As a die-hard bibliophile, I sometimes wonder about the levels of creativity that authors like Fiona Davis pour into their work. She brings new life to the stories she decides to write, making them as exciting as if I am experiencing it myself.
A similar thing happened when I read The Magnolia Palace. This captivating book takes you on a journey through time, exploring two parallel storylines that seamlessly weave together to create a spellbinding tale of tragedy, secrets, and love.
As you read the book, you will find yourself asking yourself a lot of questions.
For instance, how do the characters’ experiences reflect societal changes during the two periods in which the book is set?
How does the Frick family’s wealth and status affect their relationships and actions?
And what about the multitude of themes that run throughout the novel?
With so many thought-provoking topics to explore, I have decided to bring forward to you this list of the best book club questions for The Magnolia Palace right in front of you.
Some of them will make you think while the remaining ones will make you scratch your head.
The post might contain affiliate links. For more information, read our disclosure.
The Magnolia Palace Book Club Questions
- In this captivating story, one will uncover the inherent worth of beauty, the extravagances of great wealth, and an enigmatic death shrouded with secrets. Out of these three, which one do you think is the most intriguing and forms a large part of the novel’s plot?
- Does anyone know about the Spanish flu pandemic that occurred exactly a century ago, coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic? A minor part of the novel, dealing with the death of Lilian Carter’s mother, has to do with the flu pandemic. In your opinion, what’s your take on this pandemic, being a coincidence or a subtle reference?
- Davis’s study of feminine beauty reveals the control dynamics between men and women within the Frick family. It brings to light how, in a patriarchal society, female attractiveness can be manipulated as currency or favor with influential individuals. By leveraging this power effectively, women are able to gain access to opportunities and resources that would otherwise remain out of reach. Do you think this is still a relevant dynamic today? If so, how has it evolved in current times?
- Veronica is fired from her shoots when she raises her voice against the inhuman working conditions for the workers. Do you think it was a brave thing to do? How can we, as readers, learn from Veronica’s character as it pertains to standing up against injustice?
- With a shared passion for art and an unwavering ambition to make it in the entertainment industry, Lillian and Veronica find themselves on remarkable journeys that take them to unforeseen places with extraordinary people. The death of a loved one, in both cases, adds to the complexity of their individual stories. How do you think this tragedy brought forth a change in their lives? Also, have you ever lost someone you love? If yes, how did it affect you?
- Lillian is mistaken for someone else, leading to her unexpected job at the Frick Mansion, and Veronica is unexpectedly locked inside the museum with Joshua Lawrence. How does Davis use fate as a plot device in The Magnolia Palace?
- The Frick Mansion holds a certain sense of enigma in its design. The beautifully crafted architecture is a testament to the wealth of its owner. If you were to spend one entire day in such a huge mansion, how would you spend your time? What would you explore within the mansion and its grounds?
- Did you like Fiona Davis’ approach to using two different storylines in the novel? If she was present at this book club meeting, what are the questions that you would throw at her in order to understand the intricacies of her writing style?
- Fiona Davis, in this book, defies the common male perspective of women, demonstrating that a woman’s beauty is much more than simply a thing to be admired. She emphasizes that there are several layers and nuances within female beauty rather than it being something one-dimensional and perfect. What is your opinion on this? Do you think it’s a valuable lesson for readers to learn?
- Some of the themes explored in The Magnolia Palace include ambition, survival, family, fate, class struggle, identity, and destiny. These concepts are all explored through Lillian and Veronica’s journeys, as well as through their interactions with Henry Clay Frick’s family. What do you think was the most important theme among them?
- Davis’ description of art in The Magnolia Palace helps to set the tone for the novel and provides insight into the characters. The discussion of Lady Hamilton’s portrait in particular, adds a layer of complexity to the narrative and serves as a reminder of the societal expectations that women face. In what ways did you find this imagery useful in understanding the story? What other elements of the story stood out to you?
- Do you think the character Miss Helen was primarily introduced by Davis as someone who possesses power and privilege? If yes, how important was her role in the story, according to you?
If you liked this set of questions, here are a few other options for you to explore.
Demon Copperhead: In the rugged mountains of Appalachia, a copper-haired boy navigates a treacherous world of poverty, foster care, addiction, and heartbreak. Barbara Kingsolver’s modern-day Dickensian tale is a riveting journey of survival, love, and the enduring power of storytelling.
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow: Two friends embark on a thrilling journey as video game designers, experiencing fame, tragedy, and a quest for immortality. It’s a mesmerizing tale of love, creativity, and the profound human longing for connection. Brace yourself for a love story unlike any other.
Verity: In a desperate bid to save her career, struggling writer Lowen Ashleigh delves into the dark secrets of bestselling author Verity Crawford. As forbidden love and chilling revelations entwine, the lines blur between loyalty and desire in this gripping tale of deceit and obsession.
Age of Vice: In the dark underbelly of New Delhi, where money and power reign supreme, the lives of a loyal servant, a rebellious heir, and a conflicted journalist collide. Amidst corruption and violence, their choices will either lead to freedom or unleash further chaos. This is a gripping tale of crime, love, and the high price of ambition.
Horse: A discarded painting, a skeleton, and a legendary racehorse intertwine, spanning America’s history. From slavery to civil war to contemporary discovery, this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel weaves a tale of spirit, obsession, and justice that will captivate your heart.