Book Club Finding Eadie

Suggested Questions
  • Books are of central importance in the novel, to Alice and Theo as well as to both their brothers who were in the forces. How else is the idea of books for escapism and entertainment woven through the story?
  • Family disagreements and feuds are all part and parcel of family life but some might consider Ruth’s betrayal of Alice is unforgiveable. Do you think Alice should forgive her?
  • Alice made the decision to combine the search for Eadie with helping with the book until it became too difficult to continue. Was this the right choice?
  • All three female characters—Alice, Ursula and Ruth—have secrets and flaws. Who did you identify with the most and why?
  • There was little research about life in the 1940s for lesbians and I wanted to know more about the world that Ursula inhabited; which character would you like to discover more about and why?
  • Many of the characters and animals at London Zoo are based on real ones and inspired by real events. Does this help to make the setting more authentic?
  • Penny shows herself to be a true friend and finds different ways of supporting Alice, from welcoming her into her home, to arranging the book group to help. Friendship and loyalty are a recurring theme but was it right for Alice to go to her friend when Penny has her own family and business to look after, or should Alice have stayed and faced Ruth?
  • Theo faces his own tough challenges and moral obligations, one of which is should he stay loyal to his family or his employer, and should he stay faithful to his fiancé or the woman he falls in love with? Do you agree with the decisions he made?
  • Alice shows fierce bravery in pursuing her child; physical and emotional obstacles, pain and discomfort, and showing courage in facing the dangerous baby farmers and venturing into unfamiliar places. How far would you go to rescue someone you love?
  • Specific books are important to our characters; Heidi to Alice, The Well of Loneliness to Ursula, The Education of Hyman Kaplan to Theo, others titles for our book group members, and of course the book Theo and Alice are creating; Women and Children First. What book is important to you and why?
Don’t forget to evoke a 1940s atmosphere by getting some of these acts on your playlist: Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, Billie Holliday, Guy Lombardo, Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Benny Goodman Orchestra, Judy garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington and Gene Autry.

Book Club Maggie’s Kitchen

Suggested Questions
  • How did the book affect you?
  • Discuss the style and what you liked or disliked about how it was written.
  • What do you think worked/didn’t work?
  • How successful was the author in evoking a sense of place and time?
  • What was unique about the setting of the book and how did it enhance or take away from the story?
  • What specific themes did the author emphasise throughout the novel? What do you think he or she is trying to get across to the reader?
  • Does Maggie seem real and believable? Can you relate to her predicaments?
  • How do the main characters—Maggie, Janek and Robbie—change or evolve throughout the course of the story? What events trigger such changes?
  • Is the ending satisfying? If so, why? If not, why not…and how would you change it?
  • If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask?
  • Has this novel changed you—broadened your perspective? Have you learned something new or been exposed to different ideas about people or a certain part of the world or history?

Book Club Eleanor’s Secret

Suggested Questions
  • Eleanor’s Secret has its origins based in real events from the Second World War, such as the establishment of the War Artists’ Advisory Committee and the way war artists worked. Has this basis helped the author to successfully build a strong sense of time and place?
  • With Jack’s loyalty to his mother, Eleanor’s responsibility to Cecily, and Kathryn’s devotion to Oliver, how do you think the theme of duty to family and its repercussions are dealt with in the story?
  • What is it about Jack’s character that made him attractive?
  • The novel moves between London in the 1940s and 2010. How well do you think the transition between these two time periods worked and why?
  • The three female characters: Eleanor, Cecily and Maeve, all go through a journey of personal growth in the novel. Which flaws did you most relate to and which character traits did you respond to?
  • What other specific themes did Caroline emphasise throughout the novel? What do you think she is trying to get across to the reader?
  • How does Kathryn change or evolve throughout the course of the story? What events trigger such changes?
  • Do you think that Eleanor was justified in keeping her secret for so long?
  • Did the story reach a satisfying conclusion for Jack and Eleanor? Were you surprised at the outcome for Kathryn and Chris?
Don’t forget to evoke a 1940s atmosphere by getting some of these acts on your playlist: Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, Billie Holliday, Guy Lombardo, Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Benny Goodman Orchestra, Judy garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington and Gene Autry.
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