This reading group guide for The French Gardener includes discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A. 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.
Questions for Discussion
1. Gus seems to act out violently as a result of his parents’ inattentiveness. Do you think his sins are ultimately forgivable, or should he be held responsible to some degree?
2. At first, “the word ‘community’ made [Miranda’s] stomach churn” (page 20). By the end of the year, she has embraced the country and left London behind. What do you think accounts for Miranda’s change in attitude about Hartington? How do her new relationships compare to her old ones?
3. Infidelity played a part in the Lightly marriage and in the Claybourne marriage. One affair was revealed, while the other remained secret. What do you see as the benefits and drawbacks of each situation? How can keeping an affair a secret protect a marriage? How can having everything out in the open allow a relationship to grow and mend?
4. Montefiore describes the setting of the novel beautifully. Nearly every chapter comes alive with details of the characters’ surroundings. Which images are most memorable for you? Can