Reading Group Discussion Sheet – Moonlight on the Thames

 

Thank you for reading Moonlight on the Thames. I hope you enjoyed the book and I would appreciate it if you could leave a review. I’ve put together some reading group questions below but if you have more to add, or other topics that generate a good discussion, I’d love to hear them! You can always contact me at laurenwestwoodwriter@outlook.com.
Thanks for reading!
 

Nicola is at first not a very likeable character. Do you think she redeems herself, or is there justification for the way she is, by the time you reach the end of the novel? Yes, or no?

 

The original idea for the book was loosely based on A Christmas Carolwith Nicola as Scrooge. Discuss how Nicola’s journey and Scrooge’s journey are similar. Who are the ghosts?

 

Nicola and Dmitri are both damaged people, but they manifest this in different ways. Nicola is closed off to happiness, and Dmitri embraces it – but only up to a point. Discuss how their secret fears manifest themselves both in the way they approach their work, and their social relationships. 

 

There are a lot of modern romance books out there that have damaged alpha-male type characters who are billionaires, etc. Yet by the end of the book, the manage to redeem themselves with a heart of gold underneath. Discuss how Moonlight turns this gender stereotype around through use of an alpha-female. Do you think it’s somehow easier to criticize or dislike Nicola and her choices because she’s a female in a man’s world? Why is a strong woman in business a ‘bitch’ and a man is just ‘alpha’?

 

Music obviously plays a big role in the story. Each song reference was carefully chosen to evoke a mood or an idea. There is a playlist available on my website. Dmitri’s relationship with music is that of his ‘greatest love and his greatest sorrow’. Discuss other examples where this might be the case from real life. 

 

The original version was darker and more morally ambiguous, both at the world of the bank, and the world that Dmitri inhabited as an impoverished immigrant, and also his time at music school in Russia. The publisher thought that some of this detracted from the ‘festive’ nature of the book. However, books like A Christmas Carolare quite dark underneath despite the happy ending. Was the book too dark, not dark enough, or the right blend of the two?

 

Do you think Nicola’s phone call at the end gives her true closure? Can people truly ‘forgive’ and move on from something like this? 

 

How do the minor characters like Tanya and Kolya help drive the story? What role do Russian fairytales play in the story? 

 

Who is your favourite/least favourite character? What is your favourite/least favourite scene? (I love the scene in the charity shop – but some readers hate it!)

 

If you were writing a sequel to the book, what do you think happens next in Nicola and Dmitri’s relationship? What obstacles are they likely to face in the future? 

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