Joy. Pain. Choices. Love. Family. Secrets.
In her second novel, Sweeney does it again. She shows us a family; she shows us ourselves; she shows us an imperfect world with imperfect people who somehow manage to love each other and mean it. When Flora finds Julian’s wedding ring in an old filing cabinet, the ring that he supposedly lost fifteen years ago, she knows he has a secret, but she isn’t sure she wants to know what it is. Flora’s world is rounded out by her daughter, Ruby, and her best friend, Margot–who has secrets of her own. Flora’s marriage to Julian and her friendship with Margot have survived good times and bad and a cross country move from New York to California, but will her love for each of them survive knowing their secrets?
In artful prose and beautifully drawn characters, Sweeney lets the reader into Flora’s world, filled with the joy and the pain of discovery. The question for Flora and the question for us is: will we let the pain win, or will we choose the joy? You’ll have to read it to find out, and please do read it. You won’t regret it. Full disclosure–I received an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
Discussion Questions for your book club:
- What do you think is Flora’s superpower? What is Margot’s?
- If you were Julian and Flora, would you have moved to California? What about if you were Margot and David? Why or why not?
- What do you think each of them gained by the move?
- What do you think about how Margot felt back in New York after working in California about the snobbishness of the actors? How has her perspective changed since she moved? What does she see that they don’t?
- Why is Julian’s scene with the tree important? What does it mean?
If your book group decides to read and discuss, consider baking these Zucchini Muffins. They were a favorite from my B&B days. We had guests who specifically requested them on their return visits. Enjoy!