*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Exit Strategy, I provide your book club with a brief summary, food ideas and a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
Two women. One man. An unexpected friendship formed with the intention of revenge. You know the concept. You might even love it (I do).
But, set your preconceptions aside, because while The Exit Strategy includes a similar hook, the plot is sure to surprise you.
If you have worked in any type of corporate setting or male-dominated business, you need to read this book. It is a novel for today’s business savvy woman. A former marketing executive herself, Lainey Cameron writes as only an insider could–truly understanding the ins and outs of being a woman in a male-dominated field.
The Exit Strategy is ultimately about two powerful women learning to encourage each other to step into positions of authority with confidence, rather than shy away in self-doubt as their adversaries desire.
As a finance industry professional, I really loved this novel and closed the book wondering why there aren’t more stories like it.
I encourage you to read it as a book club and discuss the important themes in the novel. It’s a fast-paced novel with plenty to talk about.
If you aren’t familiar with Lainey Cameron, she runs The Best of Women’s Fiction podcast, which you should definitely check out.
I’m also collaborating with Lainey and her cohost, Ashley Hasty, to feature authors they are hosting on the podcast here on Book Club Bites.
Lainey was kind enough to provide a recipe to feature here on Book Club Bites. Her Mixed Nuts Cookies are delicious and addictive! You’ll want to make a double batch for your book club.
Keep reading until the end for more information on Lainey Cameron and book club questions for The Exit Strategy!
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Here’s a brief summary of The Exit Strategy:
From the Publisher: “Silicon Valley investor Ryn Brennan is on the verge of achieving everything she dreamed. She’s succeeded in the sexist venture capital world, has a supportive husband, and is about to close the deal of her career. Everything is going exactly as planned, until she meets her husband’s mistress, across the negotiating table.
Carly clawed her way back from being a teenage runaway to become an accomplished scientist, caring single mom, and co-founder of her startup. Once she marries her loving fiancé, she’ll secure the complete family she craves. But she’s blindsided to discover her not so perfect fiancé is already married.
In an industry full of not-so-subtle sexism, can the two women rise above, and work together to overcome heartbreak, and ensure their success?
Winner of 10 book awards including 2020 Readers’ Favorite and National Indie Excellence Awards for Women’s Fiction, IPPY Winner for adult fiction ebooks, 2021 Book Excellence award.”
For The Exit Strategy Food Ideas:
Wine and Nutella. I mean, do you really need more? Maybe just some Scotch (Ryn’s drink of choice). I’m only slightly joking, because I think you could throw a great book club meeting with just those items.
Luckily, there are some very specific (Nutella-based) dishes mentioned in the book and Lainey Cameron has even provided us with one of her favorite cookie recipes.
Here are a few of the food ideas from the pages of The Exit Strategy:
- Cheese fondue, sea bass with carmelized onions, and creme brulee when Todd hires caterers for his apology dinner.
- Nutella (by the spoonful) is the food Ryn and her mother would sneak away and eat together and it always reminds her of her mother.
- Carly gets the recipe for Nutella lattes from Ryn’s favorite cafe in Tiburon. She also brings Nutella cookies.
- At the ranch, Carly brings a chocolate and Nutella meringue pie with raspberries.
- Carly and Ryn often meet over lunch – salads and wine.
Lainey Cameron was kind enough to share her Mixed Nuts Cookies recipe.
Beware, these cookies are addictive. Like a homemade twist on pecan sandies, they are nutty, just sweet enough, and so delicious.
Trust me when I say you’ll want to double the recipe for your book club!
A few tips on cooking Mixed Nut Cookies:
Lainey offered a few tips to help make your cookie experience the best it can be!
1) Keep an eye on the cookies towards the end of baking and remove them from the oven when they get to a light golden brown color.
2) Use any kind of nuts as per your choice…just keep the same proportions of nuts versus other ingredients.
3) For an extra touch of flavor, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Also, if you live in a dry climate or at a high altitude, you’ll want to have a little milk or water on hand to help you combine this crumbly dough.
Whether you choose something from this list or try this fabulous recipe from Lainey, I hope these food ideas will get your creative juices flowing to host your book club for The Exit Strategy!
The Exit Strategy Book Club Recipe:
Mixed Nuts Cookies
- 4 tbsp butter room temperature
- 1/4 cup canola oil or other nonflavored cooking oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar powdered
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp chopped cashews
- 2 tbsp chopped pistachios
- 2 tbsp chopped almonds
- warm milk or warm water as needed, for kneading the dough
- Chop or crush all the nuts being used.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).
- In a mixing bowl, beat together softened butter at room temperature and sugar. Use an electric hand mixer on a medium-speed setting and beat until the butter mixture is fluffy.
- Add the canola oil and beat for another minute.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the butter, sugar, and oil mixture. Add the mixed nuts and use a spatula to mix everything.
- Combine the crumbly cookie dough using your hands.
- Begin adding a little of the warm milk (gradually as needed) or warm water to knead the dough. Make a firm ball of dough. If it’s still too crumbly, add another tablespoon of milk and combine.
- Use a cookie scoop or your hands to make small balls of the cookie dough. Place the balls on a greased cookie sheet (or line it with parchment paper). Put enough space between the balls so they can expand while baking.
- Press the balls gently with a fork or your thumb. Don’t press too hard, or they may split.
- Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Keep the baked cookies on the baking sheet until they completely cool down. The cookies will be soft right when they come out of the oven. Let them cool down completely for crispier cookies.
More Fun from Lainey Cameron:
Please insert a short description of your recipe and why it relates to your novel. Include any information you think readers would enjoy!
Well, these are some dang cool cookies. And just like my main character, Ryn’s fixation with Nutella they are on a nut-theme.
In The Exit Strategy, Ryn eats Nutella with a spoon out of the jar! Having spent several years living in France, I’m also a life-long Nutella fan. All fiction is inspired by real life, right? In fact, in the reader extras section of my website, you can find an entire book of Nutella recipes.
Good food and a good book go hand-in-hand. What is your favorite food to enjoy while reading?
I’d never say no to these sugar cookies, but depending on the time of day, I’m rather partial to coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. Or a good glass of red wine and some brie with crackers. Right now I’m in Puerto Escondido in Mexico (where it’s exceptionally hot and humid), so a nice cold beer in the hammock while reading also works well!
(Lainey’s a digital nomad who travels the world. Be sure to check out her Instagram below!)
Did you sample any interesting food while researching this book? Or experience anything exciting while researching?
Nutella, man, lots of it! I had fun putting together the recipe book that matches the novel.
I can also tell you that for research, I revisited a certain Silicon Valley bar that stars in the book. My main character, Ryn, has an ugly experience there when she runs into a real event, known as Cougar Night (and it’s not exactly what you might first assume!).
This hotel bar is a real location, although I changed its name in the novel. When writing, I visited with a friend. Not a bad life when you can hang out drinking good wine, specifically for research purposes!
The Exit Strategy Book Club Questions:
*WARNING: May contain spoilers!
- Work takes up the majority of our hours and constitutes so much of our identity. However, there aren’t many books focused so heavily on work. Did you enjoy this novel? Can you suggest any other books with a heavy work focus that also include a satisfying interpersonal story?
- Carly and Ryn are powerful and brilliant executives, yet they often doubt themselves. Todd, coworkers, and other men throughout the book often play on this doubt, causing them to second guess decisions. Why do you think this is? What steps did Carly and Run take to overcome this that might be applicable to your life?
- Discuss Carly and Ryn’s friendship. Would you have been able to see past what occurred, even after learning all the details? Why do you think Carly and Ryn become such good friends?
- Ryn takes Carly under her wing, coaching her professionally. Ryn talks about other women who have done the same for her. Have you ever had a mentor help you navigate a tricky situation? Is there anyone you could mentor in your life? Do you think Carly would have overcome her fear without Ryn?
- The men in this book took their power to the extreme, using it to satisfy more than just their egos. Discuss how workplace sexism has evolved over the last few decades (using any examples you feel comfortable sharing). Why do you think it still exists?
- In the book, the men are unphased until they see the number of women who have banded together for Equal Chances. Why do you think strength in numbers really applied to the situation in the book?
- Were you surprised by the twist at the end? Why do you think Todd wanted to deceive so many people?
For more book club questions, visit Lainey’s website: https://www.laineycameron.com/bookclubs.
Find Lainey Cameron:
Lainey can be found at these places online!
Have you read The Exit Strategy? 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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