Book Club Questions

Dangerous Dreams

A Story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke


  1. Would you have figured Tayler out quicker than Emily did? Remember, you’re only 19, and you live in Elizabethan England.
  2. Would you have treated your father like Emily did?
  3. Would/could you have done what Eleanor did with Virginia at the end?
  4. How would you have handled Emily’s situation as a 19 year old in 16th Century English society, who’d been raped, had lost her prized virginity, was pregnant, and believed Tayler’s promise to kill Virginia and Isna was credible?
  5. Would you have had the courage to go into an unknown world with Isna—separated forever from all things English, stepping back into a primitive society (albeit one with substantial values), and knowing you’d never see your mother and brother again?
  6. Was Emily disloyal to her heritage by leaving with Isna, or was her decision to do so save his life the correct one?
  7. How did moving back and forth between the present and the past effect the quality of your read?
  8. Do you think people can have dreams such as Allie had?
  9. Do you think Tayler truly loved Emily?
  10. If young George Howe had survived, would Emily have grown to love him?
  11. Do you think Isna felt any angst over bringing a white woman home to the Lakota as his wife?
  12. Was Tayler insane or just plain evil? Could one trait have bred the other?
  13. What did you think of Waters? If you were he, what might you have done differently with regard to Emily, as well as with regard to the colony’s plight?
  14. Were the characters alive to you? Credible?
  15. Was there a character you would like to have seen more developed?
  16. Was the plot plausible? Did they hold your attention?
  17. Given the colony’s probable fate, did you think the historical story was too violent?
  18. What did you like most about the historical story? And about the contemporary story?
  19. What did you dislike most about the historical story? And about the contemporary story?
  20. Did the descriptions woven into the story, such as candle-making, palisades building, hide tanning, game dressing, basket-making, desalinization, and the deterioration of the colony, as presented in the Assistants’ meetings, give realism and body to the story, or detract?
  21. Many ills befell Emily, yet she rose above them all. Could you have done the same?
  22. If you had Allie’s dreams, would you have become addicted  to them as she did? Would you have succumbed to the addiction as she did?
  23. Have you ever experienced amazing coincidences in your life, such as both of the Colman lockets ending up in Ian’s possession?
  24. After reading about Lakota spirituality and the way they viewed life, nature, the world, and man’s role, do you have any altered feelings about our treatment of Native Americans during manifest destiny? Do you feel a measure of guilt? What could, realistically, have been done differently?
  25. What was the most shocking scene in the historical story?
  26. How does the Foreword—“ . . . if I’d known what lay ahead, I would never have slept again.”—set the stage for the rest of the book?
  27. Do you think Ian died of an overdose while trying to dream more?
  28. Or did she take her own life to escape the torment of helplessly watching her family’s ancestors, to whom she’d  become emotionally attached, suffer and often die violent, premature deaths.
  29. How will Allie deal with the dreaming challenges that lie in her future?
  30. If Allie and Dr. Dressler validate their theory explaining Allie’s dreams, will it allow them to develop mitigating actions, or will Allie suffer Ian’s fate?
  31. How do the exigencies of survival, such as the colonists experienced, alter our thinking about life, relationships, what’s important?
  32. Was the Panther evil?
  33. If you had been one of the colonists, how would you have reacted to the news of an imminent, overwhelming Powhatan attack?
  34. Did the length deter you before or during your reading of the book? If so, how would you have made it shorter?

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