When Olivia and Brody drive up to their friend’s idyllic inn—nestled in a valley in the Mediterranean town of Cassis—they know they’ve chosen the perfect spot for their wedding. The ceremony will be held in the lush garden, and the reception will be a small party of only their closest family and friends. But when Olivia and Brody’s guests check in, their peaceful wedding weekend is quickly thrown off balance.
The first to arrive is Nell, Olivia’s oldest daughter from her first marriage. Impulsive and reckless, she invites a complete stranger—an enigmatic man who is both alluring and a bit dangerous—to be her guest at the wedding. The next is Carly, Olivia’s youngest daughter, the responsible and pragmatic one. Away from her demanding job and a strained relationship, she feels an urgent need to cut loose—and for once do something brash and unpredictable. Then there is Jake, Brody’s playboy best man, and Fanny, Brody’s mother, who is coping with the fallout of her own marriage. And in the middle of it all is Olivia, navigating the dramas, joys, and pitfalls of planning a wedding and starting a new life.
A delicious, compelling, and utterly enchanting novel, A Wedding in Provencecaptures the complex and enduring bonds of family, and our boundless faith in love.
Let these discussion questions guide your book club (or your own thoughts) about the novel…
1. A Wedding in Provence starts by introducing a happy couple on the way to their idyllic wedding. How did this affect your
expectations for the book? Were you nervous about how events would unravel?
2. Nell is clearly a loose cannon. What were your initial thoughts when she decided to bring Gavin to the wedding? Did you think he was dangerous, or just a fun-loving, spontaneous stranger?
3. Were you surprised when Carly took off with Gavin? Why or why not?
4. In many ways Carly is Nell’s opposite, but the two sisters end up attracted to the same man, however briefly. Is it possible that they aren’t actually as different as they seem? Do you think they share any other similarities?
5. At the beginning of Chapter Sixteen, Olivia and Emily are discussing Nell’s vulnerability. Was Emily’s advice to Olivia helpful? How would you have suggested that Olivia manage her daughters’ differences?
6. After learning that Sébastien cheated on Emily, Olivia is clearly rattled. She says “We’re brave old fools. . . . We still choose love when we know everything that can happen,” (page 19). Do you think a marriage can survive infidelity?
7. What did you think of Sam leaving Fanny after fifty-five years of marriage and refusing to come to Brody’s wedding? Were you surprised when you found out why?
8. Throughout the novel, Olivia and Brody are faced with numerous obstacles that threaten to ruin their low-key wedding weekend. From Nell’s surprise guest to Carly’s disappearance and Sébastien’s infidelity, which do you think caused the biggest stir? Why?
9. Of all the characters in the novel, which one did you most sympathize with?
10. Even though Olivia’s big day is the backbone of the plot, the narrative rotates among her perspective and each of her daughters’. Was there ever a time when you felt drawn to one of the three points of view more than the others? When and why?
11. As Olivia and Brody get ready to commit to marriage, they witness their friends and family struggling with relationships. Is their love tested by these struggles? Do you think it’s hard to say yes to love when we know everything that might go wrong in a marriage?
12. Of all the themes present in this novel—love, loss, starting fresh—which resonated with you the most? Why?