About Kate Another Heartbeat in the House  
    Reading Group Questions for
 Another Heartbeat in the House
button Both main characters are young, self-reliant women trying to make their way in life under difficult circumstances - yet they are also very different characters. Did you identify more with Edie or Eliza?

How does Kate Beaufoy evoke the different time periods and places in her novel? Did you get a real sense of different eras?

button In what way do you think the structure of the book - a story within a story and letters within stories - affects the way you read it?

button Eliza is an outspoken, resourceful woman in a hierarchical society - how does she use her guile to make her way? What did this book tell you about the position of women in both nineteenth- and twentieth-century England and Ireland?

button Writing and literature are key themes in Another Heartbeat in the House, with Edie discovering Eliza’s manuscript, and Eliza writing alongside William Thackeray. In what way are both women’s lives shaped by writing and stories?

button Edie is surprised to learn about the devastating impact of the famine in Ireland. Why do you think Kate Beaufoy chose to write about such a turbulent and tragic period? How does the contrast between scenes of high society and scenes of poverty affect your view of the characters?

button Eliza’s world is totally changed by becoming a mother. How does Kate Beaufoy explore the impact of motherhood on Eliza?

button The guests at an all-male dinner party belittle and ridicule women novelists. Why do you think the men feel compelled to disparage women’s fiction? Do you think men's attitudes have changed much since the 19th century?
button Edie and Eliza are women from two very different backgrounds and time periods - yet they are linked by Lissaguirra. What role does the house play in the lives - and fortunes - of these two women?

button Were you surprised by the ending of Eliza’s story? Do you think Edie’s discovery of the manuscript is a way of celebrating Eliza’s unusual life?