You all have been loving our series on book club hosting so we are back with How to Host a Book Club for The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff. Below you’ll find a fun, easy themed menu along with questions to ask your book club. In 1946 Grace Healey is in Manhattan trying to pull her life together after losing her husband in the war. She is passing through Grand Central Station when she notices an abandoned suitcase. She is too curious to resist and opens the suitcase. When she looks inside, she finds a dozen pictures of different women and is determined to find out who they are and who owns the suitcase. She discovers that the suitcase belongs to Eleanor Trigg, the leader of a ring of female spies throughout the Second World War. Grace is determined to find out what happened to these women who never returned home.
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I loved The Lost Girls of Paris from start to finish and thought it would be a fabulous choice for a book club read. The story itself is based on true events in WWII. The women who worked as couriers and radio operators made courageous and difficult choices during a harrowing time in history. Jenoff is a wonderful storyteller. She is able to bring her characters to life and pull the reader into the book.
The Lost Girls of Paris Book Club Menu
We needed to set the stage for the book club with food. In this case, French Food. We started with some baked brie and baguette. It’s so easy to make, just hollow out a loaf of sourdough, cut up brie, pour on the jelly of your choice and bake it for 40 minutes at 400. Personally, I would be happy to live on this. So yummy.
For our main meal, we decided on steak frites- or steak and french fries. We made the steaks with Sous vide which is actually French for vacuum packed. You submerged vacuum packed steaks in water that is set to a certain temperature for a long period of time. In our case, the steaks were about 1/2 inch thick and cooked at 140 degrees for three hours. The steaks come out perfectly medium and very tender. However, they are also quite grey and look pretty unappetizing until you give them a quick turn on a very hot cast iron skillet. They come out completely delicious with a nice brown crust.
We also included some baby asparagus that we quickly sauteed and then drizzled with truffle oil.
For dessert, we had macarons and an Apple Tart from Trader Joes. SO delicious. We highly recommend shortcuts like this if you do a weeknight book club. You get the fun of the themed food with such little fuss.
Book Club Questions
I had so many questions when I read this book. So, I made a list while I was reading and these are the questions that I posed to the book club. Note: if you have not read the book, you may not want to read further for spoilers.
Why do you think Grace opened up the suitcase and do you think you would have done the same?
What do you think it was about the women in the pictures that compelled Grace to find out who they were?
Why do you think Grace felt such a connection to Eleanor?
Would you have been able to leave a child as Marie did?
What do you think the turning point was for Marie? She was initially reserved- what changed?
How did learning the truth about Eleanor and the other woman change Grace?
There is a theme throughout this book of women sacrificing themselves for family/country. How do you think this pertains to women today?
Where do you see Grace 10 years after this book is done?