Here is the official set of Reading Group questions for The Au
Please note, these are intended as discussion
the book has been read - they contain spoilers!
- What were your feelings about Summerbourne as the setting for this
story? Did you empathise with Seraphine's attachment to the house,
or are you more like Danny as far as bricks and mortar are
- Seraphine tells us early on she's 'never felt much need for
friendships'. Do you think this might have been influenced by her
early childhood experiences? Do you think her attitude might have
changed at all by the end of the book?
- Laura says to Alex, 'We all did bad things, Alex. You, me, Ruth,
Dominic. Just because we haven't been arrested like Vera, doesn't
mean we got away with it.' Do you think all four of them carry an
equal amount of blame for their actions?
- Pregnancy denial is a real phenomenon. Did you pick up on clues
that Laura was pregnant? Have you come across other forms of
psychological denial, such as people refusing to acknowledge
problems in their relationships, jobs, health or behaviour?
- The Latin inscription at the folly translates as 'A precipice in
front, wolves behind.' Do you think this is an apt description of
the situation Laura finds herself in after the babies are born?
Could she have achieved a better outcome?
- When Vera admits she had initial doubts about the babies'
identities, Seraphine tells us: 'I try to embrace her (Vera's)
meaning: that it doesn't matter to her, that she loves us anyway.
But it's not enough. Her love for us doesn't give her the right to
hide the truth from us.' Do you agree? Do you have any sympathy with
Vera's desire to bring up the babies as Summerbourne twins
irrespective of where they came from?
- How did Michael's stories and the village gossip about the Mayes
family make you feel? Do you think rumours and gossip are inevitable
in any community?
- Do you believe Vera was guilty of all three of the crimes she was
- If you could spend an afternoon on the Summerbourne patio with any
one of the characters from The Au Pair, which one would you choose,
- What do you hope the future might hold for Laura and Seraphine?
The equivalent set for The Perfect Guests will be added after
publication in January 2021.