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Reading Group Discussion Questions

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1.     Suzanne, Cordelia, Julia, Jane, and Simon all betray (or in Simon’s case withhold information from) the men in their lives in different ways. How do the betrayals compare? Which do you think is the most devastating?

2.     How do Henri Rivaux and Rachel Garnier help Cordelia and Harry come to certain realizations about each other? Do you think it’s significant that Harry and Henri have the same name?

3.     Which couple do you think has the most difficult path ahead–Suzanne and Malcolm, Harry and Cordelia, Rachel and Henri, Violet and Johnny? Why?

4.     Did the revelation about Suzanne midway through the book surprise you? Why or why not? Did it change what you think of her as a character? (Including her actions in Vienna Waltz if you’ve also read it.)

5.     Did you guess the murderer’s identity? Why or why not?

6.     How does being parents affect Suzanne’s, Malcolm’s, Cordelia’s, and Harry’s actions in the course of the book? Do you think their lives and relationships as couples would have evolved differently if they didn’t have Colin and Livia?

7.     Harry tells Henri Rivaux, “Some of us have been in the espionage game long enough to envy you your decency.” Which of the spy characters do you think has most compromised him- or herself in their espionage work? Which do you think have managed to hold on to their integrity? Why?

8.     Discuss how formality and social conventions break down in the household in the Rue Ducale in the course of nursing the wounded.

9.     Compare and contrast Suzanne and Malcolm’s relationship with Cordelia and Harry’s, from their reasons for marrying to their betrayals to the challenges they face in Imperial Scandal and beyond.

10.  How do childhood friendships color the way various characters interact–Malcolm and the Prince of Orange, Cordelia, John Ashton, and the Chases, Cordelia and Caroline Lamb, David, Malcolm, the Chases, and Cordelia? Does having known each other since the nursery make these characters more or less likely to see the truth of their present-day behavior and motives?

11.  Compare and contrast the various farewells between the couples (Cordelia and Harry, Violet and Johnny, Jane and Tony, Aline and Geoffrey, Suzanne and Malcolm) at the Duchess of Richmond’s ball. What do their different ways of saying farewell have to say about the characters and their relationships?

12.  How do you think Malcolm would react if he learned the truth about Suzanne?

13.  Malcolm, Suzanne, Harry, and Cordelia all claim not to be romantics. Perhaps they protest a bit too much. Which of them, or of the other characters in the book, do you think is the greatest romantic? Why?

14.   Discuss how Malcolm and Suzanne are both torn between duty and personal relationships in the course of the story.

15.  How does the hothouse atmosphere in Brussels with its frenetic round of parties and war looming ever closer on the horizon affect the personal relationships of the characters?

16.  How do you think Suzanne and Malcolm’s life would have played out if the French had won at Waterloo?

17.  The battle doesn’t leave anyone untouched. Which of the characters who survives the battle do you think has changed the most by the end of the book. Why?

5 Responses to “Imperial Scandal Reading Group Discussion Questions”


  1. […] read the book). To get the discussion going, I thought I’d pose one of the questions from the Reading Group Guide, which I think goes to the heart of […]


  2. […] as she weighs whether or not to accept him. This seems a good time to post another of the Imperial Scandal discussion […]


  3. […] on History Hoydens about some of Wellington’s aides-de-camp who appear as characters in Imperial Scandal. I thought it would be fun to repeat the post here as part of the Imperial Scandal back […]


  4. […] in the midst of writing Imperial Scandal, I discovered the writing software program Scrivener. I love Scrivener for numerous reasons, but […]


  5. […] week’s Fraser Correspondence addition, Aline writes to Gisele about the events on the night Imperial Scandal begins Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

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