Synopses & Reviews
Koomson captivated readers with her international bestseller "My Best Friend's Girl." Now, she dazzles them once again with this tale of love, friendship, and families--the choices that shatter them, the hope that saves them, and the little moments that happen in between.
About the Author
After two years living in Sydney, Australia, Dorothy Koomson is probably now living somewhere in the northern hemisphere (but you just never know with her). She is still a journalist as well as a novelist. Marshmallows for Breakfast is her fourth novel. Her third novel, My Best Friends Girl, is available in paperback from Bantam Discovery.
Reading Group Guide
When Kendra Tamale returns to her native England after a long absence, she is looking for a fresh start and a simple life. She arrives at her new home-a room she has rented online from a kind man named Kyle Gadsborough-with few expectations. But things soon turn out to be much more complicated than she ever imagined. Against her better judgment, Kendra finds herself drawn into her new landlords household: a young and somewhat hapless father in way over his head, a mysterious and absent mother, and six-year-old twins, Summer and Jaxon, with small hearts full of hurt. Soon it becomes clear that Summer and Jaxon have connected to her in a way they dont with anyone else. But when a terrible secret from Kendras past resurfaces, and the children are taken away by their mother, the only way to fix things is to make a choice that could break more than one persons heart.
The following questions are intended to enhance your discussion of this engaging novel.
1. What was your first impression of Kendra as a character? How did your understanding of her motivations and personality evolve throughout the novel? Did you have any ideas about her early on that were later proven to be either true or false?
2. Against her will, Kendra is drawn into the Gadsborough family crisis almost immediately. Were you surprised by her actions and reactions that first Saturday morning and beyond? What would you have done in her situation?
3. Throughout the novel, the nightmares in Kendras past are alluded to: did you guess what they were before they were revealed? Once you knew the full story, did it change your view of Kendra? What effects did these experiences have on her?
4. Consider the conversation Kendra and Kyle have about ideals and child-rearing (starting on page 116). What do you make of each of their perspectives? Why does each feel the way they do? Do you agree with one or the other, or is the truth somewhere in the middle? If you have children, have your ideas about being a parent changed over the years? Does ideology give way to practicality?
5. Why do you think Kendra reacts so strongly to Kyles kiss? Was she really surprised by it, or was her reaction coming from somewhere else? Did you see either the kiss or the Kendras anger coming?
6. Throughout Marshmallows for Breakfast, we see people who are otherwise very close keeping secrets from each other. What do you think the author was trying to say about the role of secrets in friendships? Look closely at how the secrets in this novel are revealed, and to whom. What does each secret mean to the person keeping it? What does it mean to the ultimate confidante?
7. How did you feel about Ashlyn? Could you forgive her for the mistakes she made with regard to her marriage and children? Did you think she was a good person at heart? Do you believe she will stay sober?
8. At several points in the novel, the narrative shifts from Kendras perspective into someone elses. What did this add to your reading experience? Was there anyone you would have liked to hear from that you did not?
9. What drives Kendras relationship with Will? Do you think they are a good match?
10. Each chapter is named for a breakfast-from the traditional to the fanciful. Take a look at which chapters carry which names-what are some that stand out to you, and why? Did you feel like each chapter carried an appropriate heading?
11. Have you ever known someone like Janene? Did her cruelty take you by surprise? What did you think of Kendras reactions to her? Would you have handled her differently?
12. On page 344, Kendra refers to Kyle as “the father of my children”. What does this statement mean to her? Do you think its an accurate description of their relationship?
13. Why does it take Kendra so long to open the letter from Will?
14. How did you expect Kyle and Kendra to wind up at the end of the book? In what ways would they be a good couple and in what ways do you think they might be better off with someone else?
15. What themes are suggested by the title Marshmallows for Breakfast?