1967 Iowa. Nursing school roommates BettyKay and Kitty don’t have much in common. BettyKay has risked her family’s disapproval to pursue her dreams away from her small town. Cosmopolitan Kitty has always relied on her beauty and smarts to get by and to hide a painful secret. Yet the two share a determination to prove themselves in a changing world, forging an unlikely bond on a campus unkind to women. Before their first year is up, tragedy strikes, and the women’s paths are forced apart. But against all odds, a decades-long friendship forms, persevering through love, marriage, failure, and death, from the jungles of Vietnam to the glamorous circles of Hollywood. Until one snowy night leads their relationship to the ultimate crossroads.
Book Club Questions:
- In the book Kitty says that the options open to women were to be “a nurse, a teacher or a wife?” Do you agree with that statement? Which would you have picked? Talk about how Jenny’s experience wanting to be a doctor was changed by this narrow expectation for women. And how that narrow expectation was further narrowed for a woman of color.
- Pregnancy and childbirth play a critical role in this story. Talk about the four major pregnancies and how they changed the character’s lives.
- Kitty, Jenny and BettyKay have difficult relationships with their parents. Discuss how those fractured relationships helped form their friendships and guided the decisions they made in their lives.
- How did the different girls handle the sexism they encountered in the hospital and at school and in their careers? How did the men in their lives – Hugh, Dr. Fischer and Rex and Jenny’s father – attempt to control them and how were they able to see themselves free?
- Abbie and Clara are estranged at the beginning of the book. How did they grow estranged? If Kitty had not shown up at the funeral – do you think they would have continued to grow apart? Why or why not?
- Which woman in the book do you relate to the most? Who do you relate to the least?
- Which of the very difficult decisions each of the women made in this book did you find the most difficult? BettyKay’s abortion? Kitty choosing not to be in Clara’s life? Jenny leaving behind her dream of medical school and choosing to protect her brother by going to war?
About the Author:
Molly Fader is the author of The McAvoy Sister’s Book Of Secrets. As Molly O’Keefe, she is the USA Today Bestselling author of over 50 contemporary romances. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband, two kids, and rescue dog.