Almost Home

By – August 24, 2011

Jor­dan Weiss, a vet­er­an Jew­ish Amer­i­can intel­li­gence offi­cer, ini­ti­ates reas­sign­ment to Lon­don for deeply per­son­al rea­sons, and enters into a world she has done her best to for­get for a decade. But when she steps off the plane and walks into a tan­gled web of Intel­li­gence, ter­ror­ism, and orga­nized inter­na­tion­al cor­po­rate crime dat­ing back to the Holo­caust, she learns that all of it has its roots dug fierce­ly into the past she had put aside. This is all I shall unfold of the plot of this high­ly read­able nov­el. The pace of Jenoff s nar­ra­tive, the per­fect meter of her prose and the depth of the protagonist’s emo­tions are spe­cial because they rival the sto­ry itself, turn­ing what could be a basic sus­pense thriller into a sto­ry that is both emo­tion­al­ly and adven­tur­ous­ly satisfying.

David M. Wind began writ­ing in 1979 and since then has pub­lished 33 nov­els of sus­pense, adven­ture, sci­ence fic­tion, his­tor­i­cal fic­tion, and romance. Liv­ing and writ­ing in Chest­nut Ridge, NY, David shares his home with his wife, Bon­nie. David’s lat­est mystery/​suspense nov­el, Angels In Mourn­ing was award­ed the Book of The Month award for April 2009 by bookawards​.com. His web­site is http://​www​.david​wind​.com.

Discussion Questions

Cour­tesy of Pam Jenoff

1. While at Cam­bridge, Jor­dan was the only Amer­i­can in her group of friends. Did she feel ful­ly accept­ed by her team­mates, or was the fact that she was an Amer­i­can or a woman ever an obsta­cle? Did Jor­dan ever pre­tend to be some­one she wasn’t?

2. Chris once teased me about my sen­ti­men­tal­i­ty over what he called a sil­ly children’s film’ [Mary Pop­pins]. Still, per­haps he pur­pose­ly chose our meet­ing place so close to the cathe­dral, since he knows how much I loved it” (pg. 62). Was this Chris’s plan? Does he attempt to manip­u­late Jor­dan through­out the novel?

3.After briefly reunit­ing with Chris, Jor­dan flees and notes This is the sec­ond time I have fled in two days, and it isn’t like me” (pg. 72). Is this state­ment accu­rate? Con­sid­er Jordan’s career, which doesn’t allow her to stay in one place too long.

4.Jordan states that the only rea­son she returned to Eng­land was to care for her sick friend Sarah. How­ev­er, she doesn’t spend much time with Sarah upon arriv­ing. Is she sim­ply too busy with work and find­ing the truth about Jared? What oth­er rea­sons could there be?

5. Both Chris and Jor­dan note how dri­ven Jared was. Why was he so deter­mined to seek the truth?

6. A meet­ing would pro­vide an emer­gency escape hatch if the day in Cam­bridge got to be too much” (pg. 87). Are there oth­er exam­ples in the book of Jor­dan tak­ing pre­cau­tions to pro­tect her­self? Do you think these mea­sures are a result of Jared’s death, her work with the State Depart­ment, or some­thing else?

7. Jared remarks to Jor­dan that Chris can’t stand going home alone” (pg. 126). Is this true? If so, why? And why doesn’t Chris open­ly share his feel­ings with Jor­dan, either before her rela­tion­ship with Jared or a decade later?

8. Social jus­tice, my father told me once at Passover, was our oblig­a­tion as Jews, to free all peo­ple from the bonds of oppres­sion as we had once been freed” (pg. 189). Is this desire what dri­ves Jor­dan? Even though she says she’s not reli­gious, in what oth­er ways might her reli­gion shape who Jor­dan has become?

9. What could be the rea­son for Jared stran­gling Jor­dan while the two are both sleeping? 

10. Why does Mo acqui­esce to Ambas­sador Raines? How much of his plan was she aware of?

11. Sev­er­al peo­ple end up betray­ing Jor­dan. When did you first become sus­pi­cious of these char­ac­ters or the novel’s oth­er twists? Is there any­one Jor­dan can tru­ly trust?