This week, I'm introducting a few discussion questions for this month's Reader's Den title Brava, Valentine. Want to participate? Simply comment at the bottom of this blog post.
- When her Gram moves to Italy permanently at the beginning of the novel, Val feels that it’s her responsibility to step up as head of the Angelini Shoe Company. This puts her into a more forceful role than she has been in before. Her willingness to take risks and try creative leaps is met with a certain amount of resistance, most notably from Alfred. Do you think Valentine is a strong woman? What qualities do you think make her either strong or weak?
- Have you read Very Valentine? Do you feel that you need to read the first novel in order to enjoy the second?
- Valentine maintains a healthy relationship with Bret, a businessman and perhaps her one true love. The only problem is, he’s the one that got away. Some of the conflict in Valentine and Gianluca’s relationship can arguably be ascribed to Bret, who begins working closely with Val as a business consultant as she tries to keep her shoe company afloat. Do you agree with Val’s decision to remain friends with Bret, even at Gianluca’s expense?
- The Roncalli/Angelini clan is vast in number. Besides Valentine, which family member was your favorite? Why?
- A large part of the novel deals with Valentine trying to keep her grandmother’s handcrafted shoemaking company afloat amidst difficult economic difficulties. Her optimistic and hopeful outlook on the family business is contrasted sharply with her brother’s brutal view of financial reality. Which sibling do you identify with more? Valentine, trying to keep family tradition and history alive with the business, or Alfred’s “Wall Street”-style bottom line?
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