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  1. Ashley and Helena often seem to be in competition at work – is this a positive thing or a negative thing? Does it drive both to excel or is it to the detriment of their professional relationship? Should Ashley feel responsible for Helena’s dismissal?

  2. Ashley is often frustrated with Helena – was Helena a good mentor and boss to Ashley? When their relationship deteriorates, who is to blame? Is it fair to say that Helena and Ashley are set up against each other in the work place by David when Helena becomes pregnant?

  3. What did you think had happened to Helena’s baby? Was Jack right to take Sophia away?

  4. When Helena can’t travel to New York because of her pregnancy, she feels that she has failed at her job. Do you think pregnancy and maternity leave are still regarded as problematic for businesses and there is a pressure for women not to show it has affected their work or work ethic in any way?

  5. Did you have any knowledge of postpartum psychosis before reading The Rival? Do you think the shift from talking about mental illness to mental health in recent popular discourse signals a significant change in how people suffering from mental health problems are regarded, or does the same level of stigma remain?