By Katherine Faulkner
Helen’s idyllic life—handsome architect husband, gorgeous Victorian house, and cherished baby on the way (after years of trying)—begins to change the day she attends her first prenatal class and meets Rachel, an unpredictable single mother-to-be. Rachel doesn’t seem very maternal: she smokes, drinks, and professes little interest in parenthood. Still, Helen is drawn to her. Maybe Rachel just needs a friend. And to be honest, Helen’s a bit lonely herself. At least Rachel is fun to be with. She makes Helen laugh, invites her confidences, and distracts her from her fears.
But her increasingly erratic behavior is unsettling. And Helen’s not the only one who’s noticed. Her friends and family begin to suspect that her strange new friend may be linked to their shared history in unexpected ways. When Rachel threatens to expose a past crime that could destroy all of their lives, it becomes clear that there are more than a few secrets lying beneath the broad-leaved trees and warm lamplight of Greenwich Park.
This discussion guide was shared and sponsored in partnership with Simon and Schuster.
Use these discussion questions to guide your next book club meeting.
When Helen first meets Rachel at the prenatal class she’s signed up for, Helen notices that Rachel behaves relatively carelessly in navigating her own pregnancy. Helen’s quiet judgments suggest a combination of pity, scorn, and envy for her new friend, who doesn’t seem to be burdened by the same loss and desperation for the perfect family that has been plaguing Helen. We later learn that Rachel has her own dark history, and that she offers more to Helen than Helen realizes. Discuss first impressions. Was there a time when you learned something unexpected, yet deeply affecting, about someone you’d only just met?
Helen’s husband, Daniel, and her brother Rory work together at her father’s old company, Haverstock. We’re made aware of Rory’s relative professional irresponsibility as well as Daniel’s often frustrated attempts to fill the gap left behind by Helen’s father, Richard. Yet Daniel, who seems overburdened by expectation, remains far from the perfect husband, and his future as a father seems less hopeful. In what ways does Daniel fulfill the role of the ideal husband? How can those traits in turn make him less suited to provide care and understanding?
The book is broken into multiple perspectives: we see the events of Greenwich Park unfold through Helen, Katie, and Serena, as well as other voices whose identities aren’t always clear. Furthermore, events continue to happen, or have happened in the past, that we as readers aren’t always made privy to in the course of the story. How does this affect the narrative progression of the novel? Do you feel all your questions have been answered at the end of the book? Discuss whether this reflects the nature of relationships inside the novel.