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Book clubs  •  1 April 2019


Lost Roses book club notes

Transport your book club from St Petersburg to Paris under the shadow of World War I.

Inspired by true events, in Martha Hall Kelly’s Lost Roses she takes readers back a generation from her bestselling Lilac Girls, this time featuring real-life hero Caroline Ferriday’s mother, Eliza. Three women’s lives converge beneath the ominous clouds of The Great War, little knowing that the bonds they form will profoundly affect their life stories...

An exploration of the unbreakable bonds of women’s friendship during the darkest days of history, Lost Roses is sure to generate an unforgettable reading group discussion.

Discussion points and questions:

  • You meet three very different heroines in Lost Roses: Eliza, Sofya and Varinka. Who did you identify with most and why?
  • Mother–daughter relationships play a vital role in Lost Roses. How did these relationships impact Eliza, Sofya and Varinka’s lives? Compare Eliza’s mother to Varinka’s. In what ways were they both good mothers? How did Sofya’s stepmother, Agnessa, affect Sofya and Luba emotionally? How did their mother’s legacy play a continuing role in their lives?
  • Caroline Ferriday, the protagonist of Lilac Girls, is a teenager in Lost Roses. Eliza’s real-life relationship with her daughter Caroline evolves over the course of the book. What did you like/not like about their portrayal?
  • Luba, whose name symbolises love, is a key character in Lost Roses. How was she an important character in the story? What do you think of the author’s decision to open and close the novel with Luba’s voice?
  • Sofya had to make some impossible choices in the novel – choosing to leave her family and then her child, in order to try to save them. How did you feel about her decisions?
  • Varinka and Taras have a complicated relationship. Did you find it compelling? Do you believe she loved Max? Why or why not? Were you shocked by the twist in her ending?
  • How did you feel when Eliza had a second chance to experience love with Merrill? In what ways was their friendship and then love affair authentic?
  • Were you satisfied with Sofya and Cook’s reunion? How do you imagine their relationship evolved after the novel ended?
  • Is there a particular scene in Lost Roses that has stayed with you? What will you remember most about this novel?
  • What new things did you learn about this period in history? Do you plan to read more – fiction or nonfiction – about the Russian Revolution?

Lost Roses Martha Hall Kelly

The runaway international bestseller Lilac Girls introduced the real-life heroine Caroline Ferriday. Now Lost Roses, set a generation earlier and also inspired by true events, features Caroline’s mother, Eliza, and follows three equally indomitable women from St Petersburg to Paris under the shadow of World War I.

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