If your book club would like to read Dancing on Sunday Afternoons, I’d be delighted to join you in your discussion—in person if you are within traveling distance of western New England or by phone if you are beyond it.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Here are some suggested questions for your book club discussion:
1. Although Giulia’s experience as a young woman coming to America from southern Italy is rooted in a particular time and place, do you think that her story reflects aspects common to any immigrant journey? If your family originated in another country, did you recognize moments that reflected your own family’s history?
2. Loss is a recurring theme—not only of Giulia’s beloved Paolo, but her homeland, language, stillborn children. How does Giulia react to and cope with such devastating change? If you have experienced profound loss, do you feel that the author accurately captured her emotional turmoil?
3. What did you think of Giulia’s mother? What role do you think she played in shaping the family’s destiny?
4. Could you relate to the torn loyalties Giulia feels in the struggle between her mother and her grandmother over Giulia’s future?
5. Why do you think Giulia chooses to give her love letters to Cara?
6. What did you think of the healing powers possessed by Giuseppina, Giulia and, to a certain extent, by Cara? Was it a believable element of the story? Do you feel that their spiritual approach to healing has a place in modern medical care?
7. How do Giulia’s revelations of her hidden love affect and change Cara’s understanding of her own life?
8. Are the conflicts Giulia experiences with her family—especially her relationships with Claudio and Pip—realistic? Were you disturbed by Claudio’s brutality ?
9. Did the author’s descriptions of Venticano and Mount Vernon and her integration of historical elements such as the Lawrence mill strike enhance your understanding of the story? Do you think the setting and time period were important? Did you learn something you didn’t know before?
10. What were the most memorable moments in the book for you?