Reading Group Questions

The following questions include some minor plot spoilers, so it’s best if you avoid reading them until you’ve finished Coronation Year.

 1) Do you think Edie’s insistence on keeping the Blue Lion, no matter the cost to her personal life, is evidence of strength of character or a failure of imagination?

 2) Can you detect any parallels between Edie’s inborn sense of duty and that of the young Queen Elizabeth II?

 3) Why did the author choose to include Stella Donati, a character from her previous book Our Darkest Night, to this story? Was it simply to link Coronation Year with some of her other books? Or does Stella bring more to the narrative than that?

4) We’re used to thinking of postwar London as a place of grim austerity, but to Stella it seems almost incomprehensibly wealthy and prosperous. What does this tell you about the significance of point of view in a novel? What is the value of seeing things as an outsider?

5) What did you think of the author’s decision to make one of her main protagonists a male person of colour? Do you feel she was successful in her portrayal of Jamie Geddes? Did his character feel authentic to you?

6) Does the illustration of the Blue Lion conform to your imagined version of the hotel? If not, what did you expect instead?

7) When explaining her photographs of the hotel to Win Keller, Stella says, “I know the Blue Lion is not a living thing, but it seems to me that it has a character of its own.” Do you agree?

8) Can you sympathize with Ivor Brooks to any degree? Or do his actions on Coronation Day and earlier make him unworthy of redemption?

9) Who among the secondary characters did you find most interesting, and why? Do any of them deserve a book of their own?

10) What do you think of the author’s decision to have the queen herself come to tea at the Blue Lion? Did it feel plausible to you?