More Than Words (Santopolo)

More Than Words 
Jill Santopolo, 2019
Penguin Publishing
352 pp.

A tender and moving new novel about a woman at a crossroads after the death of her father, and caught between the love of two men—from the bestselling author of The Light We Lost.

Nina has always known who she's supposed to be. But is that who she truly is?

Nina Gregory has always been a good daughter. Raised by her father, owner of New York City's glamorous Gregory Hotels, Nina was taught that family, reputation, and legacy are what matter most.

And Tim--her devoted boyfriend and best friend since childhood--feels the same. But when Nina's father dies, he leaves behind a secret that shocks Nina to her core.

As her world falls apart, Nina begins to see the men in her life—her father, her boyfriend, and unexpectedly, her boss, Rafael--in a new light. Soon Nina finds herself caught between the world she loves, and a passion that could upend everything.

More Than Words is a heartbreaking and romantic novel about grief, loss, love, and self-discovery, and how we choose which life we are meant to live. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—ca. 1981
Raised—Hewlett, New York, USA
Education—B.A., Columbia University; M.F.A., Vermont College of Fine Ats
Currently—lives in New York, New York

Jill Santopolo is the author of children's and young-adult books, as well as adult novels, including The Light We Lost (2017) and More Than Words (2019). She grew up in Hewlett New York, on the South Shore of Long Island.

Santopolo received a BA in English literature from Columbia University and an MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. In addition to her work as the editorial director of Philomel Books (an imprint of Penguin Young Readers group), she is an adjunct professor in The New School’s MFA program. Santopolo lives in New York City and travels the world to speak about writing and storytelling. (Adapted from the publisher.)

Book Reviews
A smart, sexy, delicious novel.

Another gorgeously heart-breaking and romantic read.… This one is certainly going to sweep you up in feelings.

[An] emotional, romantic story.
AARP Magazine

If you and your book-loving friends are fans of Reese Witherspoon’s book club, this book needs to be your next club pick.

[A] heartfelt story about life, love, and taking chances in the aftermath of loss.… This is a charming and sexy crowd-pleaser.
Publishers Weekly

(Starred review) [A] a fascinating look into the lives of New York City's superwealthy and political elite.…This breezy read is full of drama and romance, but at its core is a story of family and self-identity that will please women's fiction fans. —Kristen Calvert, Dallas P.L., TX
Library Journal

The latest from bestselling author Santopolo is a bittersweet and reflective novel of grief, loss, and coming into one’s own.

[P]ropulsive and compelling. The depiction of Nina's grief for her father is vividly raw, made more real by her eventual understanding that he was an imperfect human being. Full of drama, scandal, and romance, [More Than Words] is sure to delight fans
Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Questions
1. Nina and Tim have been best friends from childhood. Do you have a friend you’ve known your entire life? Has your relationship with him or her changed over time? How do you think this background affects a romantic relationship?

2. Is Nina’s father, Joseph Gregory, a good father? Why or why not? How does he shape Nina?

3. How is marriage portrayed in the novel? What did you think of Nina’s perception of her parents’ marriage? How does her perception change after her father’s death?

4. Why does Nina agree to marry Tim? How does she feel about her decision? Why do you think she agrees despite her doubts?

5. After Joseph’s death, Nina feels like "she’d walked into a movie about herself, where… the main character was left rudderless" (p. 198). Have you ever lost someone you loved? Did you relate to Nina’s experience? Why or why not?

6. Were you surprised by Joseph’s secret? Why or why not? How does this revelation affect Nina?

7. On p. 51, Rafael tells Nina he thinks of people like poems, that someone can be "haiku, or a villanelle, or a cinquain sonnet." What does he mean? What type of poem do you think you’d be?

8. Why do you think Nina and Tim grow apart? Do you think this is a common feeling? Have you ever been surprised by a new direction in your own life?

9. Are you Team Tim or Team Rafael? Why?

10. Why do you think Nina decides to change her entire wardrobe when she goes shopping with Pris (p. 244)? What does Nina’s new look mean to her? Why do you think it took her so long to find a style she loves? What do you think your personal style says about you? Have you ever made a surprising fashion decision?

11. Nina must choose between the life she’s always envisioned and a life that excites her. Why does she make the choice she does? Do you think it’s the right choice? Would you have made a different one?
(Questions issued by the publisher.)

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