1. What similar challenges do Alice and Nellie face in their marriages? What are differences between these two relationships? Do you think these similarities and differences are products of the different personalities at play, or of the different eras that these relationships occur in?
2. Food plays a role in bonding the characters in this book together, and also in creating power dynamics. Do you see food playing a similar role in your own life, ever? Did you relate to the ways Alice and Nellie emotionally connected with the dishes they prepared?
3. Was it a mistake for Alice to agree to leave Manhattan? Does running away from your problems ever work out? What personal experiences have you had trying to start over in a new place?
4. Were you surprised by the quotes from old books and women’s magazines? What did you make of them?
5. Were you surprised by the plot twist in Nellie’s point of view?
6. Do you have a collection of old family recipes like Elise left Nellie? What is your favorite recipe passed down by family?
7. Do you see anything symbolic or metaphorical about Nellie’s tending to the garden? Does she remind you of other women from literature or mythology because of her skill for planting?
8. Do you identify more with Nellie or with Alice? Why?
9. Is there a parallel in Nellie’s life to the situation Alice is forced to endure with James Dorian?