A Mistake of Consequence provides an intriguing glimpse into the lives of 18th century women, both the possibilities and the limitations. With adventure, romance, and mystery, it offers something for every reader, and raises questions about right and wrong, choices and consequences, and an individual's role in his or her own destiny. Callie’s story speaks to anyone longing for love and belonging – anyone trying to build a life after disaster strikes. She shows readers it is possible to overcome great odds and that happiness comes as much from helping others as from helping oneself.
1. Peg, Mary, and Callie are each indentured for different reasons and with different results. Compare and contrast their experiences.
2. Legal indenture no longer exists in the United States, but some men and women still live in similar conditions. What circumstances might compel a woman today to indenture herself?
3. Like many people in the 18thcentury, the women in this novel had limited choices in life. Consider Mistress Asher, Callie, Mary, Peg, Lydia, and Chloe. Which woman shows the most independence? Which one makes the best choices?
4. Which of the women in the novel seems most limited in her life and circumstances? Which of these limits are self-imposed? In what ways are these women constrained by society’s expectations? In what ways do each of the women break away from society’s expectations?
5. Do you find Callie’s choices brave or foolish, or something of both?
6.In the beginning of the novel, Callie is naïve and fairly self-centered. How does she change over the course of the novel?
7. What aspects of 18thcentury life in Colonial America are most surprising and/or interesting?
8. We complain about the discomfort and hassles of air travel today, but obviously crossing the ocean in the 18thcentury was much more difficult. How are today’s travelers different from those in the past? What accounts for those differences?