Homecoming Book Club Questions and Discussion Guide

Reading Homecoming by Kate Morton for your book club has taken you on an adventure that spans generations. This novel starts with the unsolved murder of the Turner family in 1959, but picks up sixty-years later when our main character Jess is desperate for answers. With the themes of coming home, motherhood, and guilt, Homecoming is sure to be a hit with your book club. 

After you’ve solved the secrets of the Turner family, continue your conversation with our Homecoming book club discussion guide. This guide features a synopsis, 10 Homecoming book club questions, and selected reviews to help stimulate the conversation. 

Then, keep reading to find three books like Homecoming for your next book club read.

Homecoming book club questions, with book cover.

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Homecoming Synopsis

(We always chose to provide the publisher synopsis because we feel that it’s worthwhile to discuss whether the official book description actually squared with your experience of the book.)

Homecoming, Kate Morton

A breathtaking mystery of love, lies and a cold case come back to life, told with Morton’s trademark intricacy and beauty.

Adelaide Hills, Christmas Eve, 1959. At the end of a scorching hot day, beside a creek in the grounds of a grand and mysterious house, a local deliveryman makes a terrible discovery. A police investigation is called, and the small town of Tambilla becomes embroiled in one of the most shocking and perplexing murder cases in the history of South Australia.

Many years later and thousands of miles away, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. Having lived and worked in London for nearly two decades, she now finds herself laid off from her full-time job and struggling to make ends meet. Until a phone call out of nowhere summons her back to Sydney, where her beloved grandmother, Nora, has suffered a fall and been raced to the hospital.

At Nora’s house, Jess discovers a true-crime book that chronicles the police investigation into a long-buried event: the Turner Family Tragedy of Christmas Eve, 1959. It is only when Jess skims through the pages that she finds a shocking connection between her own family and this once-infamous scandal – a murder mystery that has never been resolved satisfactorily.

10 Homecoming Book Club Questions 

  1. The title Homecoming takes a literal meaning when Jess comes home to Darling House. In what ways does it take a symbolic meaning? What is the significance of “homecoming” with each of the characters?
  2. Jess said, “Home, she’d realize, wasn’t a place or a time or a person, though it could be any and all things: home was a feeling, a sense of being complete. The opposite of ‘home’ wasn’t ‘away,’ it was ‘lonely.”

    Do you agree with this statement?
  3. What was your initial theory for what happened to the Turner Family? Was your theory correct?
  4. Motherhood presents different challenges for Isabel, Nora, Polly, and Meg. Did you find yourself judging their choices based on your idea of motherhood?
  5. Do you think Nora made the right choice in deciding to pass off Baby Thea as her own? What would you have done if you were in her shoes?
  6. Nora said, “Bad things happen to the best of people, and we cannot let them overwhelm us. Life doesn’t always work out the way we plan, but it does work out in the end.”

    Do you agree with Nora? Did everything actually work out in the end?
  7. It seems as if every character in Homecoming is keeping a secret. Do you think these secrets are justified? What about secrets kept to “protect” a loved one?
  8. Each character seems to be dealing with their own guilt, whether that’s related to the Turner Tragedy or personal choices. How does this guilt shape the narrative?
  9. It’s revealed that Meg is ultimately responsible for the Turner Family’s death. Is she the only character responsible?
  10. Were you satisfied with the end of the novel? Or do you think the truth was revealed too late for it to change things for those still alive?

Selected Reviews for Homecoming 

“Kate Morton is a masterful storyteller. The author seamlessly weaves dual timelines and multiple perspectives into a well-structured and fluid narrative. The vivid imagery, intriguing plot, and superb characterizations render this novel a compelling read. The beautiful prose draws you in from the very first page… Overall, exquisitely written, atmospheric, and immersive, Homecoming by Kate Morton is an intricately woven story that I would not hesitate to recommend to historical fiction fans and those who enjoy multigenerational family sagas with an element of suspense.”

“I absolutely love Kate Morton, but I enjoyed this the least out of all of her books. I was so totally bored that I skimmed the last 2/3 of the book just trying to determine if what I thought I had already figured out was correct…and it was. So, I missed absolutely nothing by skimming. I hate the book-within-a-book in this story mainly because it was a drag and completely unnecessary. Kate Morton tends to like dual timeline stories, but this third timeline just took me completely out of the story, especially since it was a journalist retelling the mystery the granddaughter – who is supposedly a journalist herself – has randomly attempted to solve on the slimmest hint of a secret. I guess I could have gotten drawn into the relational drama between the mothers and daughters, but honestly, I was so bored, I cared about none of them.”

“Kate Morton writes such gorgeous prose that dozens of lines in Homecoming made me shake my head with wonder. As always, I enjoy her dual POV storylines and characters. The family dynamics and gradual unearthing of the mystery at the book’s heart were interesting. However, it felt like too much had been packed in the middle, making the book feel too long. The pace picked up in the last 100 pages, so I was glad I stuck it out. The book within a book—a device I usually love—didn’t work for me as it didn’t sound like a genuine crime novel. The voice and descriptions didn’t match the genre.”

“Kate Morton is a master at writing suspenseful family sagas that will hook the reader from the beginning. As with her other books, this is longer than what I usually read, but it was nevertheless a page-turner. It is beautifully written, and the characters are well-drawn. A mystery is revealed at the beginning, and the puzzle pieces slowly come together for a big, intensely rewarding reveal at the end.”


Use our guide to find dozens of book ideas for your group.

More Books like Homecoming 

If you like the Australian setting, we’ve got you covered with this extensive list of books set in Australia.

The Secret Book of Flora Lee.

The Secret Book of Flora Lea, Patti Callahan Henry 

In the war-torn London of 1939, fourteen-year-old Hazel and five-year old Flora are evacuated to a rural village to escape the horrors of the Second World War. What follows is the discovery of a rare book and its connections to long-held secrets about a missing sister and her children from the English countryside. If you loved Homecoming for it’s historical mystery, you’re sure to love The Secret Book of Flora Lea. 

Hello Beautiful book cover.

Hello Beautiful, Ann Napolitano

William Waters grew up in a loveless house of tragedy, but his skills on the basketball court earned him a scholarship and a way out. He soon meets Julia Padavano, a spirited and ambitious young woman who takes him on as a project and brings him into the fold of her family, which includes Julia’s three sisters.

As William works to build his new life, the darkness from his past surface and jeopardize not only his future, but the future of the people he cares about. The book has strong Little Women vibes and all the feels.

Read Oprah pick one for book club and use our Hello Beautiful book club questions.

The Spectacular book cover.

The Spectacular, Fiona Davis 

In 1956, Nineteen-year-old Marion has been selected to be a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall, when one night a bomb explodes in the theater. This leads to a string of explosions around the city caused by someone known as the “Big Apple Bomber.” At Marion’s urging, the police turn to psychological profiling, but this only draws Marion deeper and deeper into the investigation until she’s forced to sacrifice everything she’s worked for to protect the people she loves.

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Homecoming discussion guide.

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