1. The book begins with a verse of Scripture, Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?" How can you think of ways that truth played out in the lives of Colette, Manason, Joe, Harris, or Margie?
2. One of the primary themes of The Green Veil takes the approach that following our hearts can be a dangerous matter. What do you think of that? Can you think of instances in your own life, or in the life of someone you know when "following the heart" led to trouble or disillusionment?
3. How might a person balance wisdom and discretion with following their heart's lead?
seems to be what we might call a "fixer". Her tender heart causes her
to want to mend relationships or brokenness in people's lives. She doesn't like
to see anyone hurt. She lurched into the ultimate fix when she impulsively married Harris. Do you, or do you know someone who shares such a personality trait? Which other character in the story has that tendency and how
does it show?
5. Manason is a flawed hero. Think of some ways in which this was true. Ultimately, what was it about his nature that spared him from falling into Margie's clutches?
6. Joe is another flawed hero. He didn't have quite the strength to resist temptation that Manason had, but it's hard not to love him. Do you know people in your life like that, people who are larger than life, spontaneous, sometimes doing foolish things, who get into your heart?
7. Joe and Colette were best friends. Do you think it's possible for a gal and a fella to be best friends without someone's heart getting broken -- as Joe's did?
8. Colette begins to think seriously about spiritual things as a teen. Questions about life -- whether or not God had chosen someone particularly for her, and whether God preferred man's religion or his obedience -- were important turning points for her growth. Can you think of times in your life or in your children's or family's lives, when you encountered such spiritual turning points? How did Colette's turning point fall short when she agreed to marry Harris?
9. The title The Green Veil is mostly metaphoric. It stands for several things. One of them is the canopy of trees shrouding the Wisconsin wilderness. It's as though the Palmer's have disappeared beneath this vast, western veil of unending pine. Another was the way in which Colette felt trapped by Harris's veil of jealousy. Can you think of other things the image might stand for?
10. As the antagonist, Harris Eastman has faults on several levels. The worst is that he is emotionally abusive. Think of the ways in which this was brought out in the story. Now think of the ways in which he still showed humanity. Have you ever known an emotionally abusive person, or someone who was abused this way? Has the abuser had a "nice" or "winning" side that conflicted with that nature?
11. Colette determined to stay with Harris even though he'd crossed the line from emotional to physical violence, assuring Manason that if it happened again, she'd leave. Do you think she made the right decision? Why or why not?
12. Colette was just 14 when she came to Wisconsin. She was in her 20s when she married Manason at the end of the book. Think of the ways in which she grew in both maturity and spiritually through her experiences. For example: through her decision to stay with Harris, through the conflict with the woods boss Seamus Boggs, in her decision not to pursue Manason after Harris died.
13. Take a look at some of the other characters in the story -- Manason, Harris, Joe, Annie -- can you see their "character arc" and ways each of them changed and grew?
14. In our lives, we are often shaped in our thinking, strengthened in our spiritual walk, or hardened in our hearts by the people who influence our lives. Think of some of the many secondary characters who came to life in The Green Veil: Jean Kade, Helen Eastman, Margie Baker, Onaiwah, Mitch Donnelson, Rob Gilbert, Annie Kade, Tom Durant. How did these characters -- friends or enemies -- influence the spiritual and heart-tendencies of Colette, Manason, Joe, or Harris?
15. In the epilogue at the end of the book, Colette is on the front porch, looking for Manason to come home, just as she was at the opening of the story. Just as at the beginning, he puts his arm around her and comforts her about the unknowns of the future. What plan did they come up with to "still their anxious hearts"? When you think about the future, filled with unknowns, what is your heart's response? If you feel fearful about the future, what steps might you put in practice to take courage and hope?