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Interview with Brenda

For Book Clubs

Library Journal says The Heretic's Wife is "full of discussion potential for book clubs." Here are a few questions to get you started. Feel free to contact Brenda (see the contact button on the biography page) to add topics of your own or to invite Brenda to participate in your discussion.


  1. How would you define the word heresy? In 16th century England who got to decide? Who gets to decide today? Who is the heretic of the novel? Are there more than one?
  2. What does it mean to be a martyr? Do you think there is such a thing as false martyrdom?
  3. How do you feel about John Frith's decision not to flee his captors when given the chance?
  4. Is dying for one's belief the only heroic choice when faced with oppression? What is the difference between being a hero and being a victim? Although Thomas More played the persecutor in his struggle with the Bible men, he was later to die for his beliefs at the hands of a tyrannical king.  Would you charcterize his behavior upon his death as heroic?
  5. Why do you think popular history has not dealt more objectively with the dual nature of Sir Thomas More? Can an individual be both hero and villain?
  6. Is there ever an instance where the public burning of books might be appropriate?
  7. What other women in the novel suffer because the men they love act rashly or hold unpopular beliefs?
  8. What do you think of Kate's decision to marry a man so different from her first husband? Are there any similarities betweetn the two men?
  9. How is Endor's love for the captain different from Kate's love for John?
  10. What may be inferred about the separation of powers by a reading of this novel?

To learn more about Sir Thomas More visit this site. Don't forget to visit the forum discussion about Sir Thomas More and the burning of heretics.

© 2013 Brenda Rickman Vantrease