Secrets Never Told
In one night, Morgana Johnson-Wells takes two hard hits: first, news that her mother has died, then evidence that her husband is having an affair. Fleeing Baltimore to tend to her mother's estate in Salvation, Georgia, Morgana finds comfort in the company of her Uncle Julian and in the diaries her mother left hidden in the attic.
Shocked by her mother's most private thoughts and confused about both her illusions of her own childhood and the fate of her marriage, Morgana is drawn to local artist Erick Wilson, with whom she shares the kind of intimacy she and her husband have lost along the way. The connection grows deep, and by the time all of her mother's secrets are revealed, Morgana has a few secrets of her own...secrets of the heart, mind, and body that need never be told.
Reading Group Guide
1. Who is the book's narrator? Why does the author set the story in a town called Salvation? Who finds salvation there? Pick a passage and share how the author uses description and setting to tell the story.
2. What are the secrets never told? Why does Edward make the deal with Randolph?
3. Describe Franklin, Morgana, Randolph, and Katherine as if you are describing them to a friend. Share what they look like, their habits, where they come from, and what kind of people they are.
4. What are the parallels between the marriages of Franklin and Morgana and Katherine and Randolph? How do the couples' sexual relations relate to the functioning of their marriages?
5. To what is Morgana referring when she says of Katherine, "even in death she affected a mysterious smile"? When did you realize that Morgana Johnson-Wells is Julian's daughter? Share whether or not you are surprised to be more involved, early on, in Katherine's story rather than Morgana's. Why does Rochelle Alers construct the book this way?
6. How could Morgana have missed the signs that Franklin was fooling around? Discuss why his cheating may not have had anything to do with his wife. Why would he cheat if he believes his marriage to be "something sacred, something so vital"?
7. Look at the paragraph in Chapter 3 that describes Katherine's hair. Discuss what information is imparted and what puzzle pieces of the story are put in place. see more