The House at the Edge of Night Book Club Kit

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Book Club Kit for The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner includes book club discussion guide and party menu.

A copy of the book The House at the Edge of Night sits on a table.

When the kids head back to school, I love to dig in on a book that is a little bit “meatier” than my light summer fare.

We’ve had so much fun with historical fiction in September for the last couple of years.

First, we read America’s First Daughter and then The Accidental Empress. 

This year, our historical fiction takes us to Italy!

I’m thrilled to announce our book club’s September’s pick . . .

Peanut Blossom Book Club

This book was our official September 2018 pick for the Peanut Blossom Book Club.

Want to see what we’re reading today? Check out our book club book list here.

Want Free Reminders for Each Book?

This book club pick is one of the awesome books from our fourth year of book club.

We’re still going strong! Want to join us?

You can join our book club for free by signing up for my email newsletter right here:

    What is The House at the Edge of Night About?

    “Castellamare is an island far enough away from the mainland to be forgotten, but not far enough to escape from the world’s troubles. At the center of the island’s life is a café draped with bougainvillea called the House at the Edge of Night, where the community gathers to gossip and talk. Amedeo Esposito, a foundling from Florence, finds his destiny on the island with his beautiful wife, Pina, whose fierce intelligence, grace, and unwavering love guide her every move. An indiscretion tests their marriage, and their children—three sons and an inquisitive daughter—grow up and struggle with both humanity’s cruelty and its capacity for love and mercy.

    Spanning nearly a century, through secrets and mysteries, trials and sacrifice, this beautiful and haunting novel follows the lives of the Esposito family and the other islanders who live and love on Castellamare: a cruel count and his bewitching wife, a priest who loves scandal, a prisoner of war turned poet, an outcast girl who becomes a pillar of strength, a wounded English soldier who emerges from the sea. The people of Castellamare are transformed by two world wars and a great recession, by the threat of fascism and their deep bonds of passion and friendship, and by bitter rivalries and the power of forgiveness.

    Catherine Banner has written an enthralling, character-rich novel, epic in scope but intimate in feeling. At times, the island itself seems alive, a mythical place where the earth heaves with stories—and this magical novel takes you there.”

    And then go grab a copy of The House at the Edge of Night so you can join us for our book club discussion next month! 

    The House at the Edge of Night Book Club Questions

    I believe the best book club questions to spark a lively discussion in your group help readers make personal connections to the story.

    You can read about how to write the best book club questions on your own here, but hopefully these will get you started!

    Question 1:

    This multi-generational story covers a 95 year time span. Have you read similar fiction before this? Do you enjoy the longer tale or do you prefer a story to focus on a single time period?

    Question 2:

    Which of the many characters and their story was the most intriguing for you to read about?

    Here are a few of their names to jog your memory:

    • Amedeo
    • Pina
    • Father Ignazio
    • Robert
    • Carmela
    • Maria-Grazia
    • Concetta
    • Gusuina
    • Sergio
    • Giuseppino
    • Lena
    • Flavio
    • Maddalena

    Question 3:

    Amedeo’s book of stories is his most prized possession while The House at the Edge of Night is actually based on the real life doctor Giuseppe Pitre who collected folk tales.

    Why do you think these stories were so important to both Amedeo and the people of Castellamare? Do you have a favorite story?

    Question 4:

    The island changes in the 20s when it becomes one of Mussolini’s prison colonies. The members of the community respond quite differently and Gesuina says, “We’ve all got to live together after this.”

    How do you think the role of community has changed from the 20s to now? Does your neighborhood all respond the same to community challenges or has there been disputes/disagreements?

    Question 5:

    Maria-Grazia experiences a disconnect with her sons and their experiences in post-war Italy. Have you experienced a similar challenge with your own family?

    Question 6:

    Is tourism good for Castellamare? Have you had a favorite vacation spot or place you travel to that has changed because of tourism over the years?

    Question 7:

    Women were not usually part of recorded history in the years that this book covers. Can storytelling change our perception of women’s place in history? How did you feel about the focus on the womens’ stories in this book?

    Question 8:

    Some characters are eager to leave Castellamare while some are content to stay. Have you left a hometown and moved or have you always lived where you do now?

    Book Club Party Menu

    For the book club party menu, serve some Italian inspired goodies to fuel your chat.

    Start with the easy caprese salad and a bottle (or two) of wine.

    Or head straight to dessert and serve a make ahead tiramisu or my favorite panettone bread pudding with a drizzle of amaretto sauce.

    You May Also Enjoy

    If you enjoyed this book, you’d likely enjoy these other fun book club picks from through the years:


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