Having so enjoyed reading an e-copy of The Girl I Used to Know by Faith Hogan, my review of which you can read here, I’m delighted to support the paperback release in the final part of the blog tour. My enormous thanks to Victoria Joss for inviting me to take part. As I belong to a U3A reading group I’m delighted to have some book group questions to share with you today.
As well as featuring The Girl I Used to Know, I’ve been privileged to host Faith Hogan here on Linda’s Book Bag a couple of other times too. Faith told me all about her murderous tendencies in a guest post on Creating Character here, when My Husband’s Wives was published and she spilled some secrets here to celebrate Secrets We Keep too!
The Girl I Used to Know is available for purchase in all formats here.
The Girl I Used to Know
Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn’t be more different.
Amanda seems to have it all, absolute perfection. She projects all the accoutrements of a lady who lunches. Sadly, the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart.
By comparison, in the basement flat, unwanted tenant Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.
It takes a bossy doctor, a handsome gardener, a pushy teenager and an abandoned cat to show these two women that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.
The Girl I Used To Know
Book Club Questions
‘A Good Neighbour is a priceless treasure.’ – this is the opening quote in The Girl I Used To Know – The relationship between Tess and Amanda might have mended many years earlier – if it had, do you believe that their lives would have turned out very differently or any better than they did at the end of the story?
The Girl I Used To Know flips over between past and present – did you find yourself flicking back to earlier pages to catch up on where you left off? Did it help to paint a clearer picture of how Tess and Amanda had become the women they found themselves to be when the book opened and ultimately, when it ended?
Faith Hogan’s books have been described as Uplifting and Unashamedly Feel Good. The Girl I Used To Know is described as a story of second chances and the idea that it’s never too late to start again – do you agree that it is never too late to start again? Are we confined by the parameters in which we’ve chosen to live our lives until this very moment – or can we hope for better things to come?
Faith Hogan’s books are described as grown up women’s fiction – can you see why this book isn’t classified as romantic, comedy or chick lit? Is there a difference between these sub genres? Do you agree with the way fiction is commonly classified by critics, book buyers, editors and bloggers? Can you think of other books you’ve read who might fall into a similar category?
Family – be they in the present or the past are a hugely important feature in this novel – do you agree or disagree? Amanda has been severed from hers through death, but Tess’s separation is more complicated. At what point, do you think Tess was firmly cut off from her family in Ballycove?
We are the product of our past, our parents and our experiences – would you agree that this is the case in The Girl I Used To Know or, do you believe that the characters can shape their future by taking brave steps in a new direction?
Tess and Amanda power walk around Swift Square each evening in opposite directions, for many the true turning point in the book is when one changes route and they begin to walk together – is there a turning point in the book that strikes you as more compelling than this point?
Things to Consider before your book club meet…
1 How did you experience The Girl I Used To Know? First impressions, was it a dive right in book or more of a leading, winding tale for you?
2 This has been described as a character driven book – would you agree? Did either of the main characters resonate with you more than the other?
3 Are the characters dynamic, have they taken action to impact on their own outcomes? Can you see if they have grown or changed by the end of the story?
4 Did you like the characters? Did they remind you of people you know, or perhaps could you see some qualities of your own tied up in their personalities?
5 How much does the setting add to the story – is it merely a backdrop or is the house and the city as much a part of the fabric of the book as any of the characters?
6 Can you pick out the themes that resonate most for you in the book?
7 Describe the plot, were you surprised at any point in the story? Were there parts of the story you might have changed or guided in a different direction?
8 Are there other books you’ve read which you could compare this with? How are they similar? How are they different?
9 In two sentences, how would you summarise The Girl I Used To Know to someone who has not yet read the book?
About Faith Hogan
Faith Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.
She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.
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