Thank you so much for selecting The Lost Vintage for your book club! Here you’ll find discussion questions for the book – and if you’re looking for a Burgundian snack to serve, here’s my special recipe for gougère cheese puffs – they’re delicious with a glass of wine (and they’re also very addictive)!
Wishing you a wonderful discussion – cheers!
The Lost Vintage
Reading Group Guide
1. At one point in the book, Uncle Philippe confronts Kate about her investigating and tells her to stop looking into Hélène and the family’s history. Though Kate refuses to do so, do you think Uncle Philippe had a point? Are there ever circumstances when it is best to let the past lie?
2. How might Kate’s life have been different if she’d stayed in France all those years ago? How did her years away affect her in positive and negative ways?
3. What do Madame’s actions say about her character? Did you find her sympathetic?
4. What do we owe the past? At the end of the book, Heather is determined to teach her family about Hélène and the family’s deeds during World War II. Is it our duty to pass on family history to the next generation?
5. The Lost Vintage shows that though there were many French résistants acting during the war, there were also many French people who essentially supported the Nazis through complicity, often for survival’s sake. As Rose says at one point, “It’s much safer to do nothing.” Do you think these actions are wartime phenomena, or are there ways in which we can show courage or remain complicit in a similar way in day to day life?
6. Walker and Jean-Luc emerge as Kate’s opposing love interests in the book. In what ways are they similar, and in what ways are they different? What do they stand for in Kate’s life?
7. Over the course of the book, Jean-Luc transforms from a man attached to his vineyard and its obligations to one who is willing to give it all up for Kate. What prompted this change? How does his decision compare with Heather’s decision to stay in France and Kate’s decision to return to the States?
8. How would your experience of the book been different if Hélène’s diary wasn’t included and merely shared by proxy through Kate? How did Hélène’s diary add to the narrative?
9. The similarities in appearance between Kate and Hélène are striking from the moment the first photos of Hélène are found. In what other ways are Kate and Hélène similar and different? What is it about them that connects them throughout the mystery?
10. Were you surprised by where Uncle Albert, Uncle Benoît, and Hélène end up ultimately? How were their futures affected by the war, and what do their ultimate fates say about them?