Discussion Questions for Book Groups

Dreams for Stones


  1. Dreams for Stones opens with Alan Francini visiting a mountain lake. What does the lake symbolize for Alan and why do you think Ann chose that as the opening scene? Was it a good choice?

  2. As the story begins, Kathy is engaged. How does that engagement and its ending affect how she reacts to Alan?

  3. When Alan and Kathy meet, both have already decided something about love. What is Kathy’s decision? Alan’s? At what point do they each discover these decisions run counter to their future happiness?

  4. How do Alan’s difficulties at the University affect what happens in the story?

  5. The novel celebrates the resilience of the human heart. How does Ann use this theme to tell her story? Is a need for such resilience something you have experienced in your life?

  6. Dreams for Stones is also about friendship. How does Emily affect Kathy’s life? How does Delia’s illness affect both Kathy and Alan? How does Charles’s decision to end his relationship with Kathy affect his friendship with Alan? Have you had any similar experiences with friendship?

  7. Is Elaine’s interference in her brother’s life justified? If she hadn’t interfered what do you think would have happened?

  8. How does Alan cope with his grief at the beginning of the book? Once you learn what happened to his wife, do you believe he will be able to recover? What part do Angela Taylor, Charles, and Kathy play in helping Alan to heal? Do you know someone who has responded to grief the way Alan has? How did they heal?

  9. Stones are an important motif in the novel. Where are they used and what is their significance? Can you identify other recurring motifs?

  10. Although the characters experience loss, at the end of the book is there a feeling of hope and resolution? Do you believe Alan and Kathy are ready to make a life together?

  11. Which story, scene, or motif (e.g. Emily’s diaries, Bobby and Brad, friendship, grief, endings, beginnings) resonated with you the most? Do you know why?

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