ArchiveCategory Archives for "Romance"
Find book discussion guides for your favorite romance fiction and so much more, including memorable quotes and recipes! Thanks for stopping by!
Find book discussion guides for your favorite romance fiction and so much more, including memorable quotes and recipes! Thanks for stopping by!
*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Wuthering Heights, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
Wuthering Heights was the first and only novel of Emily Bronte. Bronte, whose famous sisters Charlotte and Anne were also writers, published the novel under a male alias, Ellis Bronte in 1847 just before her death.
It is a dark tale of passion and obligation, of tortured hearts and unmet longings, and, most importantly, of the destruction revenge brings. Destruction, not so much on the victims of the revenge, but on the tormentor.
For some readers it is the most sadly beautiful star-crossed lover tale. For others, it is a stark and cautionary tale of unforgiveness wrought into bitterness. For book clubs, it is ripe with discussion.
Whatever your feelings on Heathcliff and the onslaught he delivers, Bronte’s writing is superb. Her character development is amazing and the plot will have you wondering what in the world could happen next.Continue reading
*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Exiles, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
Christina Baker Kline is the novelist who wrote the hit Orphan Train a few years ago. If you haven’t read Orphan Train, I encourage your book club to consider it for your list. If you have, I think you’ll enjoy the new book out by Christina Baker Kline, The Exiles.
The Exiles, like Orphan Train, is based on true historical events, namely the passage and establishment of English convicts to the island that would later become Australia.
The book, also like Orphan Train, is told from multiple intersecting storylines. The book follows two female convicts as they cross the ocean and eventually land in Australia and one aboriginal child as she is “adopted” by an English family on the island.
I really loved this novel and was fascinated by the time period and historical details as well as the characters’ stories. I was somewhat disappointed in some of the plot, but overall I thought it was a great read and worth book club attention.Continue reading
*If you are new here, WELCOME! For One Day in December, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
One Day in December is Josie Silver’s debut novel, released in 2018. It was featured in Reese’s Book Club and has gone on to be a New York Times bestseller.
While this isn’t your Pulitzer prize winning book club pick, it is a really great love story with true-to-life characters and a love triangle plot that will have you reading until the end. It is a wonderful read if you’ve just finished something heavy. And, (hint hint title), it’s a great read for the holidays.
To give you a quick idea of whether or not you’ll like the novel, consider if you liked Bridget Jones’s Diary or Love Actually. If you did, then you’ll love this novel, which has similar themes as both books.
While some reviewers have classified this as a rom-com, I would say it leans just outside of that category and into the women’s fiction category by a hair. While you will get some of the classic rom-com feel, the characters also deal with some deeper internal struggles than you see in pure romance. The primary conflict arises because the main character cannot confess to her close-as-a-sister best-friend that the man she’s fallen in love with is the man the main character already fell in love with.
Friendship and what it means, what loyalties it asks of a person, is the primary issue explored. In addition, the main character experiences a self-discovery growth arc, as do several other characters.
One Day in December is also written in an interesting form, telling the story in short scenes that spread out over a period of ten years. Silver did a masterful job creating a unique form where such a long stretch of time is covered without leaving the reader feeling frustrated or confused.Continue reading
*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Comparison, I provide your book club with a brief summary and comparison, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
I actually saw The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek long before The Giver of Stars released, but passed it by because I thought the subject might be a little heavy based on the description and I wasn’t in the mood for a heavy book. When The Giver of Stars released, I had no idea by the cover that it was about Pack Horse Librarians, but after reading the description, my interest was peaked and I decided to read it.
The controversy revolves around possible plagiarism on Jojo Moyes part, asserting that parts of The Giver of Stars are too similar to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek to be a coincidence.
I read The Giver of Stars first, unaware of the controversy. After reading, I was shocked to see the accusations from many readers in reviews, many of them citing the Buzzfeed article where the similarities are outlined. Instead of reading the article, I decided to read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek next and form my own opinion.
After reading both, I was confused and surprised that so many readers were vehemently choosing one or the other. The books were very different to me and BOTH worth reading. I’ve completed separate posts going into more detail on each. You can check out the posts on The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek for more.
Yes, the topic is Pack Horse Librarians, a Works Progress Administration program enacted by Roosevelt in the 1930s to bring books to rural Kentucky, but both authors created a book on the same subject in very different way. After I finished both books, I did finally read the article and, to me, the similarities outlined were minor.
If you disagree, think about this–this is a new subject to fiction. No other books I can think of have been written on it. Yet, there are hundreds to thousands of novels written about World War II. In those books, we expect to see spies, someone facing starvation, someone being tortured physically or mentally by a Nazi, etc.
It’s not surprising to me that Moyes and Richardson would have studied the time period and the facts and come up with story elements that coincidentally are similar. Including adding colored librarians, because of the times we are in (and it’s just important), placing antagonists along the lonely routes through the mountains, because that seems the most logical way to add tension, and creating love interests, because readers love and expect this. As a writer, I read with that eye. I’m always considering what I would add to a book on the subject, and I have to say I would have added some form of those things myself.
Let me talk a little about how the two novels are very different rather than scrutinizing their similarities.
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a novel about a single woman who faces severe persecution because of her Blue skin. This alone is worth reading about because it’s based on the real-life blue-skinned people of Kentucky, a new subject and fascinating for me. She is also a Pack Horse Librarian who takes books via horseback to her patrons in rural Appalachia. The book is primarily about her inner struggle to accept herself. It is written in a literary style. It does an exceptional job of highlighting the true-to-life details of life in Appalachia. And, it should be on your book club list.
The Giver of Stars is a friendship novel about five Pack Horse Librarians. It centers on two of the women and follows their struggles through love and life. The women fight to find their voices in a time and place where women didn’t have much say. It is a plot-driven novel that will have you cheering, but many of the true-to-life details of life in Appalachia are glossed over or not addressed. Still, any book club would love this book.Continue reading
*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Where the Crawdads Sing, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
If you haven’t heard of Where the Crawdads Sing yet, I’d be surprised. The book, released in 2018, has already sold 7 million copies as of this writing. Still, it’s a pretty new release, especially for some book clubs who require that a book is readily available through a library before they select it to read. Before now, securing the book via any other means than buying the hard copy would have been difficult.
The book is Delia Owen’s debut novel, although the author has written other non-fiction works. It’s a novel rich with natural history and scientific details of the ocean marsh where its main character, Kya, lives. Delia Owens’ background in zoology adds a significant depth to Kya’s love for the marsh and its creatures, taking the novel beyond a normal love-triangle and murder mystery plot.Continue reading
*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Giver of Stars, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
The Giver of Stars follows a group of Pack Horse Librarians in Kentucky in the 1930s. Pack Horse Librarians were part of President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration and a special project of Eleanor Roosevelt. They carried books via horseback to some of the most rural and remote areas of Kentucky.
The novel is permeated with friendship, primarily centered around five librarians and the events that happen to them. If you don’t know, Jojo Moyes is English, but if you do, you might be wondering how she pulled off writing a novel about rural Kentucky. The main character, Alice, is an English-born and bred lady who marries a native Kentuckian and we follow her as she moves to Kentucky and ultimately joins the Pack Horse Librarians.
Since Moyes started out as a romance author, you won’t be surprised to find a good deal of romance in the novel as well. The romance is clean and you won’t find any on-page sex. But romance isn’t the primary driving force of the novel, there are high stakes and some life-threatening situations for almost all of the characters that will keep you turning pages.
I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the book and expect it to be another hit by Moyes on the scale of Me Before You. That said, I cannot continue without addressing the fact that there has been some controversy regarding the similarity to another book about Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, which I am also featuring. However, I do not think you should form an opinion before reading both books.Continue reading
*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Breakfast at the Honey Creek Cafe by Jodi Thomas, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and book club questions in that order!
Do you love small town romances? If so, then you’ll love Breakfast at the Honey Creek Cafe by Jodi Thomas. The novel is the first in a new series by Jodi Thomas, who, if you don’t know, is the queen of Texas romance.
Her books, set in Texas, range from historical to contemporary, from series to stand alone books. While she primarily writes romance, several of her books also lean towards women’s fiction like The Widows of Wichita County and The Little Teashop on Main. She’s won three RITAs for her romance books, which led to her induction into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame (with only 17 other romance writers!).Continue reading
*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Great Gatsby, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
The Great Gatsby is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most renown work. Maybe you know The Great Gatsby from high school English, where it’s often required reading (gasp!–If you’re in high school English now, hi there! Don’t worry, you’ll survive!). Anyway, maybe that’s been a while…but you have a vague memory of parties and wealth along with Gatsby’s doomed obsession for a past love.
Or, maybe due to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jay Gatsby, you are more recently familiar with the story. Either way, you might not have read the book as an adult. I know I hadn’t.
Let me encourage you if it’s been a while or especially if you’ve crossed into mid-life, the place where we flounder between the tug of the future and the pull of the past, to consider rereading the novel. The Great Gatsby is a timeless book that can be read every few years and mined for new insights. It’s ultimately a warning against the pursuit of wealth unrestrained by morality. But, it’s more than that, too.Continue reading
*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Emma by Jane Austen, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
Emma is one of Jane Austen’s lesser known masterpieces (often behind Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility in readers’ minds). It is a comedy about romantic mishaps and youthful overconfidence.
Don’t you remember those blissfully ignorant and misguided days of youth when you absolutely knew what everyone else wanted and needed but had no idea what you wanted or needed? No? Just me?
Well Emma, the book’s namesake, is the epitome of this dichotomy. She’s quick to meddle in all of her neighbors’ lives, yet she has is blind to the desires of her own heart. She’s presumptuous, loved by everyone, and stubborn to a fault. Throw in a cast of quirky characters including a loquacious spinster, a gold-digging vicar, and an anti-social father and you’ve got a book full of mayhem and mishaps.
If you’ve read any of her books, you’ll know that Jane Austen is the queen of miscommunication. Her books often revolve around dangers of assumptions. Emma is no different, but I found the heroine to be especially charming in a unique way to other Austen heroines.Continue reading
*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Alice Network, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
Have you read any books featured by Reese’s Book Club? (As in Reese Witherspoon. In case you didn’t know, she has a online book club which is part of her company Hello Sunshine and the books they choose get the Reese seal of approval–much like Oprah’s book selections.) Anyway, for me, the books I’ve read have been hit or miss. Lately, though, it seems Reese is hitting it out of the park with titles like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Little Fires Everywhere, and Where the Crawdads Sing.
Needless to say, The Alice Network is a Reese’s Book Club pick and I loved it. The novel is a dual timeline story featuring two women as they deal with both WWI and WWII. It is set primarily in France. When the two women meet in the aftermath of WWII, their stories converge and they set out on a journey of discovery and revenge.Continue reading