Has your book club read Here To Stay, my novel about the in-laws from hell? Would you like to suggest it to them?
I’ve pulled together a list of questions and possible discussion points that might help you. If you can think of any more great questions, please leave a comment – or let me know what your book group thought of my novel.
SPOILER ALERT: Do not read these questions if you haven’t already read Here To Stay because they contain major spoilers regarding the plot and characters, including the ending.
- Elliot and Gemma had a whirlwind romance – why do you think they got married after two months? Discuss why Elliot felt happy doing this without meeting Gemma’s family? Did you suspect that it had been planned as the book progressed?
- How would you feel about the in-laws coming to stay when you hadn’t even met them yet? Elliot didn’t seem worried at all despite Gemma’s immediate reaction being negative. Do you think this was odd behaviour? Would you want to meet them first? Would you have put a time limit on the length of their stay? Discuss the implications of such a scenario.
- Chloe arrives at Cuckoo Lane in a state and then remains locked in her room for some time. What do you think she was going through? Knowing what she had done, how do you think she was feeling and how do you think Jeff and Lizzy were feeling?
- All three Robinson children, Gemma, Chloe and Stuart were afraid of Jeff and Lizzy because of events in their childhood. How do you think that affected their personalities and actions in adulthood?
- George and Edith Whiteley are murdered in their home on Cuckoo Lane. Why do you think that Elliot feels guilty for their deaths? Did you expect the murderer to be Jeff after he disappeared from the restaurant? Were you surprised when it was Chloe?
- After Elliot and Gemma’s weekend away they return to find the house a mess and Jeff and Lizzy have bought a new bed. Elliot confronts Jeff and Lizzy. Discuss the confrontation, how he handles it and their responses to it.
- When Elliot finds out about the Robinson’s past – after visiting their home town of Winchelsea Beach and eventually confronting Gemma – how do you think he felt? What do you think he should have done?
- Effia Mensah made allegations of sexual assault by Elliot which she later withdrew. How do you think this affected him and his career? How do you think the internet and social media plays a role in stories going viral and people believing them and ruining reputations?
- Throughout the book there are flashbacks to what happened in France. Do you like this method of storytelling? How did it help you create a feel for what was happening and what each of the characters were like?
- The book has a theme of mental torture? How do you think it is effective as a plotline?
- How do you think Elliot felt finding out how Gemma engineered their meeting? And at the end when Gemma and Stuart were planning to tell the police he had killed Jeff and Lizzy?
- Were you shocked when Elliot went through with his plan to poison Jeff and Lizzy? What did you think about Stuart and Gemma’s response to their parents dying?
- Discuss the number of murders/deaths in the book. Do you feel it was necessary to have so many? Mickey and Delilah, Jean Claude, Valerie, George, Edith, Amira, Jeff, Lizzy, Stuart, Gemma. . .
- Do you think Elliot would have gone on to kill Chloe?