by Susan Mallery
New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has captivated millions of readers with her heartwarming stories of the ties that bind. Now she introduces Jenna Stevens, who’s about to discover that sometimes the only way to move forward is to go back home again.…
After nearly a decade as a sous chef in a trendy eatery, Jenna is desperate for a change. She’s supported her ex-husband’s dreams for so long that she can’t even remember her own. Until she sees a for-lease sign near her parents’ home and envisions her very own cooking store.
Her crash course in business is aided by a street-wise store manager and Jenna’s adoptive mother. But just as she’s gaining a foothold in her new life, in walk her birth parents --- aging hippies on a quest to reconnect with their firstborn.
Now Jenna must figure out how to reconcile the free-spirited Serenity and Tom with her traditional parents, deal with her feelings for a new love interest and decide what to do about her ex’s latest outrageous request. In the end, Jenna will find that there is no perfect family, only the people we love.…
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1. What are the major themes of this story? How does the tile support these themes? Explain your thoughts.
2. Susan Mallery has often been praised for writing stories that pull at readers’ emotions. Looking back on the story, discuss the moments that were the most emotional for you. What moments made you cry? What moments made you laugh?
3. What were the turning points? How and when did the characters change and grow? Who changed the most? Explain.
4. Which mother --- Beth or Serenity --- did you relate to the most, and why? Which father was the most like your father or husband, and why?
5. Discuss the ways the women in this story were different, and then talk about the traits they had in common.
6. Why do you think Serenity and Tom waited so long to find Jenna? Did they do the right thing? Why or why not? How should they have handled things differently? Under what circumstances do you think Jenna might have looked for her birth parents, if they hadn’t come looking for her?
7. Discuss the turning points in Violet’s subplot. How did this subplot support the major themes of the story? If you were Violet, how would you have reacted when Cliff was rude to Jenna and Ellington? Have you ever missed warning signs in your own life?
8. Do you think things will work out between Jenna and Ellington? Violet and Dragon? Why or why not?
9. If you had to reinvent yourself the way Jenna did after her divorce, what would you do?
10. Under what circumstances could you see yourself giving up a child for adoption?
11. Do you believe that some people really are more in tune with the Universe? Have you ever followed your intuition, your gut, even when logic said you shouldn’t? What happened? How did the situation turn out? Were you right to listen to your gut, or should you have stuck with logic?
12. Beth struggled with weight all her life, but Jenna and Marshall thought she was beautiful as she was. Why do you think so many women feel dissatisfied with their bodies?
13. How will having known Serenity impact Jenna throughout her life? How has Jenna changed because Serenity entered her life? What do you think Jenna’s life might’ve been like if she had been raised by her birth parents?
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