*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Josie and Vic, I provide your book club with a brief summary, food ideas and a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
Sarton Award-Winning author Debra Thomas’ second novel, Josie and Vic is an examination of the sibling relationship after years and distance have caused separation.
When siblings Josie and Vic are forced back together after tragedy, the door for reconciliation begins to open. Forgiveness, and ultimately hope, slowly follow as the characters cope with their pasts and work to heal fractured relationships.
While the characters deal with some heavy tragedies, the novel is ultimately a heartwarming story about the bittersweetness of second chances.
Josie and Vic is a novel chosen through Book Club Bites’ collaboration with The Best of Women’s Fiction podcast. Don’t forget to check out the fabulous Best of Women’s Fiction podcast where Debra Thomas discusses Josie and Vic and more: HERE.
I’ve provided book club questions and delicious food ideas for Josie and Vic and Debra Thomas has a special recipe for you! So if you are looking for book club ideas and more, keep reading!
Here’s a brief summary of Josie and Vic:
From the publisher:
When Josie Serafini’s brother Vic loses his wife and children in a tragic accident, Josie leaves her home and beloved horses in Upstate New York to join him in Los Angeles. While helping Vic pick up the pieces of his shattered life, Josie confronts broken relationships with her estranged father and rebellious, singer-songwriter daughter. Josie and Vic each struggle to find where they belong in their changing worlds. Josie finds comfort in nature and in a budding, long-distance relationship with the empathetic equine veterinarian caring for her horses back home. Vic battles depression as he seeks purpose in his life. Josie’s three horses and a Siberian husky help open hearts to tenderness and healing—but it’s an unexpected journey to the US-Mexico border that offers this fragmented family a chance to reconnect. A story of love, loss, and forgiveness, Josie and Vic conveys hope—even in the darkest of times.
For Josie and Vic Food Ideas:
Debra Thomas was kind enough to provide us with her quick and easy manicotti recipe! This recipe takes out the hassle of boiling the noodles before stuffing them with ricotta.
So much easier!
It also makes a lot of food, so there will be plenty for your whole group. Only half of the recipe is shown in the photographs!
As Debra notes in her comments (see below), Josie makes manicotti for Vic to comfort him.
I think it’s a great idea to bring your favorite Italian dishes in honor of Josie and Vic. OR have each member bring a comfort dish that their mother (or family member) always used to make them.
Whether you choose something from this list or try your own option, I hope these ideas will get your creative juices flowing to host your book club for Josie and Vic.
A few tips on cooking Quick and Easy Manicotti:
Here are a few tips to help make your cooking experience the best it can be!
- The recipe instructions say to refrigerate the ricotta mix overnight. In a pinch, you can refrigerate for less time. The refrigeration helps the ricotta mix solidify enough that it doesn’t spill out of the manicotti while baking. And also helps with ease of stuffing the ricotta into the pasta.
- If you have a piping bag, it will make the process of stuffing your manicotti much easier. To make your own piping bag, scoop half of the ricotta mix into a gallon ziploc bag, and cut a 1/4″-1/2″ hold in one of the bottom corners of the bag.
Josie and Vic Book Club Recipe:
Quick and Easy Manicotti
- 8 oz Manicotti shells
- 2 lbs Ricotta
- 2 Eggs
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp Dried Parsley
- 1 tsp Garlic salt
- 24 oz Pasta sauce
Evening before, mix in a bowl:
- 2 lbs ricotta
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 Tablespoon dried parley
- 1 tsp Garlic salt (or to taste)
- Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Day of Meal
- Prepare your favorite pasta sauce. (Use jarred for an easy shortcut!)
- Stuff uncooked manicotti shells with ricotta mixture using a butter knife. (See tip above about piping bags.)
- Spread a layer of sauce on bottom of a baking dish.
- Arrange stuffed shells in baking dish.
- Pour sauce over shells and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
- Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
More Fun from Debra Thomas:
Please insert a short description of your recipe and why it relates to your novel. Include any information you think readers would enjoy!
Josie wanted to bring comfort to her brother, Vic, by preparing Italian food that their mother used to make. Lasagna and manicotti were two favorites. Manicotti is similar to lasagna (pasta, ricotta , and sauce), but when prepared the way Josie’s mom taught her—stuffing uncooked manicotti shells—it’s a tad quicker and easier—something a working single mother would appreciate.
Another shortcut—You can prepare your own homemade sauce if you have the time, or you can buy already prepared sauce at the market and spice it up by adding Italian seasonings, a slice of pepperoni, or even Italian sausage to add more flavor.
Good food and a good book go hand-in-hand. What is your favorite food to enjoy while reading?
I love drinking coffee and eating a Madeleine cookie when curled up with a good book.
MMMmmm Madeleines…check out this recipe for a great madeleine!
Josie and Vic Book Club Questions:
*WARNING: May contain spoilers!
- Why do you think that Josie and Vic drifted apart? Do you think they would have reunited without the accident?
- How do you think Vic’s loss affected Josie and Ellie’s relationship?
- Josie and Vic were both deeply affected by the abandonment of their father. Discuss how this also trickled down to the other relationships in their lives. Do you think by the end of the novel they found some peace?
- In what ways were animals in the story important to the overarching storyline? How would the novel have been different without them?
- Josie finds an unexpected second chance at love. Did you enjoy this part of the novel? How do you think it helped her move towards healing?
- Discuss Josie and Ellie’s relationship over time. Discuss the symbolism in Pangaea and the song they write together at the end. What do you think life looks for them a year after the novel ends?
Find Debra Thomas:
Debra can be found online!
Don’t forget to check out the fabulous Best of Women’s Fiction podcast where Debra Thomas discusses Josie and Vic and more: HERE.
Have you read Josie and Vic? What did you think? Did it satisfy you or were you left wishing for more? What are some similar books you’ve read?
Until next time, Happy Reading!
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Bookish gifts for you or your reader friends!