• Evan Symmonds

Things to think about, for a bookgroup


So pleased to hear that a bookgroup has selected Mansfield Park & Ride for their new exploration together.


To help you along, here are a few questions you might like to talk about. Feel free to respond below if you come to any conclusions.


STARTERS


a) What scenes stood out most for you when you think back over the book as a whole?


b) Share some of your own experiences visiting stately homes or gardens. Have you encountered anything that struck you as absurd?


c) Of all the characters, whom did you most enjoy following, and why?


MORE CHALLENGING TOPICS


1. When Francesca meets with Professor Milsom, the Professor queries whether readers have any right to know the details of an author's private life. Is she right? What difference does it make to know much about Jane Austen's personal life?


2. Now that you've read the book as a whole, consider whether Ron Mumford deserves what happens to him. Is his downfall tragic or comic?


3. How sympathetic a character is Francesca? Does she deserve to be called the heroine of the story?


4. Does the author's invention of the business with the bordaloue tarnish Jane Austen's image? Is it in bad taste, or is it comically justified?


5. Does the group think that a set of brief notes at the end specifying what was true about Jane Austen's life, and what the author has invented would be a useful addition?


6. Does the book make you want to reread Jane Austen more, or less?


7. How does the group feel about the idea of colourblind casting in drama? Does Aaron's ethnicity matter in playing Mr Darcy?


8. How do the buskers and vagabonds add to the novel? What difference would it make if the author had left them out?


9. At the end of the book, Francesca is about to pursue her interest in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Would you want to read about the further literary adventures of Francesca?

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