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Find book discussion guides for your favorite women’s fiction and so much more, including memorable quotes and recipes! Thanks for stopping by!

The Book of Lost Friends Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Book of Lost Friends, I provide your book club with food ideas, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Book of Lost Friends Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Book of Lost Friends Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Book of Lost Friends Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Book of Lost Friends Book Club Questions and Recipe

In The Book of Lost Friends, Lisa Wingate conquers another fascinating, yet obscure, piece of American history. Not to be confused with The Book of Lost Names, which came out around the same time and centers on a WWII story (and is also fascinating), The Book of Lost Friends is a post-Civil War era novel.

This is another dual-timeline novel by Wingate. It follows Hannie, a freed slave, as she travels through post-war Texas in search of her people and attempts to return home to Louisiana, and Benny, a modern-day teacher, struggling to inspire her students until she unearths a history that links them to Hannie and much more.

I have to say that as much as I enjoyed Before We Were Yours, Wingate’s last book, I almost enjoyed The Book of Lost Friends more.

I really loved the post-Civil War timeline (Civil War era is one of my personal favorites), coupled with the struggling teacher timeline. If you are or have ever been a teacher, I think you will love Benny’s story. It echoes the teacher-trying-to-inspire-underpriveleged-kids theme that we’ve seen in many movies, but I thought the tie-in to the Civil War timeline made it fresh. Plus, I’m a sucker for those movies anyway.

This novel wasn’t as dark as Before We Were Yours was (due to its subject). And, while there was still adventure and drama and not every character got a complete happily-ever-after, it was overall an upbeat novel. So, if you’re looking for something inspiring and positive to read as a group, I think you will enjoy this novel.

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One Day in December Book Club Questions and Recipe

*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 Book Club Questions and Recipe
One Day in December Book Club Questions and Recipe
One Day in December Book Club Questions and Recipe
One Day in December Book Club Questions and Recipe

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.

One Day in December by Josie Silver

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.

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The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

*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!

The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Comparison
The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Comparison
The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Comparison
The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Comparison

If you don’t know about it, there has been some controversy about the publication of The Giver of Stars soon after the publication of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.

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.

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The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Book Club Questions and Recipe

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is the first bestseller of Kim Michele Richardson, but it isn’t her first book. She has written three other novels and one non-fiction book. And, her writing reflects that experience.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek tackles two unique subjects in history that you may not be familiar with–the Pack Horse Librarians and the Blue People of Kentucky. The Pack Horse Library was part of Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration in 1930s. The blue-skinned people of Kentucky were a real group of people born with blue skin who lived in the mountains of Appalachia.

Richardson’s main character, Cussy Mary, is both a Pack Horse Librarian and a Blue. The novel follows her as she struggles through the restraints placed on her as a woman at the time and the discrimination she faces as a Blue person, which was considered colored.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

The novel, which I would consider literary in style, unapologetically describes both the poverty and the pride of the residents of Appalachia. I originally delayed reading this novel because I knew the subject would be somewhat dark, and it is. But, it is something that I think needed to be written.

In addition to tackling poverty and starvation, Richardson addresses discrimination in a way that will have the reader examining her own heart. Cussy Mary is a Blue, a skin color most of us are unfamiliar with, but as a Blue she faces intense discrimination throughout the story (it is the primary obstacle). Through Cussy’s story, Richardson takes us on a journey of empathy with Cussy’s plight, confusion and anger when others refuse to see her as equal, and, finally, examination of our own lingering prejudices. It is a timely book for readers right now.

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The Giver of Stars Book Club Food Ideas

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Giver of Stars, I provide your book club with a brief summary, food ideas, and a recipe idea in that order!

The Giver of Stars Book Club Ideas
The Giver of Stars Book Club Ideas
The Giver of Stars Book Club Ideas
The Giver of Stars Book Club Ideas

If you haven’t checked out the previous post in the series where I share my thoughts on The Giver of Stars and a fun activity idea for your book club, check out that post HERE.

You can also check out the next post in the series where I share discussion questions for your book club based on the book HERE.

In this post, I’ll review the premise of The Giver of Stars and share some great food ideas for your book club based on the book.

The Giver of Stars

Here’s a brief summary of The Giver of Stars:

Hoping to escape her life of suffocating expectations in England, Alice marries the handsome Kentuckian Bennett Van Cleve. The honeymoon is cut short when she finds herself in an equally stifling situation under the watchful eye of Bennett’s strict father in a small and secluded Kentucky town.

When the chance arises to join the Pack Horse Library, Alice steps forward despite Van Cleve’s disapproval. There, she meets independent Margery O’Hare, who encourages Alice to stand up for herself and fight for true love.

The bond they form with each other and the other three Pack Horse Librarians is tested in unforgettable ways as they journey through the dangers of the Appalachian mountains to bring its hardscrabble residents hope through books.

Keep reading for great food ideas for your book club!


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