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- Since birth Caroline has been groomed to be invisible—to be seen and not heard. This is exemplified when her father refuses to call off her wedding after her fiancé’s advances. This decision, coupled with the fact men pursue her because of her outward beauty and her father’s purse, leave Caroline hungry for someone to take a closer look at who she really is. Have you ever felt unseen? Have you ever felt judged or judged someone else based on their outward experience? How did you overcome it?
- Franz is gentle giant with a romantic soul. Why did Franz not take a wife before leaving Bavaria like his brother Lukas had done? What role did das schicksal, or divine fate, play in that decision, the circumstances surrounding how Franz and Caroline met, or in his tender pursuit of her? Do you find the concept of das schicksal a necessary part of decision-making in your life? Why or why not?
- Caroline is surprised to learn that Franz struggles to get past the expectations of his family—to not be limited by other’s false assumptions or misplaced expectations. Why do you think this surprised her? Do you like the way Franz dealt with his family’s expectations? Where should Franz and Caroline be looking for their identity? Why?
- Although Franz secretly yearns to work alongside his family in the clockworks, he hides his growing skill from his family. When Caroline discovers his meisterverk hidden in the attic, he makes her promise not to tell his family about the clock. Why is this particular clock not for sale? Why does Franz want to hide his talent from his family? Do you agree with his decision? Why or why not?
- In The Veil, Franz says, “A man of honor behaves the same in the dark as he does in the light.” In what ways did Franz demonstrate this to Caroline? What qualities do you value most in real life and/or fictional heroes?
- When Caroline refuses to remove her veil, Franz feels she doesn’t trust him. Do you think his request was fair? Was it wrong for him to insist she remove her veil before he would marry her? Why or why not?
- When we meet Caroline, she’s fleeing her lecherous fiancé and is partially hidden beneath a densely embroidered lace veil she wears like “an old woman’s winter scarf.” At the end of the story, Caroline finally reveals the full extent of her injuries to Franz. What did you think of Franz’s reaction when he saw her entire face for the first time? Should he have been angry with her for not revealing the truth of injuries sooner? Were you surprised or disappointed by her revelation? Why?
- When Opa counsels Caroline to open her heart fully to Franz and remove her veil, he draws a parallel to the veil of the temple and how it served to separate man from God. He urges Caroline to remove her veil and trust Franz, but she is fearful and has become reliant on the false sense of protection her veil affords. Can you relate to her struggle to keep her scars, both visible and invisible, hidden? How does she come to the decision to do as Franz asks and remove her veil before they marry?
- In Across the Shores, an heirloom cross pendant is passed from one generation to the next, providing a connection to the past. How did this necklace provide a source of strength to Josephine? Caroline? Anna? Lauren? What special heirlooms do you have from your parents or grandparents? Is there something special you plan to pass to your son, daughter, sibling, or a dear friend?