Tides of Honour
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Reading Group Guide
1. During World War I, the role of women changed drastically—from homemakers to munitions factory workers—but when Audrey remembers her own mother’s choices to abandon tradition and acceptable norms of women’s work, she understands that her mother did what she felt was necessary to provide for her family. Discuss Graham’s different portrayals of Audrey, Audrey’s mother, and Danny’s mother in light of the suffragette movement occurring in London and Halifax.
2. In the prologue, Graham sets up the morning of the Halifax explosion, then jumps back in time to Danny’s return to Nova Scotia. As you read the novel, did you realize that the plot was building up to that event? And given what you knew about Halifax’s history, how did Graham’s description of the horrors that happened that December morning change your understanding of the explosion?
3. Danny Baker is an example of what many wounded veterans faced when they returned from the front. Like so many others, he is jobless, depressed, and disillusioned—and without resources to help him integrate back into society. Do you feel Graham captures the need for organizations for returning veterans? What do you know about the creation of Veteran Affairs Canada and The War Amps of Canada after WWI?
4. Given the mounting tensions between Danny and Audrey, what do you think the explosion symbolizes in the novel? Thinking of Mick and Danny’s suspicions of Pierre Antoine and their organized protests, can you speak to the explosion’s impact on socialist reform?
5. How would you characterize Danny before the Battle of the Somme? Why do you think Graham uses firsthand accounts of Danny in 1916 instead of flashbacks?
6. Audrey’s art is central to her identity and a language itself. Does her art bear any similarities to Danny’s carpentry? How does Graham use both mediums in the story?
7. Given Danny’s downward spiral and his neglect of Audrey, how did you feel about Audrey and Pierre as friends, and then as a couple?
8. Danny’s relationship with his father seems fraught with the expectations of what men and husbands must do to provide for their families. How does this reflect the role of men in this time period? How does the war complicate these ideals? Compare the motivations of Danny, his brother Johnny, and their father.
9. How do Audrey and Danny’s physical disfigurements reflect their emotional trauma? Why do you think Graham prevents them from surviving the war and the explosion unscathed?
10. Earlier in the novel, Audrey is introduced to the first strains of feminism with the suffragette movement in London. How does her relationship with Pierre complicate her growth as a feminist? What do you think Graham’s characterization of Audrey throughout the novel says about women of this time?
11. Why do you think Danny is unable to open up to Audrey when he returns home from the war? How would you characterize their early love, given the obstacles they must overcome together?
12. It is evident to the reader that Danny is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is a lot of discussion about this in the media today. However, back then, it wasn’t nearly as well known or even named or talked about. The author makes specific mention of dogs as they relate to Danny, both in the trenches and at home. Today, the practice of PTSD companion dogs can offer a great source of relief and alleviate many of the long lasting effects of the disorder. What do you think about the use of animals to help treat PTSD?
13. What do you think the title Tides of Honour