The Duke Who Didn't by Courtney Milan
Anyway! I hope you can join us to chat and catch up and discuss the finer points of this...literature...on Thursday evening at 8:15!
1. What did you like / dislike?
2. Why do we selectively hear criticism of ourselves over praise? (I'm thinking of Chloe's reaction to Jeremy around page 110-114...and elsewhere.)
3. Did you feel like Chloe and Jeremy had chemistry?
4. Could you picture the town? (Or anything else?)
5. Did the opening at all remind you of Mattie in Old Baggage?
6. How did the perspective changes allow for the surprises in the plot? (Mr. Fong's identity; who knew Jeremy's identity...)
7. When did you wonder whether people suspected Jeremy's identity?
8. Is this rubbish or just a typical romance novel?
9. What was the last trashy novel you read?
10. Can we take the discussions of racism in this book seriously given the racy sections? Could we consider this a way to reach a different sort of audience with these concerns?
11. The author at times describes what dialect of Chinese the characters are speaking (and, given the detailed author's note, it seems this subject matters much to the author), but what form of English are they speaking? Some kind of blend of 19th century and modern day?
12. When did a "board clip" become a "clipboard"? (Wikipedia: "The earliest forms were patented in 1870-71 and referred to as board clips.")
13. What didn't the Duke do? Can someone help me with that nickname the town gives him?
14. Are there any real accounts of half-Chinese dukes? Or other non-white dukes? (Wikipedia's list of famous British Chinese people:
15. What was the Chinese presence in Britain in the late 1800s/early 1900s? (Wikipedia: "At the turn of the 20th century, the number of Chinese in Britain was small. Most were sailors who had deserted or been abandoned by their employers after landing in British ports. In the 1880s, some Chinese migrants had fled the US during the anti-Chinese campaign and settled in Britain, where they started up businesses based on their experience in America. There is little evidence to suggest that these "double migrants" had established close ties with Britain's other, longer-standing Chinese community. By the middle of the 20th century, the community was on the point of extinction, and would probably have lost its cultural distinctiveness if not for the arrival of tens of thousands of Hong Kong Chinese in the 1950s.")
16. Was the 2nd epilogue / the revenge necessary? What about Jeremy's point to name the sauce after something Chloe loves and to be free of her revenge? Isn't that the way she is supposed to live up to her name? Why writhe in it at the end?
I hope you are all enjoying the snow. My kids were a mess getting out the door to go sledding this morning, but Dan just texted some videos of them having a blast...so, guess it worked out.
In any case...I forgot to say the other night that I feel like we did Ms. Courtney Milan a service in reading her independently published The Duke Who Didn't. No, it isn't going to win any awards, but we were mildly entertained, mildly moved and only mildly scarred. She got readers and we got a laugh. So I think it was a win win all around. If you missed this one, there's still time to sign up for my paper copy on our book exchange spreadsheet (or email me separately)!
And don't worry, for January, we are going to read something truly spectacular and award-worthy. Please join us for Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips. (Corinne picked it, but I think she's really on to something here! It's going to be great!!)
I hope you have a good winter break. May your children only scream outside of the house and give you a bit of rest.
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The Tipsy Mamas' Book Club is co-hosted by Corinne Foster and myself, though the spirit of our discussions is flavored by many readers.