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Book clubs  •  11 September 2019


Moonlight Sonata - book club guide

Eileen Merriman shares discussion points, ideas and questions for Moonlight Sonata - Book Club Guide. Moonlight Sonata is Eileen Merriman's first adult book, it is a bitter-sweet novel of forbidden love and family secrets. Some secrets should never be told... will the truth be revealed? 

Welcome to Moonlight Sonata, my first adult book! Although my first three published novels were for young adults, I have also written many short stories for adults. One of these was placed third in the 2016 Sunday Star Times Short Story competition and became the basis for Moonlight Sonata. Once conceived, the characters continued to haunt me, their story demanding to be told in full … and hence Moonlight Sonata was born. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.


  1. The setting and house in this book were borrowed from a friend’s bach in Northland (although I’ve changed the name of the bay). What part do you think the setting plays in this story?
  2. This book explores a very controversial topic, which will be quite apparent once you’ve read it. I am always interested in exploring such topics, to try and work out what compels/drive individuals to such behaviours. Do you think this book gave you a convincing insight into why the characters pursued such a controversial relationship?
  3. This book was not easy to write — four to five drafts — but the ending was quite clear from draft three (to me, anyway). Did the ending come as a surprise to you? Why/why not?
  4. When I wrote the ‘Noah’ chapters, I initially had difficulty getting into his head, so I wrote the chapters from a first-person point of view and then changed them back to a third-person point of view. Did he come across as a convincing character to you? Why/why not?
  5. I tend to write very character-driven stories, as it is usually the characters that come to me first. The plot always comes second. Which character/s is/are most appeal to you?
  6. Writers always have their favourite quotes/passages in the book, but these may not necessarily be the favourite for the reader. What was your favourite quote or passage?
  7. Writing, for me, is often an emotional experience –– especially once I get to the end of the book and have to say goodbye to my characters, as they’ve usually been inhabiting a space in my head for several months by that stage. Was there any part of the book in particular that evoked strong emotions, and why?

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