Other People's Houses 
Abbi Waxman, 2018
Penguin Publishing
352 pp.
ISBN-13:
9780399587924


Summary
A hilarious and poignant new novel about four families, their neighborhood carpool, and the affair that changes everything.

At any given moment in other people's houses, you can find … repressed hopes and dreams … moments of unexpected joy … someone making love on the floor to a man who is most definitely not her husband

*record scratch*

As the longtime local carpool mom, Frances Bloom is sometimes an unwilling witness to her neighbors' private lives. She knows her cousin is hiding her desire for another baby from her spouse, Bill Horton's wife is mysteriously missing, and now this...

After the shock of seeing Anne Porter in all her extramarital glory, Frances vows to stay in her own lane.

But that's a notion easier said than done when Anne's husband throws her out a couple of days later. The repercussions of the affair reverberate through the four carpool families—and Frances finds herself navigating a moral minefield that could make or break a marriage. (From the publisher.)



Author Bio
Birth—1970
Where—England, UK
Education—University College London
Currently—lives in Los Angeles, California


Abbi Waxman is a chocolate-loving, dog-loving woman who lives in Los Angeles and lies down as much as possible. She worked in advertising for many years, which is how she learned to write fiction. She has three daughters, three dogs, three cats, and one very patient husband. (From the publisher.)



Book Reviews
[A] “gaggle of middle-class white people”—and all of the comedy, drama, and quotidian details that make up their lives.… Hilarious ruminations about child-rearing, shopping, and other parents give this broad appeal.
Publishers Weekly


Waxman is a gifted storyteller with an impressive talent for penning realistic dialog for adults and children: no easy feat. For fans of fast-moving contemporary humorous fiction about women and families. —Samantha Gust, Niagara Univ.Lib., NY
Library Journal


[A] far-reaching topic… sprinkle[d] with spicy dialogue.… Frances is equal parts warmth and snark as she considers her friends and neighbors through the lens of TMI. [For] those who like to turn pages quickly without sacrificing complex characters.
Booklist


[C]harming yet provocative.…Waxman is a master at purveying the wry humor that rides just below the surface of even the tough times. An immensely enjoyable read.
Kirkus Reviews



Discussion Questions
1. In this book the neighborhood plays an important role. What other situations create this kind of community, and how does seeing people every day change your relationship to them?

 2. The central character, Frances Bloom, is someone who likes to help, because it makes her feel useful. Do you know someone like this? Do you find it easier to help or be helped?

 3. Frances and Michael have a very happy but not very romantic marriage. Do you think that this will eventually drive them apart?

 4. Anne Porter has an affair and nearly destroys her marriage. How important is sexual fidelity? Is it the most important element in a marriage? Can trust be rebuilt after a betrayal of this kind?

 5. How much do children understand their parents’ marriage? How hard is it to maintain privacy in a relationship once you have children?

6. Sara and Iris are experiencing communication problems in their marriage, although it’s very strong. Have you gone through something similar, where communication breaks down for no apparent reason, and then becomes difficult to reopen?

7. Anne felt she was someone else in her affair, that it was something just for her. Ava also mentions a strong desire to be her own person, driving her own choices. How hard is it to balance a sense of self with responsibilities within a family?

8. Frances and Ava are navigating their changing relationship as Ava becomes more independent. Did you struggle against your parents or one parent in particular as you were becoming an adult? How do you think the experience of adolescence has changed since you were a teenager?

9. The title, Other People’s Houses, alludes to the impression one gets of someone just by looking at them. How much can you really tell about someone based on their home, or the way they dress? Is appearance an expression of character, or armor?

10. Bill and Julie Horton are dealing with a challenging time in a very private way. What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of approaching it this way?
(Questions issued by the publisher.)

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The Flight Attendant 
Chris Bohjalian, 2018
Knopf Doubleday
368 pp.
ISBN-13:
9780385542418


Summary
A powerful story about the ways an entire life can change in one night: a flight attendant wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, with a dead man—and no idea what happened.

Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings.

She's a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing.

When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, already counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness.

And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets.

Afraid to call the police—she's a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home—Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate.

Soon it's too late to come clean—or to face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?

Set amid the captivating world of those whose lives unfold at forty thousand feet, The Flight Attendant unveils a spellbinding story of memory, of the giddy pleasures of alcohol and the devastating consequences of addiction, and of murder far from home. (From the publisher.)



Author Bio
Birth—1960
Where—White Plains, New York, USA
Education—Amherst College
Awards—Anahid Literary Award, 2000; New England Book Award, 2002
Currently—lives in Lincoln, Vermont


Christopher Aram Bohjalian, who goes by the pen name Chris Bohjalian, is an American novelist. Bohjalian is the author of nearly 20 novels, including New York Times bestsellers Midwives, Secrets of Eden, The Law of Similars, Before You Know Kindness, The Double Bind, Skeletons at the Feast, and The Night Strangers.

Bohjalian is the son of Aram Bohjalian, who was a senior vice president of the New York advertising agency Romann & Tannenholz. Chris Bohjalian graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College, where he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. In the mid-1980s, he worked as an account representative for J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in New York.

He and his wife lived in a co-op in Brooklyn until March 1986, when the two were riding in a taxicab in which the driver refused to let them out of the car for 45 minutes, ignoring all traffic lights and stop signs. Around midnight, the driver dropped them off at a near-deserted street in front of a crack house, where the police were conducting a raid and Bohjalian and his wife were forced to drop to the ground for their protection. The incident prompted the couple to move from Brooklyn; Bohjalian said, "After it was all over, we just thought, "Why do we live here?" A few days later, the couple read an ad in The New York Times referencing the "People's Republic of Vermont," and in 1987 the couple moved to Lincoln, Vermont.

Early career
After buying their house, Bohjalian began writing weekly columns for local newspaper and magazine about living in the small town, which had a population of about 975 residents. The Concord Monitor said of Bohjalian during this period, "his immersion in community life and family, Vermont-style, has allowed him to develop into a novelist with an ear and empathy for the common man." Bohjalian continued the column for about 12 years, writing about such topics as his own daily life, fatherhood and the transformation of America. The column has run in the Burlington Free Press since 1992. Bohjalian has also written for such magazines as Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest and the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine.

Bohjalian's first novel, A Killing in the Real World, was released in 1988. Almost two decades after it was released, Bohjalian said of the book, "It was a train wreck. I hadn't figured things out yet." His third novel, Past the Bleachers, was released in 1992 and adapted as a Hallmark Channel television movie in 1995.

In 1998, Bohjalian wrote his fifth book, Midwives, a novel focusing on rural Vermont midwife Sibyl Danforth, who becomes embroiled in a legal battle after one of her patients died following an emergency Caesarean section.

The novel was critically acclaimed and was selected by Oprah Winfrey as the October 1998 selection of her Oprah's Book Club, which helped push the book to great financial success. It became a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. Victoria Blewer has often described her husband as having "a crush" on the Sybil Danforth character. In 2001, the novel was adapted into a Lifetime Movie Network television film starring Sissy Spacek in the lead role. Spacek said the Danforth character appealed to her because "the heart of the story is my character's inner struggle with self-doubt, the solo road you travel when you have a secret."

Later career
Bohjalian followed Midwives with the 1999 novel The Law of Similars, about a widower attorney suffering from nameless anxieties who starts dating a woman who practices alternative medicine. The novel was inspired by Bohjalian's real-life visit to a homeopath in an attempt to cure frequent colds he was catching from his daughter's day care center. Bohjalian said of the visit, "I don't think I imagined there was a novel in homeopathy, however, until I met the homeopath and she explained to me the protocols of healing. There was a poetry to the language that a patient doesn't hear when visiting a conventional doctor."

The protagonist, a father, is based in part on Bohjalian himself, and his four-year-old daughter is based largely on Bohjalian's daughter, who was three when he was writing the book., Liz Rosenberg of The New York Times said the novel shared many similarities with Midwives but that it paled in comparison; Rosenberg said, "Unlike its predecessor, it fails to take advantage of Bohjalian's great gift for creating thoughtful fiction featuring characters in whom the reader sustains a lively interest." Megan Harlan of The Boston Phoenix described it as "formulaic fiction" and said Bohjalian focused too much on creating a complex plot and not enough of complex characterizations. The Law of Similars, like Midwives, made the New York Times bestsellers list.

He won the New England Book Award in 2002, and in 2007 released "The Double Bind," a novel based on Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

In 2008, Bohjalian released Skeletons at the Feast, a love story set in the last six months of World War II in Poland and Germany. The novel was inspired by an unpublished diary written by German citizen Eva Henatsch from 1920 to 1945. The diary was given to Bohjalian in 1998 by Henatsch's grandson Gerd Krahn, a friend of Bohjalian, who had a daughter in the same kindergarten class as Bohjalian's daughter. Bohjalian was particularly fascinated by Henatsch's account of her family's trek west ahead of the Soviet Army, but he was not inspired to write a novel from it until 2006, when he read Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, Max Hastings' history of the final years of World War II. Bohjalian was struck not only by how often Henatsch's story mirrored real-life experiences, but also the common "moments of idiosyncratic human connection" found in both. Skeletons of the Feast was considered a departure for Bohjalian because it was not only set outside of Vermont, but set in a particular historical moment.

His 2010 novel, Secrets of Eden, was also a critical success, receiving starred reviews from three of the four trade journals (Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly), as well as many newspapers and magazines. It debuted at # 6 on The New York Times bestseller list.

His next novel, The Night Strangers, published in 2011, represents yet another departure for Bohjalian. The is both a gothic ghost story and a taut psychological thriller.

He has written a weekly column for Gannett's Burlington Free Press since February 1992 called "Idyll Banter." His 1,000th column appeared in May 2011.

Personal comments
In a 2003 Barnes & Noble interview, Bohjalian offered up these personal comments:

I was the heaviest child, by far, in my second-grade class. My mother had to buy my pants for me at a store called the "Husky Boys Shop," and still she had to hem the cuffs up around my knees. I hope this experience, traumatizing as it was, made me at least marginally more sensitive to people around me.

I have a friend with Down syndrome, a teenage boy who is capable of remembering the librettos from entire musicals the first or second time he hears them. The two of us belt them out together whenever we're driving anywhere in a car.I am a pretty avid bicyclist. The other day I was biking alone on a thin path in the woods near Franconia Notch, New Hampshire, and suddenly before me I saw three bears. At first I saw only two, and initially I thought they were cats.

Then I thought they were dogs. Finally, just as I was approaching them and they started to scurry off the path and into the thick brush, I understood they were bears. Bear cubs, to be precise. Which is exactly when their mother, no more than five or six feet to my left, reared up on her hind legs, her very furry paws and very sharp claws raised above her head in a gesture that an optimist might consider a wave and guy on a bike might consider something a tad more threatening. Because she was standing on a slight incline, I was eye level with her stomach—an eventual destination that seemed frighteningly plausible. I have never biked so fast in my life in the woods. I may never have biked so fast in my life on a paved road.


I do have hobbies—I garden and bike, for example—but there's nothing in the world that gives me even a fraction of the pleasure that I derive from hanging around with my wife and daughter.

He lives with his wife and daughter in Lincoln, Vermont, where he is active in the local church and the Vermont theater community—always off-stage, never on.

Writing style
Bohjalian novels often focus on a specific issue, such as homelessness, animal rights and environmentalism, and tend to be character-driven, revolving around complex and flawed protagonists and secondary characters.

Bohjalian uses characteristics from his real life in his writings; in particular, many of his novels take place in fictional Vermont towns, and the names of real New Hampshire towns are often used throughout his stories. Bohjalian said, "Writers can talk with agonizing hubris about finding their voices, but for me, it was in Vermont that I discovered issues, things that matter to me."

His novels also tend to center around ordinary people facing extraordinarily difficult situations resulting from unforeseen circumstances, often triggered by other parties. (From Wikipedia.)



Book Reviews
Bohjalian delivers on the high bar he has set for himself. Readers will cheer on Cassie, staying up too late to piece together what happened, and enjoy the quirky, interesting facts he’s woven into the narrative. Did you know death by misadventure is what coroners write on death certificates “when people died doing something monumentally stupid”? Well, now you do, thanks to Chris Bohjalian.  READ MORE …
Abby Fabiaschi, AUTHOR - LitLovers


Filled with turbulence and sudden plunges in altitude, The Flight Attendant is a very rare thriller whose penultimate chapter made me think to myself, "I didn’t see that coming." The novel—Bohjalian’s 20th— is also enhanced by his deftness in sketching out vivid characters and locales and by his obvious research into the realities of airline work.
Maureen Corrigan - Washington Post


Bohjalian twists the tension tight and keeps the surprises startling.
Tom Nolan - Wall Street Journal


An expertly turned thriller… An assured novel about reckoning not just with some ruthless bad guys, but private sadness as well… [Bohjalian]’s developed a graceful hand at thriller mechanics, smoothly shifting from Cassie’s private paranoia to the intricacies of spycraft and mercenaries to the public tabloid sensation she’s become. He’s back-loaded the story with twists, from ones that were hinted at early to left-field surprises. And the brisk and busy ending is a fireworks show of redemption, revelation and old-fashioned gunplay.
Mark Athitakis - USA Today


The author provides enough twists for a roller coaster fan... The beauty of the book is that, along with the politics of the plot, Cassie’s humanity comes through...the last 100 pages turn tense as you try to follow the unexpected but believable surprises Bohjalian has in store and answers whether Cassie can find salvation.
Amanda St. Amand - St. Louis Post-Dispatch


The stakes couldn't be higher (literally)as Cassandra pieces together a mystery while working 40,000 feet above ground in Chris Bohjalian's gripping The Flight Attendant. Read it before Kaley Cuoco stars in the upcoming series!
Cosmopolitan


[A] killer set-up, and Bohjalian initially maximizes the dual plot lines.… Bohjalian’s less successful in avoiding cliches or in making an espionage subplot plausible.… [F]ans will still have fun.
Publishers Weekly


(Starred review) Caught in a downward spiral, [Cassie] must brace for impact. After so many lies and devastating choices, she's almost given up on being a good person. Will she get a chance at redemption, or will her fate be decided by the murder in Dubai?  —K.L. Romo, Duncanville, TX
Library Journal


(Starred review) Bohjalian is an unfaltering storyteller who crosses genres with fluidity, from historical fiction to literary thrillers…a read-in-one-sitting escapade that is as intellectually satisfying as it is emotionally entertaining.
Booklist


As Cassie's addiction becomes the primary focus, the intricate plotting required of an international thriller lags.The moral overcomes the mystery in this sobering cautionary tale.
Kirkus Reviews



Discussion Questions

1. What traits do Cassie and Elena (“Miranda”) have in common, and what are their fundamental differences? Though they were raised worlds apart, how did their parents teach them to conceal their true selves? To what extent do both women manage to deceive themselves as well?

2. How did your opinion of Alex Sokolov shift as his life story unfolded? At first, what did you think was the motive behind his murder?

3. How is Cassie’s dependence on alcohol linked to her dependence on lying? What is at the root of her cycle of intoxicated euphoria followed by self-loathing?

4. What accounts for the very different paths Cassie and her younger sister, Rosemary, take in life? How does their relationship compare to the one between you and your siblings?

5. What does The Flight Attendant say about the distinction between bad decisions and destiny? To what degree are Cassie and Elena in control of their misdirected choices?

6. Discuss the men in Cassie’s life. What keeps her from experiencing real intimacy? What’s different about Enrico?

7. In this novel, what did you learn about the cyber world and the real world after the fall of the Soviet Union? Does technology give you hope or make you worry?

8. When Cassie compulsively pilfers items while traveling and then wraps them up as gifts, is she simply trying to live on a limited budget, or does it say something deeper about her relationship to possessions and the images she wanted her loved ones to have of her?

9. As the flight attendants in the novel work a variety of international routes, what do their experiences prove about the common threads that exist in all of humanity, no matter where we are?

10. What does it take for Cassie to own up to her missteps? Before she met Alex, had she ever harmed anyone but herself?

11. As you read the FBI reports, what did you discover about information and power? Would you have followed the advice of attorney Ani Mouradian, telling the truth to the FBI?

12. Are the novel’s characters either cold-blooded or compassionate, or are they some combination of each? Were you good at predicting which characters were the bad guys?

13. Even though she has logged thousands of miles in her career, Cassie still marvels at the miracle of flight when she sees a plane passing overhead. How did the novel enhance your appreciation for air travel and flight crews? What elements of the job surprised you the most? If you were in Cassie’s line of work, which routes would you bid on most often?

14. In the novel and in your own experience, what does it ultimately take to become the person you always wanted to be?

15. What are the hallmarks of this author’s storytelling? How was your experience of The Flight Attendant enhanced by the Bohjalian novels you’ve previously read?

(Questions issued by publishers.)

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Happy People Read and Drink Coffee 
Agnes Martin-Lugand, 2014 (trans., Sandra Smith, 2016)
Hachette Book Group
256 pp.
ISBN-13:
9781602863163


Summary
The international phenomenon described as Under the Tuscan Sun set in Ireland, about a recent widow who moves to the Irish coast and begins a tumultuous but ultimately healing relationship with her neighbor, a brooding Irish photographer. Also out now: the bestselling sequel, Don't Worry, Life is Easy.

Diane seems to have the perfect life. She is a wife, mother, and the owner of Happy People Read and Drink Coffee, a cozy literary café in Paris. But when she suddenly loses her husband and daughter in a car accident, the world as she knows it disappears.

One year later, Diane moves to a small town on the Irish coast, determined to heal by rebuilding her life alone-until she meets Edward, a handsome and moody photographer, and falls into a surprising and tumultuous romance.
But will it last when Diane leaves Ireland for good? At once heartbreaking and uplifting, Diane's story is deeply felt, reminding us that love remembered is love enduring. (From the publisher.)



Author Bio
After six years as a clinical psychologist, Agnes Martin-Lugand now devotes herself to writing full-time. She is also the author of Happiness Slips Through My Fingers and the sequel to Happy People Read and Drink Coffee (2014) — Don't Worry, Life Is Easy (2015). (From the publisher.)



Book Reviews
Agnes Martin-Lugand has…the gift of making us love a charming yet flawed heroine.
Elle (France)


A heartbreaking story of love and loss that will twist readers up in knots.… Essential for any foreign literature or women's fiction collection.
Library Journal


Think of every cliched rom-com starring a beautiful woman who falls in love with a brooding man, and you can predict which beat will be hit next in the endlessly derivative Happy People Read And Drink Coffee.
Aux/AV


Martin-Lugand's sparse but emotionally forceful style, aided by Smith's translation from the original French, catches the sweeter moments between two people embittered by loss.
Kirkus



Discussion Questions
The below questions were graciously submitted to LitLovers by Shelley Holley, M.L.S of the Southington (Conn.) Library. Thank you, Shelley!

1. What did you think of the book?

2. Did you think the title was misleading?

3. What do you think of Diane and Felix’s relationship, do you think he does too much for her?

4. Are Diane’s parents realistic about wanting her to return their home?

5. Was Diane’s decision to go to Ireland a good idea?

6. What do you think about Jack and Abby relationship with Edward?

7. How did you like the way the author described Mulranny, did it make you want to visit?

8. Do you think Diane’s feelings for Edward are real or just a way to get over her loss?

9. Is Diane’s return to Paris smart or should she have stayed in Ireland?

10. Do you think she can be happy again back in Paris?

(Questions by Shelley Holley, M.L.S. at the Southington, Conn., Library. Please feel free to use them, online and off, with attribution to both Shelley and LitLovers. Thanks.)

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Enchantress of Numbers:  A Novel of Ada Lovelace
Jennifer Chiaverini, 2017
Penguin Publishing
448 pp.
ISBN-13:
9781101985205


Summary
The fascinating life of the world’s first computer programmer Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace—a woman whose exceptional contributions to science and technology have gone unsung for too long.
 
The only legitimate child of Lord Byron, the most brilliant, revered, and scandalous of the Romantic poets, Ada was destined for fame long before her birth.

Estranged from Ada’s father, who was infamously "mad, bad, and dangerous to know," Ada’s mathematician mother is determined to save her only child from her perilous Byron heritage.

Banishing fairy tales and make-believe from the nursery, Ada’s mother provides her daughter with a rigorous education grounded in mathematics and science. Any troubling spark of imagination — or worse yet, passion or poetry — is promptly extinguished. Or so her mother believes.
 
When Ada is introduced into London society as a highly eligible young heiress, she at last discovers the intellectual and social circles she has craved all her life. Little does she realize that her delightful new friendship with inventor Charles Babbage — brilliant, charming, and occasionally curmudgeonly — will shape her destiny.

Intrigued by the prototype of his first calculating machine, the Difference Engine, and enthralled by the plans for his even more advanced Analytical Engine, Ada resolves to help Babbage realize his extraordinary vision, unique in her understanding of how his invention could transform the world.

All the while, she passionately studies mathematics — ignoring skeptics who consider it an unusual, even unhealthy pursuit for a woman — falls in love, discovers the shocking secrets behind her parents’ estrangement, and comes to terms with the unquenchable fire of her imagination.
 
In Enchantress of Numbers, New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini unveils the passions, dreams, and insatiable thirst for knowledge of a largely unheralded pioneer in computing — a young woman who stepped out of her father’s shadow to achieve her own laurels and champion the new technology that would shape the future. (From the publisher.)



Author Bio
Birth—1969
Raised—Ohio, Michigan, and Southern California (USA)
Education—B.A., University of Notre Dame; University of Chicago
Currently—lives in Madison, Wisconsin


Jennifer Chiaverini is an American quilter and author. She is best known for writing the Elm Creek Quilts novels. In 2013, in a departure from her quilting novels, she published Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.

Growing up one of three children, Chiaverini lived in Ohio, Michigan and Southern California. She loved to read all genres, but ultimately fell in love with historical fiction. "My parents indulged my storytelling. I’ve wanted to write since I was young." The desire to quilt came later.

A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she is also a former writing instructor at Penn State and Edgewood College. She lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin.

In addition to the seventeen volumes of the Elm Creek Quilts series, she is the author of four volumes of quilt patterns inspired by her novels, as well as the designer of the Elm Creek Quilts fabric lines from Red Rooster Fabrics. (From Wikipedia.)



Book Reviews
Cherished Reader, Should you come upon Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini…consider yourself quite fortunate indeed…Chiaverini makes a convincing case that Ada Byron King is a woman worth celebrating.
USA Today


[A] fascinating homage.
Real Simple


While Lovelace may not have received the credit she was due in her own time-period, Chiaverini’s novel stands as a fitting ode to one of the greatest women in the history of science.
Harper's Bazaar


Chiaverini writes captivating stories of forgotten women in history, including that of the young math and science genius Ada Lovelace, responsible for writing the world’s first-ever computer code.… Chiaverini brings [Ada Lovelace] to life around you.
Bustle


Ada finally achieves her goals, going on to develop … the first computer, though it took the world nearly a century to recognize her achievements. Verdict: After a slow start, Chiaverini deftly draws a compelling study of a complicated woman. —Cynthia Johnson, formerly with Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, MA
Library Journal


[An] exquisite biographical novel.… [A] quintessential example of the form.… Wholeheartedly recommended for historical-fiction fans and STEM enthusiasts.
Booklist


[An] emotionally neglected child became a…profoundly talented and imaginative mathematician. [The] novel … charts Ada’s discovery of her own talents…. A compelling yet heartbreaking homage to the mother of computer science.
Kirkus Reviews



Discussion Questions
1. How do you think the loneliness and isolation of Ada’s childhood and her mother’s jealousy of the nurses Ada loves affect her as she grows into adolescence?

2. What is it about flight that captivates Ada’s imagination? The scientific aspects of Flyology fascinate her, of course, but what else could Ada’s desire to create wings for herself represent?

3. How does her status as the daughter of the renowned poet Lord Byron shape Ada’s life? What is it like growing up in the shadow of his brilliance and infamy? What similarities and differences do you see between Ada’s experiences and those of the children of celebrities today?

4.  Why do you think Ada’s mother was so fearful of Ada’s imagination and "the influence of [her] bad Byron blood?" Why does she forbid her daughter to indulge in fairy tales, poetry, and make-believe play, even though she herself writes poetry?

5. The first time Ada visits Babbage’s home, she is introduced to his dancing automaton, which arrests her attention. She draws closer to it, "longing to trace the lines of the dancer’s face with my fingertip. Even her eyes seemed alive, full of mischief and imagination." Why was she so fascinated by the Silver Lady?

6. After an argument with her mother, Ada muses, "I realized that the only way I could escape her control any sooner would be to marry." What are Ada’s expectations for marriage? Are they fulfilled? Does she enjoy more independence or less as a married woman, or are her circumstances essentially unchanged?

7. Ada mentions that Mrs. Somerville, though very accomplished in science and mathematics, was barred from the Royal Society because she was a woman. How is Ada affected by this? Does she feel the loss of this exclusion? Why or why not?

8. Why do you think Ada was so enthralled by Babbage’s inventions, both the Difference Engine and the Analytical Engine? How does Ada’s poetic and imaginative mind help her understand their potential even more so than Babbage himself?

9. At various periods throughout her life, friends and family worry that Ada is dangerously obsessed with mathematics and science, often describing her pursuit of knowledge as a "mania." Ada fiercely rejects this label. Do you agree with Ada, or do you think her friends and family had some cause for concern? Why or why not?

10. Compare and contrast Ada and Lord King’s courtship to her mother and Lord Byron’s and their early years of marriage.

11. Ada’s love for her mother wavers between reverence and resentment. How does this affect Ada’s own childrearing?

12. All her life, Ada has been told that her foremost duty is to marry and produce an heir. Why is this not enough for her? Why is she driven to create a "Great Work" of mathematics or science as her legacy? 
(Questions issued by the publisher.)

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The Light Keeper's Daughter 
Jean E. Pendziwol, 2017
HarperCollins
320 pp.
ISBN-13:
9780062572028


Summary
Though her mind is still sharp, Elizabeth's eyes have failed.

No longer able to linger over her beloved books or gaze at the paintings that move her spirit, she fills the void with music and memories of her family—a past that suddenly becomes all too present when her late father's journals are found amid the ruins of an old shipwreck.

With the help of Morgan, a delinquent teenage performing community service, Elizabeth goes through the diaries, a journey through time that brings the two women closer together.

Entry by entry, these unlikely friends are drawn deep into a world far removed from their own — to Porphyry Island on Lake Superior, where Elizabeth’s father manned the lighthouse seventy years before.

As the words on these musty pages come alive, Elizabeth and Morgan begin to realize that their fates are connected to the isolated island in ways they never dreamed. While the discovery of Morgan's connection sheds light onto her own family mysteries, the faded pages of the journals hold more questions than answers for Elizabeth, and threaten the very core of who she is. (From the publisher.)



Author Bio
Birth—1965
Where—Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Education—N/A
Awards— Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award
Currently—lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario


Jean E. Pendziwol was born in Thunder Bay on Lake Superior, in northwestern Ontario, Canada. She spent much of her childhood aboard her family’s sailboat, exploring the islands and bays of the inland sea. After working as a freelance writer and photographer, she spent several years focusing on raising her three children before publishing her first children’s book. She lives in Ontario, in the shadow of the Nor’Wester Mountains, with her husband, two of her three grown children, a loveable mutt, and three temperamental chickens, who sometimes lay eggs (From the publisher.)



Book Reviews
Morgan Fletcher is performing community service at the senior center, penance for tagging it with graffiti art. She’s matched up with Elizabeth Livingstone, an elderly woman whose mind is still sharp, even though her eyesight has failed her. Elizabeth has just been sent some journals belonging to her late father, but she needs Morgan’s help to read them. As Elizabeth uncovers details from her past with each page, Morgan becomes more determined to solve the mysteries in her own life.
New York Post


A remarkable achievement.… [A] story of commitment, identity, and familial loyalty that will leave one in tears. Five out of five stars.
New York Journal of Books


Seamlessly weaves between past and present.… I loved this story! From the characters to the setting, each aspect is perfect. The Light Keeper's Daughters is one of the best books that I’ve read this year.… [B]eautifully written.
Fresh Fiction


YA author Pendziwol pins her first story for adults to the "fortunes of chance."… This is a perfect hammock read for those who love the Brontë sisters and Jodi Picoult in equal measure.
Publishers Weekly


This atmospheric novel tells an intricate story about familial love and deception. While the story at the novel's core may lean toward the melodramatic, readers will be drawn in by the intergenerational relationship. —Mara Dabrishus, Ursuline Coll. Lib., Pepper Pike, OH
Library Journal


Deeply satisfying.… With strong characters and rich in historical details, The Lightkeeper’s Daughters looks carefully at love and identity and the things we do to keep them both safe.
Booklist


Pendziwol has created an intricately satisfying story about love and deception that manages to be both melancholy and exhilarating. A haunting tale of nostalgia and lost chances that is full of last-minute surprises.
Kirkus Reviews



Discussion Questions
The following questions were generously provided to LitLovers by Linda of Anaheim Page Turners. Thank you, Linda!

1. What is the setting for this novel? Did you think the author portrayed the setting and the experiences of a lighthouse keeper well?

2. We first are introduced to Morgan. Describe her. What are her problems at the beginning of the story?

3. What takes Morgan to the care facility? What is she supposed to do there?

4. What attracts Elizabeth to Morgan so that she would reveal her background to a stranger?

5. How does Morgan move the story of the Livingston sisters forward and help reveal their secrets?

6. Describe the Livingston family: Elizabeth, Emily, Lil, Andrew, Peter, and Charlie.

7. Greyson and David Fletcher worked at the lighthouse at different times. How are they related to the Livingston family experiences?

8. Who were Alfred and Millie? How did they save Elizabeth and Emily? How did they enrich their lives?

9. Who said, "You should have let her die. Emily will never be right"? How did you interpret that statement? Does that statement help you understand her actions that occur later in the story?

10. Elizabeth called the year of 1942 the Year of 3 Deaths. Whose deaths was she referring to?

11. Elizabeth said, "Have I created a truth? One I can live with? Have I relived the moment so many times that my fiction is now my truth — the truth I want it to be?" What was she referring to? Have you ever repeated past events in your mind so many times, you are no longer sure what is really true and what you have convinced yourself is true?

12. How did Elizabeth learn she was not related to Lil or Pa or Emily?

13. What happened to Emily after the fire which burned the lighthouse and killed Lil?

14. Who arranged the release of Emily? How did this change her life?

15. Who was Elizabeth really?

16. Who hid Andrew’s logbooks? And how were they found?

17. Emily was raped and became pregnant by whom? What was his motivation? How did Arnie Richardson pay for his practical joke in the Indian graveyard?

18. What did Emily name her baby? Who took the baby away? What name was she then given? What was her fate?

19. How is Morgan related to the Livingstone family? How does she bring the family full circle? Was David Fletcher actually her grandfather?

20. The wolf mentioned throughout the novel is a symbol of what?

20. What theme or message did you take away from this story?

21. Did you enjoy the story? Why or why not?   

(Questions submitted to LitLovers by Linda of Anaheim Page Turners. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution.)

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