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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Unforgivable Love: A Retelling of Dangerous Liaisons

1. When it comes to men, Mae Malveaux believes she has a “well hidden contempt for their arrogance.” How well hidden is that arrogance? In what ways do you feel her contempt is justified or unjustified? In which instances do you see Mae’s behavior as a woman doing what she has to do in a man’s world?

2. What, if anything, new did you discover about Harlem society in the 1930s and 1940s?

3. Have you seen any version of DANGEROUS LIAISONS (the motion picture or the play or even Cruel Intentions). How did this lessen or increase your enjoyment of the novel?

4. Discuss the roles of “keeping up appearances” in the actions of Mae, Val, Gladys, Cecily and Elizabeth.

5. Would Elizabeth have continued to be contented in her marriage had Val not come along? Or do you feel she was already beginning to emotionally separate from her husband and from that marriage? Why do you think Elizabeth was attracted to Val to the point of being willing to sacrifice her way of life? Was it solely from love or were there other motivations?

6. Do you believe Val truly changed for the better? Were you surprised at his fate?

7. Jackie Robinson is a hero of Val’s. What do you think Val sees in Robinson that makes him idolize the player? Is it solely his role in changing baseball, a sport Val loves, forever --- or are there attributes Val sees in Robinson that he longs to emulate?

8. Are you a fan of other retellings of classic tales? What do you enjoy most about retellings?

9. What role do you think Mr. Travis plays in Cecily’s part of the story?

10. In which of the book’s settings would you feel most at home --- Harlem, Westchester, Paris or rural North Carolina?

Unforgivable Love: A Retelling of Dangerous Liaisons
by Sophfronia Scott

  • Publication Date: September 26, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062655655
  • ISBN-13: 9780062655653