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Everyone She Loved

Everyone She Loved

A Novel

  • reading group guide

A wise and triumphant novel about four women who've come of age together only to discover that -- when it comes to the essentials -- life's little instruction book will always need revising.

Penelope Cameron, loving mother, devoted wife and generous philanthropist, has convinced her husband and four closest friends to sign an outlandish pact. If Penelope should die before her two daughters are eighteen, her husband will not remarry without the permission of Penelope's sister and three college roommates. For years, this contract gathers dust until the unthinkable happens. Suddenly, everyone she loved must find their way in a world without Penelope.

For Lucy Vargas, Penelope's best friend, and a second mother to her daughters, nothing seems more natural than to welcome them into a home that had once belonged to their family, a lovely, sprawling bed-and-breakfast on the beach. This bequest was only one of the many ways in which Penelope had supported Lucy's career as a painter, declaring her talent too important to squander. But now, in the wake of a disaster that only lovable, worrisome Penelope could have predicted, Lucy has put her work on hold as she and Penelope's husband, Joey, blindly grasp at anything that will keep the girls from sinking under the weight of their grief.

With the help of family and friends, the children slowly build new lives. But just when things start to come together, the fragile serenity they have gained is suddenly threatened from within, and the unbreakable bonds they share seem likely to dissolve after all.

In this entertaining and uplifting novel, Sheila Curran explores the faith one woman placed in her dearest friends, the care she took to protect her family and the many ways in which romantic entanglements will confound and confuse even the most determined of planners. A story about growing up and moving on, about the sacrifices people make for one another and the timeless legacy of love, Everyone She Loved is, above all, about the abiding strength of friendship.
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  • Atria Books | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439100714 | 
  • June 2009
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Reading Group Guide

Everyone She Loved
Sheila Curran

Introduction

Penelope Cameron has convinced her husband and four friends to sign an unusual pact. If Penelope should die before her daughters turn eighteen, her husband, Joey, cannot remarry without the consent of her sister and three best friends. Then, the unthinkable happens, and Penelope’s family and friends must struggle to live life without her.

Penelope’s young daughters, her husband, and friends are slowly rebuilding new lives when the fragile serenity they have gained is suddenly threatened. Penelope’s distant cousins are eager to gain control of the family money, and ruthlessly plant seeds of doubt and distrust among the friends. They must pull together and trust each other, as more than their friendships is now at stake.

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. Even though she is young and healthy, Penelope has a premonition that her life will be cut short. With this in mind, she makes her family and friends sign a document that prevents her husband Joey from marrying “the wrong woman”; her sister and friends must approve of his marriage. Do you agree with Penelope’s actions? Do you think it is fair to Joey to have his future determined by his wife’s sister and her friends?

2. What did Lucy sacrifice in her friendship with Penelope? Did Penelope give Lucy anything in return, either tangible or emotional? Do you agree with Lucy& see more

About the Author

Sheila Curran
Photo Credit:

Sheila Curran

Sheila Curran lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with her husband and children.

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