Questions for Discussion: The Lies We Tell

I thought I would be able to practice courage in a few small things first, just to get in the way of it. Fate and my stepbrother Hugh had different ideas.

We had only lived in Bexhill a few months when Hugh was shot dead by a smuggler, ironically in a peaceful wooded field situated between the shops on Hastings Road and St. Peter’s church, right in the center of town.

Then everything changed, and there was no time to dabble in courage. I must spring right in, or perhaps I should say, be plunged in, whether I would or not.


1. Amelia claims she wants to learn how to be courageous, but she doesn’t feel that she chooses her brave actions. What impels her to do such unprecedented and daring things?

2. Mr. Jones was very different from Amelia. His life was completely outside her experience. Why did that make her so nervous?

3. When you meet someone whose life, culture, experience, or outlook are different than yours, does it make you nervous? What do you do?

4. Amelia cannot ignore or walk away from the young women who are being abused. Have you ever witnessed something you couldn’t walk away from?

5. Have you ever seen something and felt powerless to help? What do you do?

6. What did your family do to encourage social justice and awareness in you?

7. Amelia is accustomed to being seen and treated in a certain way. She expects and even encourages that response, yet suddenly she is frustrated with how she is viewed. Have you ever felt limited by others’ assumptions/views of you? What did you or do, or what do you think you would do?

8. What is it about Mr. Jones that appeals to Amelia?

9. In what ways does Amelia change over the novel?

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