A Week in Winter Discussion Questions

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

Reading 'A Week in Winter' with your high school-age students can be an exciting exploration into a unique place and colorful cast of characters. Use these discussion questions to guide meaningful conversations about setting, characters, and theme.

A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

High school-age students have lots to explore in this heartwarming novel by Maeve Binchy. Help your students explore the setting, characters, and themes in depth by using these discussion questions to spark their thinking. Set in a quaint Irish town, main character Chicky and some helpers transform a rundown mansion into a delightful home away from home. Introducing a line of minor characters and interweaving their lives and stories together is an art that Binchy has mastered. This posthumously published novel does not disappoint.

You can use these thought-provoking discussion questions to have a one-on-one conversation with a single student or assign them to partners or teams. Additionally, consider asking students to provide a written response to one or more questions to serve as a summative assessment.

  • Note: These questions are designed to be used after students have read the novel.


  • Maeve Binchy sets many of her novels in Ireland. Why does she choose this as the place she portrays? How does she portray her love for the country through her vivid descriptions? Find a few examples of imagery that help capture the essence of the country's natural beauty and culture.
  • Maeve, Rigger, and Orla renovate the old mansion together to prepare it for its first guests. How does this transformation enhance the novel? Would the setting have been as meaningful if it was not renovated with love, sweat, and tears? Why or why not?
  • How does the setting of a secluded mansion in a small Irish town help each of the guests escape their lives? Does it serve a purpose for each of them? Give specific examples of how the ''place'' helps the characters move forward in life, heal relationships, and make new discoveries about themselves.

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