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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