1. What would you do if you inherited an apartment in Paris just as Cat did? Would you go to great lengths to put things right?
2. Do you think people do look in the mirror each day and pretend to themselves that everything is fine, when it is not? Why would they do such a thing?
3. The idea of ‘not talking’ about one’s experiences during and after World War Two is a strong theme in the novel. After the Second World War, the German population were officially told to ‘move on’ and not talk about their experiences. Do you know of similar instances where people simply did not talk about the Second World War? How do you think this impacted on not only the people who went through that war, but how do you think this impacted on future generations?
4. For me, history is the difference between living on the surface of life, and living in depth. How do you view history- is it important? What role does it play for you in your life if any at all?
5. How did you view the French way of life as compared to those of some of the characters based in New York? How was this relevant to the modern world?
6. Courtesans were the ultimate Parisian women during the Belle Epoque. Where they went, the smart set followed. Their world has all but been lost since the second world war. The Nazis kept “les maisons closes” going, but they were all shut down after the war. But while these women were powerful- they held press conferences in their homes, were the trophy companions of European royalty, were paid with fabulous jewelry collections, apartments, and so forth- we know how their power was gained. How do you see courtesans in the wider context of women trying to gain the franchise etc at the turn of the last century- did courtesans push things backwards, or help promote equality for women.
7. What values do you think were predominant in the book?
8. What do you know about your grandparents’ lives? Are you aware of any buried secrets in your family?
9. How did you view Cat and Loic’s relationship? Do you think it was realistic? Too romantic?