Discussion Questions

Below are questions for each book in the Caney Creek Series.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion
For individual or group use

That Summer by Jo Huddleston

These questions contain spoilers for you if you don't read the book first!


1. When Jim meets Louisa at the fair he silently commits his heart to her. Is that love at first sight? Do you believe in love at first sight? Why or why not? Have you ever experienced love at first sight?

2. The first night Jim lives in Newton he commits his first lie by writing his age as 18 when he has just turned 17. Is this a "little white lie" or is a lie a lie?

3. As Jim continues to lie, each time he lies becomes easier. Is this human nature for everyone: with each sin, it becomes easier to repeat that sin?

4. When Jim  meets Caroline he is in awe of her. He enjoys her attentions. His friends see that Jim and Caroline are from different social classes. Can relationships of two who are different in social class or education be successful?

5. Jim's landlady, Gertrude, Louisa, his friend Arthur, and his family try to warn him about spending time with someone "above" him. But by then Jim was too involved to listen. What would have happened if Caroline had not left Newton?

6. Considering Caroline's father's attitude about her and the baby should Caroline have told him who the father of her baby was? Why or why not?

7. In the 1930s a single mom was a foreign term. It just didn't happen. If Caroline had not had her aunt how would her future life have been different?

8. After Louisa died,  Jim was faithful to her memory for sixteen years. If Jim hadn't had family close by to help him raise Lynn should he have remarried for Lynn's sake?

9. How did you feel when Jim and Caroline met after twenty years. Neither of them had dated and still held memories and love for one another. Did you applaud their getting together or if they did would that have tarnished Jim's memory of Louisa?

10. Lynn and James were on top of the world just being together and then they toppled down when told they were half brother and sister. Imagine how you would have felt being either one of them. How would you have reacted if you had been them?

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Beyond the Past by Jo Huddleston

These questions contain spoilers for you if you don't read the book first!


1. Why do you think Emmajean sinks from “I thought I had the world on a string” to the Atlanta City Police Precinct #312?

2. Have you ever placed your expectations so high and when they failed, you were scraping the bottom? Did you have someone you could call, someone you could depend on no matter what the circumstances?

3. Jim didn’t hesitate to rush to Emmajean’s side, intending to help her in any way she needed to be helped. Have you ever known siblings who would not have reacted as Jim did? Why didn’t they? Did they ever thaw out and help?

4. Caroline has grown into an elegant and sophisticated woman. When she hears bits about Lynn’s life through her son, James, did you think she would begin to put the pieces together? She has valid arguments with herself about whether she should invite Jim and Lynn for a visit during Christmastime. What would you have done?

5. Jim has lived his life without Caroline and also without an explanation of her disappearance from Newton. Do you think despite Jim’s initial reaction to seeing Caroline, he should have left without allowing her to explain herself to him, as he almost did?

 6. Caroline displays more patience than she did that summer in 1928. But she begins to lose it when Jim takes so much time time to think about their marrying. Why do you think Jim took so much time to think about it?

7. How do you feel about having two grown women in one household? Were you fearful that Caroline would want Emmajean to leave Jim’s house? If Caroline had asked Jim to have his sister to leave, how do you think he would have reacted?

8. What do you think of the pairing of Emmajean and the lawyer, Terry? Even after he says he’s falling in love with her, do you think they can ever overcome their differences, both socially and educationally, to have a life together?

9. Can you ever blame parents when their children behave like Arthur and Callie’s son, Art? Have you ever known families to raise two completely different children?

10. Callie is a godly woman. Jim said he couldn’t imagine her letting the words “Why me, God?” cross her lips. “Callie would never question God’s plan for her and her family’s lives,” he said. Do you agree with Jim even though Callie knows the road ahead of her and her family will become more and more difficult? How do you think you would react if you received the doctor’s prognosis that Callie did?

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Claiming Peace by Jo Huddleston

These questions contain spoilers for you if don't read the book first!


1. Have you raised a teenager? Did you encounter similar problems as those Callie and Arthur faced with their son, Art? Do you think Judge Franklin was fair in handling Art's case? If not, what should he have done differently?

2. Have you ever received a terminal health prognosis from your doctor? How do you think Callie handled the beginning of her health problems? Could you have handled something like Callie had as she did? In a situation like Callie, could you have claimed God's peace?

3. Many people think about and pray for the one who is sick. That is good but sometimes we don't think about the caregivers. Their task is a heavy one. Like Arthur said, "My mind is all stretched out." 

4. Do you think it was wise for Arthur to agree to take Callie on her trip to the ocean? In his place, what would you have decided? Do you think the pleasure Callie received from the trip was worth the anxiety Arthur experienced when taking the trip?

5. Emmajean and Terry met in book 1 of the Caney Creek Series. At that time Emmajean had been away from family for twelve years. She didn't come close to reaching her goal of going to Atlanta. She didn't want to return home as a failure so she stayed in Atlanta where she had few friends. Did you realize her self-esteem was so low?

6. What did Terry see beyond Emmajean's tough exterior that made him befriend her? Does Terry's love for Emmajean remind you of a couple in the Bible? Emmajean didn't think she deserved to love a lawyer and didn't return Terry's words of love. Would you have been as patient as Terry to wait for her words of love for him? What do you think made Emmajean finally admit to herself that she did love Terry?

7. Even after Emmajean finally told Terry she loved him and then Terry proposed, Emmajean still had her doubts. "I don't think you and me marrying would work," Emmajean answered his proposal. Terry wouldn't take that answer but encouraged her to have faith in them both. Do you know many men who would be that patient?       

8.  What is your opinion about one of the twins--Richard--bringing home a Japanese wife? Living in the Southern Appalachians, unless you had been in the military, you wouldn't have ever seen a Japanese. But then many Americans remember with near hate the attack on Pearl Harbor. Do you think the advice Jim gave her was correct? What would you have told her?

9. Have you ever been or known the oldest sibling of a family whose parents died? Do you think Jim had a good heart and/or felt obligated to watch after his brothers and sisters? Do you think he treated them fairly and/or sacrificially? Even though Jim was kind-hearted did he have his priorities in order?

10. Caroline went from living is Jim's fine home as a girl with her parents, then to living in Knoxville where she raised their son, James. How would you have felt if you'd been Caroline and everyone called the house Jim's house? Do you think Caroline did become a small-town girl? Do you think Jim and Caroline's love is genuine and will last? Why did you answer the way you did?

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Dear Readers, thank you for spending your time with me and my stories. I enjoyed writing them and do hope you enjoyed reading them. If you'd ever like to get in touch with me, please click the Contact tab at the top of this page.    ~Jo

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