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Travel Book Club: The Star-Crossed Sisters Of Tuscany Discussion

Eden Book Club: The Star-Crossed Sisters Of Tuscany Discussion

More than anyone, I fell in love with Poppy. She was such a wonderfully fleshed-out, vibrant character. And she made The Star-Crossed Sisters Of Tuscany such an exciting read for me. Emilia who?

The Star-Crossed Sisters Of Tuscany was slow to start. When I first read Lori Nelson Spielman’s book, I thought: I was promised Italy, where’s Italy? But as the story settled in so did the Italian landscape. And I ended up loving the descriptions (no surprise).

  • “The entire city, it seems, is in a breathtaking state of opulent decay.” (page 99)
  • “He takes my hand, and together we stroll through streets narrow as bike paths, lined with boutique shops and shoe stores, gelato counters and restaurants. Smells of roast lamb and garlic spill onto the streets.” (page 207)
  • “Three hundred feet below, the Gulf of Salerno sparkles against a sky bruised with purples and golds.” (page 244)

The book picked up in pace (a little before the half-way point) and from then on, it felt fun and magical. I cried. I laughed. And I loved the fact that there was a multi-generational family represented in the book.

P.S. I thought the aftermath of one particular relationship was handled too easily (identifying and knowing when to let go of a toxic relationship is incredibly important and I think the ending conveniently skimmed over that). We can discuss this more in the comments if you’d like!

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Book Club Discussion Guidelines

Discussion posts (like this one) will have a series of questions as starting points. But honestly, you can talk about whatever you want regarding the books (or questions). You don’t have to answer all (or any) of the questions. I’d still love to hear your thoughts!

You can join in regardless of whether you’ve read, not read, or DNF’d the book! I understand that not everyone has the time to read or finish the book so I try to include a general discussion question as well to make the discussions more inclusive.

The Star-Crossed Sisters Of Tuscany Discussion Questions

  • How did you feel about the pacing of the book?
  • Was Poppy and Rico’s connection believable?
  • How did the flashbacks affect the structure of the story?
  • Are there any standout quotes or passages you’d like to share?
  • How did you feel about the choice of multiple POVs?
  • The book mentions Hiraeth, a hard-to-describe deeply nostalgic longing for a home that is no longer yours (this is my brushstroke translation of the Welsh word). Can you relate to that feeling? Is there a place you’ve longed for that is not quite yours?
  • How does Emilia’s view of love shift or change over the course of the story?
  • If this story was told from different perspectives, who would you choose as the main POVs?
  • How did you feel about the family relationships presented throughout the novel?
  • Is there any part of Italy you would have liked to see explored more in this novel?

February 2021 Book Club Pick

sincerely anshula

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Of course, these are just starter questions. There are no right or wrong answers. Feel 100% free to discuss anything regarding the book (or otherwise). I’ll be jumping in and responding as well!

10 Comments

  • Avatar
    Maya
    February 8, 2021 at 10:12 PM

    I think this book also did a great job of addressing limiting beliefs. If you choose to believe something negative then you can let it get to you like what you talked about in your cooking lessons email today.

    It was REALLY SLOW TO START though. I also considered dropping it because of the way Lucy’s character was treated in the beginning. Luckily it progressed in a positive direction.

    For a different POV I’d go with Lucy and Rico.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Rita
      February 9, 2021 at 8:02 AM

      So true. I also considered dropping it because Lucy was typecast as a slut at the start of the novel. I hate slut-shaming. Then the book addressed the labelling and flipped the switch on that which I was happy about. Yes to Lucy for a different POV. I would add her as a third POV to the story because I felt her POV was lacking. I’m not sure if the author made that choice to keep some of the twists hidden and make Emilia’s growth more impactful.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Anshula Varma
        February 9, 2021 at 8:58 AM

        The slut-shaming was definitely jarring. I think I could kind of see where the book was going with it because the Distance From A-Z by Natalie Blitt did something similar and I changed my book review for that a million times. It started as a zero because of how judgy Abby is and then as she grew and realized how judgemental she was, I rated it higher. But something I’ve been thinking about as a result of this is, if we’re taken on a story with a character who is so judgemental and sits in their world in their centering for a very long time without a “big realization”, does that take away from the story and promote prejudice in some ways?

        Reply
        • Avatar
          Grayce Stooks
          February 9, 2021 at 9:25 AM

          I read Woven In Moonlight recently and thought sitting with prejudice in that case was harmful but not as much in this book. In that book, the prejudiced was based on real groups of people and there was nothing to break apart the prejudice. In this book, Emilia was way more prejudiced than Poppy. Poppy made a few remarks that were cringe but she saved the book from Emilia. The flashbacks and POVs made for a structure that was more tolerable.

          I really liked the book though. This was one of my favorite quotes “Being lost is where the beauty lies. Lost in a book. Lost in someone’s eyes. Lost in a symphony so sweet it brings you to tears.” She smiles. “Lost in a beautiful floating city on a starry night. This is magical, yes? It’s being found that’s the disappointment.”

          Reply
        • Avatar
          Rita
          February 9, 2021 at 2:04 PM

          The girl who passes judgement on others only to realize she has to introspect too instead of judging all the time. Romance books have this attitude so much. I’m glad this particular one went in a VERY different direction than what I expected but I wouldn’t hate to see this trope go because done wrong, which is often the case and in this case it wasn’t executed flawlessly just much better than I expected, it for sure promotes prejudice.

          Reply
    • Avatar
      Anshula Varma
      February 9, 2021 at 8:52 AM

      Yes! That’s exactly what I was talking about. I liked that she toyed with the idea of magical realism and stripped it down into a contemporary via the second-born sister’s curse.

      I was also really hoping for a POV from Lucy because I felt like she also came into her own self but in a completely different way to Emilia. And the contrast might have balanced the book a little better.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Topenga
    February 9, 2021 at 8:47 AM

    I know the book club rules say I can still come for the discussion even though I didn’t finish reading it but I’m not sure. I did not finish the book. I got bored about a third of the way through. From your review and comments, it seems like it was just really slow to start but I just couldn’t get through it. I hated the slut shaming too though it seems to have taken a different direction later. I just didn’t like the characters. If some of the people in their families treated them so badly, why were they still with them? They should have just left and got their own life earlier on.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Anshula Varma
      February 9, 2021 at 9:05 AM

      You can absolutely come to the discussion! There is so much value in the reasons behind a DNF. Thank you for sharing them! I definitely agree that the first ten chapters could should have been condensed into two or three (or the blurb should have been different). I started off with high expectations and as I waited for the Italian adventure, the expectations started to dwindle down.

      With the characters, I can kind of see why they stayed. Multi-generational families are very complicated. And if a person comes from that culture or environment, it can be hard to just break off. That being said, I think towards the end, Emilia should have definitely broken it off with Nonna. There was this romanticization of people softening over time (that’s one of the big reasons I gave this four instead of five stars). It was a fairytale, yes. But it didn’t need a 100% happily every after.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Kiera
      February 11, 2021 at 7:04 PM

      The book had such a neat ending it was weird because it felt like it was going in a happy ending direction then there was a big twist and then it went back to happy ending. The revelations of the characters learning about themselves should have been enough. It was TOO perfect which I didn’t mind until the story teased that it wasn’t going to be picture perfect.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Anshula Varma
        February 16, 2021 at 7:28 PM

        I can definitely see that. It did lead us to believe something a little different past half-way through. In the end, I felt like it was in between a perfect ending (all strings tied up) and a happy ending (warm and satisfying).

        Reply

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