If you’re part of a reading group here are some questions about Rise & Shine, Benedict Stone that you may wish to discuss. Warning! If you’ve not read the book already, these may contain spoilers!

– Benedict keeps a past mistake hidden from his wife, Estelle, throughout their marriage. Is he right that he kept this to himself, or should he have shared the secret with her?

– Are close family ties important to your own happiness?

 – Cecil is a flamboyant and helpful assistant to Benedict. Why doesn’t Benedict listen and act on Cecil’s words of advice? Do you listen to advice when others offer it to you, or are you more likely to do your own thing?

 – Estelle feels pressured by her parents and society in general to have children. Do we automatically expect women to have children, or are attitudes and times changing?

 – Benedict is stuck in a rut with his work in Stone Jewellery. Do you ever feel this way about your job or workplace? Do you plan or hope to do something about it? If not, why?

 – Benedict and his brother Charlie haven’t spoken for eighteen years. Are there any unresolved rifts in your family? Do you let them be, or do you take action?

 – The villagers in Noon Sun like to gossip. Do you think that gossip is a bit of harmless fun to pass the time, or can it be more damaging?

 – The internet and phone connection in Noon Sun is problematic. How would you react if you didn’t have access to your phone or computer for a day? Would this be a problem for you? Do we depend too much on technology?

 – Joseph Stone writes in his journal about gemstones having different meanings and the ability to influence. Do you believe in this?

 – Benedict’s friend Ryan believes that men find middle age tricky to deal with, and that women adapt more easily. Do you think this is true and why?

 – Which gemstone featured in the book appeals to you most? Does it have any significance for you?

 – Benedict and Estelle’s marriage has become comfortable, like an old sofa. Do you think it’s important to keep a spark going in a relationship? Or do you think it’s inevitable that relationships change over time?

 – Benedict can’t bear to get rid of his parents’ belongings, stored in the attic. Do you think that, now he’s resolved his relationship problems with his wife and brother, he’ll be able to let go of these things? Or do you think he’ll still hold onto them? How do you personally ‘let go’ of sentimental items?

 – Benedict comes to realise that people want passion and surprise in their jewellery, and for it to mean something to them. Which pieces of jewellery mean the most to you and why?

 – Benedict turns to food for comfort in times of need. Why do you think he does this, knowing that he’ll feel worse afterward? Is there anything you turn to, when life is a bit rocky?

 – What would you do if a young relative turned up unannounced on your doorstep in the middle of the night? Would you be worried, scared, suspicious, relieved, irritated…?

 – Hanging gems into the gem tree is a Stone family tradition. Does your family have any unusual traditions?

 – Benedict tries some strange methods to win his wife back, including attempting to be Romeo and wooing her using a white horse. Has anyone ever done anything out of the ordinary to attract your attention?

 – How do you picture Benedict and Estelle in five years’ time? And how do you imagine Gemma’s life to be?