Deanna Raybourn / Reading Group Guide:
A Spear of Summer Grass

Readers' Guide Questions

  1. Delilah Drummond is a unique and not always likeable heroine. What do you think drives her?
  2. Ryder White is a larger than life character. What traits make him appealing?
  3. Describe Delilah’s relationship with Gideon. What does this relationship seem to fulfill for both of them?
  4. How does Dodo display attitudes typical of the colonial English?
  5. The Farradays are representative of a particular type of scandalous settler notorious in Kenya between the 1920s and 1950s. What makes Africa appealing to them?
  6. Delilah makes a tremendous sacrifice for Gideon. Why? Was she right to do it?
  7. Sexual relationships drive much of the action of the book. Discuss the difference between Delilah’s sexual relationships with Kit and Ryder. How does Dodo’s experience with sex change her plans?
  8. Gates is threatened by Delilah, both as a woman and as an impediment to his illicit activities. Describe their conflict.
  9. Like his elder brother, Moses touches something within Delilah. What is the foundation of their relationship?
  10. Inspector Gilchrist proves to be more complicated and sympathetic than Delilah first anticipates. How does his compassion play out in the book?
  11. Africa is as much a character in the book as any of the people. How does Africa itself play a role in the story?
  12. How does Delilah change over the course of the book?
  13. Ryder makes tremendous sacrifices to keep Delilah in Africa. Was he right to do so?
  14. What is Delilah and Ryder’s potential for a happy ending?