Book Club Discussion Questions: Bringing Down the Colonel
- Did the book change the way you think about women and sexual respectability?
- Do you think Madeline Pollard was right to put her “shame” on display for the world to see or should she have walked away?
- Do you think Madeline Pollard was being truthful in her testimony? How much does absolute truth matter in this case?
- What does the book reveal about Victorian society that surprised you? How did Madeline Pollard reveal society’s hidden secrets?
- Do you think the Breckinridge-Pollard trial changed society? For better or for worse?
- What character did you relate to the most?
- Do you think Jennie was accurate in her impressions of Madeline or was she swayed by what she believed was her friendship with the Breckinridge family?
- Did Breckinridge ultimately help or hurt the career ambitions of his daughter Nisba?
- What was the most memorable part of the book for you?
- How is late Gilded Age America like the America of today politically, socially, and economically? What about the scandal and its repercussions seems familiar today?