addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramFill 1linklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahoo

February Book Club Meeting, Alternative Meeting

Our February book is The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman. Magic is knitted into the fabric of Hoffman's novel revolving around a family living with the legacy of witchcraft. The women of the Sparrow family have lived in New England for generations. Each one is born in the month of March and at the age of thirteen each develops an unusual gift. Elinor can smell a life. Her daughter, Jenny, can see other people’s dreams. Granddaughter Stella has just developed the ability to see how other people will die. Ironically, it is their gifts that have kept Elinor and Jenny apart for many years. But as Stella struggles to deal with her disturbing clairvoyance, the unthinkable happens: one of her premonitions lands her father in jail, wrongly accused of murder. The ordeal leads Stella to her grandmother and to Cake House, the Sparrow’s ancestral home, filled with talismans and fraught with history. Now three generations of Sparrow women must come together to turn Stella’s potential to ruin into the potential to redeem.

Since our discussion is held at the Nordstrom Market Cafe, I plan on enjoying breakfast during our discussion. Eating or drinking is optional but I certainly plan on enjoying something to eat and drink during our discussion. The Nordstrom Market Cafe is located on the second floor of Norstroms in the Columbia Mall.


Three generations of extraordinary women are driven to unite in crisis and discover the rewards of reconciliation and love. 

Women of the Sparrow family have unusual gifts. Elinor can detect falsehood. Her daughter, Jenny, can see people’s dreams when they sleep. Granddaughter Stella has a mental window on the future - a future that she might not want to see. 

In The Probable Future this vivid and intriguing cast of characters confronts a haunting past—and a very current murder—against the evocative backdrop of small-town New England. By turns chilling and enchanting, The Probable Future chronicles the Sparrows’s legacy as young Stella struggles to cope with her disturbing clairvoyance. Her potential to ruin or redeem becomes unbearable when one of her premonitions puts her father in jail, wrongly accused of homicide. Yet this ordeal also leads Stella to the grandmother she was forbidden to meet and to a historic family home full of talismans from her ancestors. 

Poignant, arresting, unsettling, The Probable Future showcases the lavish literary gifts that have made Alice Hoffman one of America’s most treasured writers.

Book Availability at the Howard Count Public Library

The Probable Future is available for checkout at the Howard County Public Library. The Howard County Public Library has:

(4) Copies of the book.

(1) Copy in large print.

(6) Copies of the book on CD.

(1) Copy as downloadable audio.

Howard County Library Central Branch

10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy

Columbia, MD 21044


Branch Hours

Mon. - Thurs. 10 am - 9 pm

Fri. - Sat. 10 am - 6 pm

Join or login to comment.

  • Jennifer

    The discussion we had was great, and very thought provoking.

    February 23, 2014

  • Wayne M.

    It was just an excellent discussion this morning.

    February 22, 2014

  • Joanne

    I overslept and won't make it today. See you at her talk on 3/2.

    1 · February 22, 2014

  • Wayne M.

    Here is another question that I'm thinking about as I read. Let's discuss this when we meet:

    In which ways does Jenny’s extreme overprotectiveness of her daughter cause a rift in their relationship? Do you think the two will be closer as time wears on? Why is Stella so much tougher on her mother than on her father? How is Will affected by Stella’s unadulterated devotion to him?

    February 18, 2014

  • Wayne M.

    Hi everyone,

    I hope that your reading is going well. Here is a question for us to think about and discuss at our upcoming meeting:

    Each of the Sparrow women has a secret view into the lives of others—Stella sees their deaths, Elinor their falsehoods, and Jenny their dreams. In which ways do these attributes make the women more perceptive to those around them? How does this paranormal ability insulate and isolate them? Who adjusts the best to using her gift to accomplish something good, and how does she do so?

    February 16, 2014

9 went

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy