affect the decisions she made? Can obsessions be positive?
The American West: 1848 C.E.
1. In this story, Matthew depended on the blessing stone to make decisions, or did he? Did the blessing stone exhibit mystical or mysterious powers in the previous stories? What role did the blessing stone play in each persons life.
2. Why do you suppose the book is called The Blessing Stone. Can you suggest another title?
Order The Blessing Stone for your reading group