For this week’s post, I thought I’d return to some of the Vienna Waltz discussion questions. The following questions all relate to Malcolm/Charles and Suzanne/Mélanie – their marriage, their work as spies, their roles as parents. Feel free to comment on any or all of the questions or to share other questions or thoughts on Suzanne and Malcolm and their relationship.

Both Malcolm and Suzanne keep secrets from each other. How might their marriage have been different if they had told each other the truth from the start? Or would they have married at all in that case?

Do you think Malcolm would ever have told Suzanne the truth about Tatiana if Suzanne hadn’t found the locket?

Suzanne and Malcolm both frequently are playing a part, whether they are in disguise (as at the Empress Rose), or playing their roles as a diplomatic couple, or at times even (or perhaps especially) when they are alone together. At what points in the novel do you think each of them is the most wholly her- or himself without masks or deception?

Compare and contrast Suzanne and Malcolm’s marriage with Fitz and Eithne’s, from their reasons for marrying, to their secrets and betrayals.

Suzanne and Malcolm struggle to balance their roles as agents and their duties in the diplomatic corps with being parents and husband and wife. How are the difficulties they face juggling all this similar to or different from those of a present-day couple?

In this week’s Fraser Correspondence addition, Aline also speculates on Malcolm and Suzanne’s relationship in a letter to Gisèle just before the Carrounsel.