Questions for Book Groups

Medieval Women’s Underwear:



Historical fiction asks the reader to enter a past world. And that involves a lot of research. For example, what kind of underwear did women in the Middle Ages wear? Do these kind of facts enhance your enjoyment of the story? (Am I the only one that finds these kinds of questions fascinating?)


I’m writing about a real person, and I strive for historical accuracy. Yet I have to put words in a people’s mouths and have them do things they may have never done. So is historical fiction just a string of lies? Do you expect historical fiction to be 100% accurate? Did the book change the history or did the history change the story?


After reading the book are you more interested in medieval France and the history of the period? Did it give you any insights into what feudal society was like?


Do you read historical fiction to be informed or entertained? Or are you hoping for both?

If you read to be informed, what did you learn?


Literature is filled with stories of young men coming of age? Do women come of age, if so how? What does it mean for a woman to come of age?


How does Ermengarde mature throughout the story? Missee?


What was women’s role in the Middle Ages? How is Ermengarde an atypical woman of her time? And how does she reflect her time?


What is the theme of the novel?


We think of the Middle Ages as being very religious. What was Ermengarde’s relationship with the church?


Did you look up Ermengarde on Wikipedia? If so, how did that effect how you felt about the story? Does it ruin the story to know the end?


Toulouse is clearly the antagonist of the novel. What redeeming qualities, if any, does he have? What were his goals and how did they run counter to his time? Is Ermengarde justified in waging war against him?


What role did family history play in Ermengarde’s life?


Authors play with contrasts. How is Missee different from Ermengarde? How does Toulouse differ from Anduze?


About medievalphyllis

I love history and I love writing. I've been working on an historical novel about a medieval viscountess, Ermengarde of Narbonne since 2009. It has been quite a journey and the journey isn't over. Previously I written 6 historical novels for kids, but this is a new challenge.
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