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The Rifle and The Rose Book Club Information

This book has great appeal to book clubs particularly those interested in historical fiction. The Elliott family members portrayed in this story actually lived and are buried in Washington County Indiana, and the great historical events that shaped their lives are described with accurate detail. The questions provided here can help guide your discussion.

  1. What is the origin of the title “The Rifle and The Rose”? What role does each play in the story?

  2. How do you describe the friendship of Robert and Zeke? Explain what is meant by Zeke’s status as a freedman.

  3. The story is based on the lives of Robert and Elizabeth Elliott and reported through a series of letters from them to Jane Elliott, Robert’s mother. How was this device effective in telling their story?

  4. Bundling before marriage was part of the Scottish Presbyterian ritual for a betrothed couple. Why was it part of the ritual and what was Robert’s reaction to such a ritual?

  5. What was the meaning of a “Salt Ceremony” in a Scots-Irish wedding? What role did music play in the wedding ceremony?

  6. What was the symbolism of the Maltese Cross necklace that Elizabeth gave Robert before he went to fight in the Battle of New Orleans?

  7. Describe the importance of the post offices, available in general stores and other places of business, to Robert and Elizabeth’s courtship as well as to Robert’s family in South. Carolina.

  8. Should Elizabeth’s father have handled the crime of hiding U.S. mail committed by Edward Buchanan as he did?

  9. The Rifle and the Rose describes Robert and Elizabeth’s migration from Alabama to the Indiana territory in the early 1800’s. Did you relate to any aspects of their journey?

  10. The book is written as a love story within a love story and narrated by Jane Elliott. What are the similarities of the two stories?

  11. How did Robert’s identity as a member of the Elliott family whose members had served in the Revolutionary War affect his desire to serve in the War of 1812?


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