For this round of our Book Clubbin’ feature, we’re diving into the forthcoming The Girl From the Grand Hotel by Camille Aubray, narrated by Lisa Flanagan! Set against the vibrant backdrop of 1920s New York City, this captivating listen takes readers on a journey through love, loss, and the pursuit of dreams.
In The Girl From the Grand Hotel, Aubray masterfully weaves together the lives of two women from different worlds: Vera, a Russian immigrant with dreams of becoming a ballerina, and Frances, a wealthy socialite struggling to find her place in society. As their paths intertwine at the iconic Grand Hotel, secrets are revealed, friendships are tested, and unexpected connections are made.
Throughout the book, readers are transported to a glittering era filled with glamour, ambition, and the complexities of human relationships. From the bustling streets of Manhattan to the opulent ballrooms of high society, The Girl From the Grand Hotel offers a rich tapestry of emotions and experiences that will keep readers glued to the audiobook late into the night.
Whether you’re reading solo or with your book club, we’ve curated a list of thought-provoking discussion questions in partnership with Blackstone Publishing to spark conversations about this compelling story. Keep reading below to get the conversation started. Beware— SPOILERS ahead.
1) We first meet Annabel in her summer job at a Grand Hotel on the French Riviera in 1939. What makes a Grand Hotel special? What is her uncle’s Code of Standards? How do the newly arriving guests challenge such standards? What are Oncle JP’s plans for Annabel’s future? Do his plans conflict with her hopes and dreams?
2) How do Annabel’s past experiences with her parents, grandmother, boyfriend, education, and secretarial work affect her attitude toward the work she is now doing in France? What does Annabel yearn for?
3) Discuss Annabel’s first impressions of the screenwriter. What are Scott’s common misperceptions at this time in his life? How would you describe Annabel’s evolving relationship with Scott?
4) What are the first signs of trouble brewing when Annabel meets the Hollywood guests at the pool area? And, when she takes Oncle JP’s granddaughter Delphine to the garden? What could the garden itself represent?
5) What were your first impressions of Jack Cabot and Téa Marlo? What does Jack represent to Annabel? What does Jack reveal to Annabel about the screenwriter?
6) Why is Annabel wary of the young heir, Rick Bladey? What did you think of Rick when he met Delphine?
7) The hotel has many mysterious people: the tennis player, the English couple, the Polish secretary, Marta, the receptionist, the German guests, and movie stars. What secrets are eventually revealed about each of them?
8) Many startling events start out looking ordinary: when Annabel is asked to deliver two telegrams, when she sits in on a script meeting when she is invited to parties, and when she works with the actors and the screenwriter. Discuss each of these, examining the ominous signs that trouble is brewing in both the personal lives at the Grand Hotel and the politics of the time. How does Annabel cope with this turmoil?
9) What was the most significant thing that happened when Jack, Annabel, and Téa went off together to the little “village in the clouds” called Sainte Agnès? What does the Maginot Fort represent, both to the characters personally and to France itself?
10) What do we learn about the family of Sonny, the man who runs Olympia Studios? What is his family’s dynamic? How do Cissy and Alan, in particular, affect Annabel’s actions?
11) At the last party at the Grand Hotel, the tensions that have been brewing all along erupt in various ways. How does the thunderstorm become a breaking point? What is the metaphorical significance of the lobsters?
12) How does the Second World War outbreak affect Annabel’s life—her personal choices and the speed with which she must make life-altering decisions? What would you have done if you were in her place?
13) Many assume the first Cannes Film Festival occurred in the 1940s. They also assume that the festival was always held in the springtime. Yet the first one was planned for September 1, 1939. What was the original purpose of the festival? What were your assumptions about the Cannes Film Festival before you read this novel? Now that you know its origins, what do you think of its history and legacy?
14) When you look back on the novel, which character was always in the most danger? Is this different from what you first thought when you were introduced to the characters?
Looking for Book Recommendations?
• Looking to share your love of books? Our handy Book Clubbin’ questions make it super easy to start a book club. Or, Netflix n’ buddy-read with this year’s book-to-screen adaptations (just be prepared for the perennial debate: is the book better than the movie/show?).
• If you’re looking for something extra, we’ve got author and narrator interviews to give you a gleam inside their worlds.
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