Ten discussion questions for My Father Had a Daughter by Grace Tiffany

1. This is a novel about twins. Who are the real “twins” in it? What (does the novel suggest) are different ways in which people can be twins?

2. This novel has been popular among young readers (middle and high school). Are there things that make it unsuitable for this audience? Or not?

3. How does Tiffany’s version of Shakespeare (the character) jibe, or not jibe, with popular ideas about who or how Shakespeare was?

4. What does the novel have to say about marriage? Consider its various couples (married or considering marriage): Will and Anne Shakespeare, Judith and Nathan Field, Judith and Tom Quiney, Susanna Shakespeare and John Hall. Does the story suggest that true love and marriage are finally incompatible? For that matter, what kinds of love are seen in the story?

5. Along those lines, why do you think Judith chooses to marry the person she chooses to marry?

6. Who is truly responsible for what happens to Hamnet in the story? How so?

7. What does Tiffany suggest drives Shakespeare to write plays? What Shakespeare plays are important to her idea? That is, which ones figure in the story, and how?

8. Is Nathan Field a sympathetic character, in any respect?

9. Does the novel become less interesting in the second half, after Judith’s first trip to London, or less so? Why?

10. Discuss the epilogue. What insight(s) does Judith express here? How does she arrive at this insight (or these insights)?

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