*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Then There Was You by Kara Isaac, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
As a (mostly) traditional reader, I haven’t read many books that have been indie published. So, I decided to change that. Insert Kara Isaac and Then There Was You. Wow. I was beyond pleasantly surprised.
Of course, this book won a RITA in 2018, so I’m not sure why I was so delighted to find out how awesome it was! It is an inspirational (faith) romance, but can easily be enjoyed by any reader. However, as a Christian, I found this book to be a breath of fresh air compared to other titles I’ve read.
It was just so REAL. I loved the characters, the romance, and the plot. I hope you do, too!
I wanted to share this gem here as a book club suggestion for groups who might be looking for a feel-good inspirational read that still has depth. If that’s your group, I hope you’ll take a chance on this read. I’ve provided book club questions and a recipe for Then There Was You to facilitate your meeting! So if you are looking for food ideas and more for your book club meeting, keep reading!
Here’s a brief summary of Then There Was You by Kara Isaac:
Paige McAllister has spent the last 6 years in a dead end relationship with a guy who doesn’t love her. Nothing like her 19-year-old sister’s wedding to send her a wakeup call, but even Paige surprises herself by moving from Chicago to Sydney, Australia in order to reset. In Sydney, she finds a job a logistics planner for one of Australia’s largest churches and she discovers she might have signed up for more than she bargained for when she meets the swoon-worthy, but so-not-her-type, worship leader, Josh Tyler. She can’t understand, then, why she can’t get him out of her head.
Josh Tyler has his own reservations about Paige, but he can’t deny the way his heart flutters to life every time he sees Paige—something he never thought could happen again. As Josh and Paige find themselves planning the worship band’s next tour, sparks and frustrations fly. Can Paige let go of the tragedy that caused her to play it safe for 6 years with the wrong guy and can Josh let go of his trust issues from his own failed relationships in order to take the chance that might bring them the happiness they both desire?
For the Then There Was You recipe:
After searching the book for food suggestions, I decided to make Paige’s vanilla cupcakes. I can only imagine how embarrassing it must have been for Paige to ruin her prized cupcakes and then to stumble right into Josh in her mess. She really showed her character by being able to laugh it off and throw them away instead of taking it to heart.
When I decided to make cupcakes, I had to find help. I’m honestly not a huge cupcake fan (GASP!). So, I’m relatively clueless about them. In order to give you a great recipe to go along with this book, I researched the best recipes on the wide web and found one at The Cupcake Project.
Thanks to Stef’s genius, I was able to create a great vanilla cupcake. Be warned, if you love cupcakes, and you visit her site, I am not responsible for the hours of life you will lose drooling over her recipes!
If your book club is looking for food ideas for Then There was You, look no further!
Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing:
Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Icing
For the Cupcakes:
- 1 ¾ cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup canola oil
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup whole milk
For the Vanilla Buttercream:
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup whole milk
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
For the cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Mix all of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar) in a bowl.
- Add in softened butter until you have a fine crumb texture.
- In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract.
- Add the wet ingredients to the flour and butter mixture until just combined.
- Slowly, mix in the milk. Do not over mix. The batter should be fairly liquid.
- Fill cupcake liners just past ½ full.
- Bake for 14-18 minutes, testing ever 2 minutes after 14 for doneness.*
- Remove from baking tin and place on cooling rack.
For the icing:
- Beat the butter with a mixer until smooth—at least 3 minutes.
- Mix in powdered sugar on a low speed a little at a time.
- Add in milk and mix. (You can switch steps 2 and 3 if preferred).
- Add in vanilla and salt and mix until incorporated.
- Put finished icing into a piping bag and swirl onto cooled cupcakes.
Then There Was You Book Club Questions:
*WARNING: May contain spoilers!
- When Paige tells Alex that she’s moving to Australia, did you believe her? Do you think she believed herself? Has anything in your life caused you to consider or act on such a brash move?
- When Paige’s attention is split between Nate and Josh at the airport, were you routing for her to choose Nate? What about later in the book? Why do you think she didn’t connect to Nate like she did with Josh, even after all his steadfast friendship?
- Paige’s background is slowly revealed over the course of the story. Did the author, Kara Isaac, keep you guessing about what happened to her and her brother? When it was revealed, how did you feel about it?
- In the same vein, Josh’s relationship history is brought up often but the details remain a mystery until the end of the story. Did you guess what had occurred or did it keep you turning pages? How do you think the author, Kara Isaac, delivered on this part of the story?
- Knowing that Josh wasn’t perfect made him a more lovable character, but how did you react when he couldn’t accept the mistake Paige made with her joke about the yacht just after revealing his own sin?
- This book explores what happens behind the scenes at a megachurch. The people and the struggles are real and not without faults. Did this make you more empathetic to your own church and pastor/pastor family? If you are part of a ministry, did you feel that the book accurately portrayed things—why or why not?
- In the end, Paige begins to play her violin again. However, she does not become part of the band. Did this surprise you? Do you think the book was better or worse because this didn’t play out as many readers would expect?
- There were many comedic scenes throughout the book including a cupcake fiasco, drop bears, a family intervention, and a very public declaration of love. What were some of your favorites?
- How does this compare to other Kara Isaac books you may have read?
- What are some other romcom books that you have enjoyed? Were they inspirational? How do you think the author did a good job of bridging the two—romantic comedy and inspirational?
Have you read Then There Was You or any other Kara Isaac books? What was your favorite part of the book? What questions popped into your mind while reading?
Until next time, Happy Reading!
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