For our many book clubs around the country preparing to meet and discuss The Violets of March, please enjoy these activities and questions. And if you have not entered this month’s giveaway, a bag of novels from Penguin Books and a Bainbridge Island inspired gift basket from Sarah Jio, please do so. Winners will be chosen on Friday.
Book club activities/ideas:
*Host a violets-themed party: purple food, violets on the table, and music from the 1940s!
*Interview your grandmothers or great aunts about their love stories and/or family secrets (they will love to share a part of their lives and to reminisce, and you may learn something!), then share with your book club friends.
*Listen to some 1940’s music to put you in the mood for the setting of the 1940’s portion of the story. Think about/discuss how music, and lyrics, have changed over the years.
*Start a diary: Many women haven’t kept diaries or journals since they were little girls. Recommit yourself to keeping one. Book club leaders might consider passing out inexpensive journals/diaries as a party favor, even.
*Make a Bainbridge-island themed dinner: Perhaps grilled fish, a side of steamed clams, and sautéed chard (just like in Violets).
*Pray for someone facing a crisis of the heart: Maybe you know someone who is dealing with the aftermath of an affair or someone who is carrying a burden, a secret, or bitterness. Pray for them.
*Who is Emily Wilson? How would you describe her life and her state of mind at the beginning of the book? What draws you to her character?
*What are your first impressions of Bee? How would you describe Emily and Bee’s relationship?
*What role does Bainbridge Island play in this story? What makes it unique? What does the island offer Emily that she can’t get from her life in New York?
*Family secrets play a significant part of the action in this book. How have these secrets affected Emily’s family and personal relationships? Would you have tried to uncover the truth as well?
*Emily finds two love interests on Bainbridge Island: Greg and Jack. What are your impressions of each of these men? Considering that Emily ultimately pursues Jack, would you have done the same? Why or why not?
*Fate is a strong force in The Violets of March. How does fate affect Esther’s story? How does it affect Emily’s? What parallels do you see between the two? Do you believe in fate?
*Henry reveals that he planted Esther’s diary for Emily to find. Why didn’t he confront Bee himself? Why was it important for Emily to find the diary and read it?
*At one point, Emily thinks to herself, “What power Esther had over all of them.” What is your opinion of that thought? What power did Esther have over Elliot, Evelyn, Bee, Janice, and Henry? What power did her story have over Emily?
*Both Bee and Elliot harbor guilt about the night of Esther’s accident. How do you feel they handled the situation? Would you have protected Elliot the way Bee did? Would you have gone down after Esther the way Elliot said he had wanted to?
*When Joel attempts to rekindle his love with her, Emily has gone through a great deal of soul-searching. What is your opinion of her decision to not take Joel back, especially given the theme of reconciliation in the story? Would you have done the same?
*Elliot says that he and Esther were “soul mates,” and Emily’s relationship with Jack mirrors that sentiment. Do you believe in soul mates? What role does timing play in these two couples’ relationships? What could Esther and Elliot have done differently to be together?
*The final scene finds Emily on the verge of writing again. How do you envision what her next book will look like? What future do you see for Emily?
*I am happy to speak to book clubs (I love calling in to say hi!), so feel free to contact me via my website and set up a time.
*My web site: www.sarahjio.com
About Ariel Lawhon
Ariel Lawhon is the co-founder of She Reads, novelist, blogger, storyteller, and life-long reader. She lives in Texas with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.