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A Family Affair

A Family Affair

  • reading group guide
Award-winning author ReShonda Tate Billingsley, whose bestselling fiction “tackles some of life’s toughest situations” (The Florida Times-Union), unravels the secrets in a mother’s past that turn her daughter’s life upside down—by revealing the family she never knew existed.

Her dream of studying dance at Juilliard is within reach, but Olivia Dawson turns down the opportunity, choosing instead to stay with her ailing mother in the Houston projects where they barely make ends meet. Lorraine Dawson is Olivia’s whole world, and now Olivia insists on being there for her. But when Lorraine learns Olivia is sacrificing college for her sake, her heartache triggers a series of shattering events that results in Olivia discovering her father, a man she was told had died years ago. But he is alive and well—and he’s the powerful CEO of one of the country’s richest corporations.

With her best friend urging her to claim a much-deserved chunk of Bernard Wells’s fortune, Olivia seeks out his Los Angeles mansion. But it’s not money she wants—it’s answers: Why did he abandon Lorraine when Olivia was three years old? Why did they suffer in poverty while he gave his “real” wife and son a life of luxury? Opening up the past, however, is more complicated than Olivia—or Bernard—expected, and the pain of yesterday’s sins must be confronted before true healing and a bright tomorrow can begin.
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  • Pocket Books | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451639711 | 
  • July 2013
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for A Family Affair includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

When Olivia Dawson’s mother confesses on her deathbed that Olivia’s father is the rich business owner Bernard Wells, Olivia and her best friend Mona head to Los Angeles to get some questions answered. When Olivia arrives, she finds a father who wants to keep her quiet, a brother she has vague and loving memories of, and the woman who banished her and her mother from Bernard’s house years ago and who has spent her life denying Olivia’s existence. Secrets can bind families together, or they can rip families apart. As startling revelations come to light, the patchwork family must learn to redefine love and to understand how lucky they can be.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Olivia’s mother kept the existence of her father a secret. Do you agree with what she did? By the end of the story, do you think the secret Olivia’s mother kept was for Olivia, her father, or herself?

2. Is it ever okay to keep a secret from a family member or a friend in order to protect them? Has a family member or frie see more

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About the Author

ReShonda Tate Billingsley
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ReShonda Tate Billingsley

ReShonda Tate Billingsley is the #1 national bestselling author of numerous novels for adults, as well as the Good Girlz teen series. She recently won the NAACP Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Say Amen Again. She is also the author of the nonfiction book The Motherhood Diaries. Visit her website at ReShondaTateBillingsley.com.

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