The Last Tuesday Book Club: Stolen Memories

Welcome to the second edition of the Last Tuesday Book Club. Last month we read The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro and there were some interesting points made during the discussion. My plan is to read a book every month and to discuss it on the last Tuesday blog post of the month. I hope more people join us in the coming months!

This month’s selection for our Last Tuesday Book Club was Stolen Memories by Mary Miley. Mary is also the author of the Roaring Twenties mysteries, as well as a large number of non-fiction books. Stolen Memories is a work of Gothic fiction and I found it to be an exciting page-turner. Here’s a synopsis:

It’s 1928. A young English woman in Paris is attacked and thrown into the Seine, where she is left for dead. Thanks to the quick thinking of two sailors nearby, she is rescued and taken to a hospital. When she awakens, she is alarmed to discover that she has lost her memory. She doesn’t remember marrying the man standing over her with angry, flashing eyes, and she doesn’t remember why she was in Paris. The man is demanding that she reveal to him where she has hidden a number of paintings, and she has no idea what he’s talking about. As the woman slowly regains some of her disjointed memories, she is disturbed to find that she still doesn’t remember anything about her marriage, her home, the paintings, or her family.

I loved the book. Gothic fiction is my favorite genre to read and this did not disappoint. There is a French chateau, a woman who has lost her memory, a mysterious man of wealth and a dubious past, missing artwork, and an attempted murder. It has all the ingredients of a dark mystery.

There are a number of discussion questions at the end of the book, and I have opted to choose a few of them and supplement them with my own questions. Please feel free to join the discussion in the comments below and ask any questions you  may have.

  • When does Eva/Claire begin to question her identity? Why does she initially explain away her doubts?
  • Dr. Thomas J. Barnardo was a real person who died in the 1950s. Was he correct, that heredity counted for very little and environment was everything? Would Eva have become Claire and Claire, Eva, if they had been adopted by the other’s parents?
  • Clearly, both heredity and environment (nature and nurture) play a role in every person’s development, but how would you rank the importance of each?
  • Did you recognize any of the other characters in the book, besides Dr. Barnardo, as being “real people?”
  • Why do you suppose Alex wanted the paintings back? Was it pride, financial need/want, determination, or something else? Was it a combination of things?
  • What did you think about Lianne’s role in bringing Eva/Claire to Luca? Do you think it was romantic imagination on Lianne’s part, or did she suspect that Luca meant Eva/Claire harm?
  • How do you feel about Alex’s sister Danielle? Do you like her? Dislike her? What do you think about her motives in visiting the chateau?
  • Why do you suppose Madame Denon and Cousin Pauline were in the book?

I reviewed Stolen Memories, giving it 5 stars. I hope you enjoyed reading and discussing the book. If you have any suggestions for a June book club selection, I’d love to hear them in the comments below. In the meantime, the selection for May is What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman. I’ve read The Plum Tree by Ms. Wiseman and she is an incredibly skilled writer.

Until next time,

Amy

Shaking Things Up

I’ve been on vacation.

It was a much-needed, relaxing, and warm vacation in Hawaii and now I’m back home in New Jersey, freezing, sore from shoveling, and dealing with jet lag. But I’m not complaining–if that’s what it takes to go on vacation, sign me up.

So that’s why I haven’t posted in a few weeks, except for the #WATWB on the last Friday of 2017. But now I’m back with new energy and a couple new ideas for Reade and Write.

I would like to start an online book club. My idea is to host a book discussion on the last Tuesday of each month.

It wouldn’t start until March because I have the last Tuesdays booked up until then. But I figure that would just give us more time to read our first book. I’ll choose the first book and the second book, then take suggestions for the books after that. My plan is to ask readers to make book suggestions in the comments on the last Tuesday of the month, then I’ll pick a title out of a hat and schedule that book for two months later.

How does that sound to you? Would you be interested in participating?

Another idea I have is to make the first Tuesday of each month a day to share new recipes with readers. I figure this is a sneaky way to force me to put more new meals into my family’s monthly rotation. And I would love to share recipes that readers have tried, too. If you try a new recipe that’s a keeper (or if you have an old favorite that’s new to us!), email the recipe or the link to me at amymreadeauthor@gmail.com and I’ll print it in the first Tuesday’s post.

That leaves two, and sometimes three, posts in the middle of the month during which I’ll still showcase author interviews, book recommendations, and other posts. My goal is to inject some predictability into my weekly posting.

Do you have other ideas you’d like to see on Reade and Write? Please let me know in the comments below.

Here’s my pick for The Last Tuesday Book Club in March: The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro. It was written in 2013, so it should be available in most libraries.

Until next time,

Amy