1. Europeans came to the American colonies for various reasons. It might not have been unusual to find a European aristocrat in a place like Philadelphia, where social stratification was in early development. But why did Pierre Laux, with all of his savoir faire, choose to live on the edge of the frontier, where life was rough and much more tenuous?
2. Why did Lawrence Kraymer, a wealthy businessman from Philadelphia, find the Laux family so alluring? Aside from the enchantment of a beautiful young woman, might there have been other reasons?
3. Each of the Laux children have a role to play in how the story develops. Catharine, the oldest, is a gentler model of her mother; Jean is the romantic spirit and the warrior; Andrew is calculating, but an achiever by any measure; Georgie is the salt of the earth, the one who will always be on the farm. What role does Magdalena play and why is it integral to the themes of good and evil in the book? What kind of woman do you think Magdalena will become?
4. In the book, John was the last surviving member of his Lenape tribe. How does his friendship with Lawrence Kraymenr help us understand the effects that European immigration had on indigenous people?
5. Living at the edge of the wilderness was an extreme challenge, in both the physical and social senses of the word, and being prepared for the unexpected was essential. But, in reality, "chance" or "luck" often played a role, for better or worse. How did luck affect the characters throughout the story?
6. What were the differences between Catharine's and Lawrence's perceptions of the threat that McDonall posed? Why do you think they didn't listen to Jean's concerns or follow his advice? Knowing that the story was based on the true history of the Kraymer family, what was your reaction to what happened to Catharine and baby Peter?
7. Unable to return to the chateau with his in-laws, Lawrence Kraymer enters a fugue state. Did you find this development understandable? What events take place and how is he assisted in this altered state of mind?
8. The Susquehannock people adopt Lawrence, and Pierre and John find him living in their village. Why was Lawrence finally able to reconcile with Pierre and the Laux family? If Pierre had not persisted in finding Lawrence, do you think Lawrence would ever have been able to return to his former life?
9. There are two Chateau Lauxes in this story, one in France and one in the colonies. How are they different, and how in some ways are they the same? Could you consider the chateaux to be characters in this story? If so, how?
10. The author was inspired to write Chateau Laux based on information he discovered in his family's genealogical record. Have you ever learned something surprising in your own family history? How did you react? Can you imagine how such a discovery might change your life?
Mt Rose Readers!