Kathryn Wagner Books

For Book Clubs

Book Club Questions

1. From Jane Austen's England to Alexandrie's France and all over the world, children were responsible for securing the futures of their families. Is that still the case? Why or why not?

2. Could you cultivate an ambition like Alexandrie's? Under what circumstances?

3. Alexandrie's larger than life mother pushes her to be the financial savior of her family. Why does her father play so conspicuously small a role in this narrative?

4. Alexandrie's mother was so hopeful that her daughter would be chosen as a lorette, but horrified by the idea of post-performances. To what degree do these roles differ? Is the morality in this book clean cut or more complicated? How do the consciences of the various characters—Alexandrie, Noella, Cornelie, Julien's mistress—differ, and why?

5. Did the structure of the novel—with its performance elements of acts, scenes, and intermissions—affect your reading experience? How so?

6. As a child at the market, Alexandrie dreamt of being a woman like Monsieur Belmont's wife. Did she succeed?

7. In the end, has Alexandrie found true love or simply the best possible choice? In her (dance) shoes, what would you have done? Would you have become Julien's lorette? Pursued Edgar? Married Mr. Taylor?

8. Why did Alexandrie flee the Louvre, and Edgar, at the end of the novel? Do you think Edgar would have recognized and understood her reasons?

9. In the introduction, Coppelia shows the audience that a woman with faults is better than a flawless doll. Which of the female characters in this novel fall into these categories? Which are successful in their chosen roles?

10. Having read Dancing for Degas, do you understand Degas' paintings on another level? How so?

Contact Information

Visit the Random House Readers Circle to request a phone chat with Kathryn Wagner for your next book club meeting.