Book Club Ideas
In the summer of 1938, Layla Beck’s father, a United States senator, cuts off her allowance and demands that she find employment on the Federal Writers’ Project, a New Deal jobs program. Within days, Layla finds herself far from her accustomed social whirl, assigned to cover the history of the remote mill town of Macedonia, West Virginia, and destined, in her opinion, to go completely mad with boredom. But once she secures a room in the home of the unconventional Romeyn family, she is drawn into their complex world and soon discovers that the truth of the town is entangled in the thorny past of the Romeyn dynasty.
In 1918, after serving in WWI, Tom Sherbourne welcomes his quiet job as lighthouse keeper on Australia’s remote Janus Rock, as does his loving new wife. But three years later, a childless Isabel is bereft after suffering her third miscarriage. Tending the new grave, Isabel hears the cry of a baby; a boat has washed ashore with a dead man—and a living infant….
Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?
Meet Mazie Phillips: big-hearted and bawdy, she’s the truth-telling proprietress of The Venice, the famed New York City movie theater. It’s the Jazz Age, with romance and booze aplenty–even when Prohibition kicks in–and Mazie never turns down a night on the town. But her high spirits mask a childhood rooted in poverty, and her diary, always close at hand, holds her dearest secrets.
Our heroine, Elizabeth, has been trained in the deadly arts by Chinese Master Liu. Our hero, Mr. Darcy, also trained in the deadly arts, has “studied solely in Japan. The setting is Hertfordshire England and, the countryside is overrun by the zombie menace!
That Old Cape Magic is a story about a man’s journey to lay his father, and then his mother, to rest while reflecting on his upbringing. His fondest memories include that one month of happiness his family would have when they crossed the Sagamore Bridge into Cape Cod. To commemorate the event, they would sing That Old Black Magic, substituting Cape for Black.
Joy, Griffin’s separated wife, sums up the story well when she says “out of sight isn’t out of mind. You think you don’t let your mother into your life-into our lives-but you blame her when a bird craps on you.”