Reading guide for The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Women of Chateau Lafayette

by Stephanie Dray

The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray X
The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2021, 576 pages

    Mar 2022, 592 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. Which heroine's story did you enjoy reading the most? Which one inspired you the most or made you the most emotional? Which heroine do you most identify with?
  2. Of Adrienne's many acts of courage, which one stands out in your memory the most? What do you think you would have done in her place?
  3. In what ways can Adrienne be considered our French Founding Mother? And in what ways was Adrienne weaker or stronger than her war hero husband?
  4. Beatrice Chanler was the wife of a millionaire. She could have stayed out of both world wars if she'd wanted to. Why did she fling herself into the war relief effort? And why did she feel so obligated to help children?
  5. How would you describe Beatrice's relationship with her husband, Willie Astor Chanler? What do you think was at the heart of the attraction? What about with Maxime? Do you agree with the choices Beatrice made? And in what ways did Beatrice's friendship with Emily become more important than her romantic relationships?
  6. It took Marthe a long time to translate her frustration, anger, and disgust at the Vichy regime into concrete action. That mirrors the experience of the French people's slow-boiling fury at the situation that existed before the French Revolution. When is a person finally moved to act? And are younger people, like Marthe, quicker and more willing to take those risks?
  7. How did Marthe change, grow, and mature over the course of the book, particularly with regard to why she should care about world events over which she felt she had so little control or influence? What about her determination to look out for me, myself, and I?
  8. What moment in Marthe's narrative stands out most strongly in your memory? What message do you take from her story?
  9. Lafayette's biographer, Laura Auricchio, wrote, "He lived in treacherous times and made imperfect choices. He failed at more ventures than most of us will ever attempt and succeeded at efforts that stymied countless men, but he never abandoned the belief that he could change the world, and he never despaired of success. Of all his accomplishments, these might be the most extraordinary." The spirit of this thought is summed up by his motto, Cur Non, meaning Why not? This idea was embraced by all the women in this novel. Is this motto still relevant today? If so, how might it help you in whatever you're facing?
  10. In the novel, lavish settings—like Versailles before the French Revolution or posh galas in New York—are juxtaposed against the deprivation of war-torn France. How did this impact your emotions and experience as you were reading?
  11. Did the novel make you curious to learn more about the history? Did you look anything up? If so, what and why?
  12. Are there any historical lessons that you learned from the women in this book that you think apply to current events? How can we learn from history?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Berkley Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Woman's Peace Party

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.25 per month.

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    The Personal Librarian
    by Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
    The Personal Librarian drew a robust positive response from our First Impressions reviewers, ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Book Woman's Daughter
    by Kim Michele Richardson
    Kim Michele Richardson's The Book Woman's Daughter follows Honey Lovett, 16-year-old daughter of ...
  • Book Jacket: Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting
    Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting
    by Clare Pooley
    For the many years that I've been reading, one realization has always come to mind for me after ...
  • Book Jacket: We Had to Remove This Post
    We Had to Remove This Post
    by Hanna Bervoets
    It's not about money. Kayleigh, the protagonist and narrator of We Had to Remove This Post, a newly ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
by Maggie O'Farrell
"Of all the stories...about Shakespeare’s life, [Hamnet] is so gorgeously written that it transports you."
The Boston Globe

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden
    by Zhuqing Li

    A beautifully woven family memoir that coalesces into a vivid history of two very different Chinas.

  • Book Jacket

    One's Company
    by Ashley Hutson

    For readers of Ottessa Moshfegh this fearless debut chronicles one woman's escape into a world of obsessive imagination.

Win This Book!
Win Where the Crawdads Sing

Win a signed copy of Where the Crawdads Sing

In celebration of the movie release on July 15, we have three signed copies to give away.



Solve this clue:

T O Thing W H T F I F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.