Pewter Rose Press

Holding Stones Discussion Topics


  • In the Foreword the author states that the “past does not stay in its place”. What does she mean by this and how does she show this in the stories?

  • Several of the stories are written in sections with alternating viewpoints (Holding Stones, Reservoir, The Garden). Why do you think this is so?

  • What relationship between the parts is the author trying to create?

  • Would you agree that memories have held together the characters' sense of who they are and where they belong?

Holding Stones

  • Why do we collect things from the beach?

  • Why does Susan come back year after year?

  • What is the significance of the stones?

The Peace Dividend

  • In what ways does David make the narrator re-evaluate her life?

  • What is the peace dividend and why does the author say at the end that “there is no peace dividend.”

Finding Simon

  • Does Finding Simon describe a missed opportunity?


  • What does the author mean by “the years went by after the husband killed her”?

  • What did she do about it?

Sleeping Beauty

  • What do you think of the title of the story Sleeping Beauty?

  • What are Paul and the woman looking for?

  • Why does the author not give her a name?


  • What is happening in Lazarus?

  • Why does the narrator keep returning to the graveyard?

  • What does she want?


  • What has happened to the couple in Bleaklow?

  • Does anything get resolved?

  • What should / could Mike do?

  • How does the setting and the description of the walk add to your understanding of the story?

The Garden

  • In The Garden what is the author trying to say?

  • How do her descriptions add to the debate?


  • What is the young woman trying to do in Reservoir?

  • Why does she never meet Michael?


  • In Victoria it says "if you can connect the past with the present you will be OK". Is this true?

  • Is this borne out in the story?

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