Savvy Reader Book Club: Hosting Tips

We believe that the best way to discuss Somewhere In France with your book club is over an English Tea. Our recipe for the perfect afternoon? Stimulating discussion about Somewhere In France (find our book club questions here) combined with the following food, decor and film.

Here is a delicious menu for an English Tea from Jennifer Robson!

Although the late afternoon is traditional for teatime, you could easily serve this to your book club gathering in the evening. Simply add a green salad to accompany the savoury tart or quiche and you have a supper that will satisfy all your guests.

An assortment of sandwiches (my favourite fillings are cucumber, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and egg salad with capers)

Savoury tart or quiche

Scones with clotted cream and preserves

Cookies and squares (I suggest shortbread, lemon squares, and cheesecake brownies)

Mimosas (orange juice and sparkling wine or mineral water)

Tea (offer at least three varieties: Orange Pekoe, Earl Grey, and an herbal variety such as peppermint)

Decor Inspiration:

Set a mood that allows your book club feel like posh, English aristocrats (but on a budget Lilly could afford!). Visit our Pinterest Board for a printable version of this Somewhere In France name plate for your “Lady” place settings. You could also print the document vertical for and make a Somewhere In France-inspired menu card!

Jennifer Robson also recommends decorating with beautiful flower arrangements, like the ones she created for Somewhere In France‘s book launch! She explains how below…

You don’t need to spend a fortune on flowers – many grocery stores carry inexpensive bunches of mixed blooms that you can easily transform into a beautiful posy for your Somewhere in France book club gathering.

When you bring your flowers home, get them into water as quickly as possible, even if this means ripping the bottom of the paper wrapping and immersing the bottom few inches of the flowers in water in your kitchen sink. If you’re not pressed for time, find a clean bucket or large jug, fill it with a few inches of cool water, and place the flowers in it.

When you’re ready to arrange your flowers, have everything ready: your scissors or floral shears, material to bind your posy, and a small vase or container filled with fresh, cool water.

Now, take three to five of your largest or prettiest blooms and hold them loosely in your non-dominant hand. Fill in the spaces between them with secondary blooms and foliage, tucking them around, below and above the larger flowers. Make sure to rotate the bunch as you work and look at it from all angles. When you are satisfied with the overall effect, bind the stems together firmly with florist’s tape or plain kitchen twine and trim the stems so the arrangement fits your chosen container.

Here are some more tips to help you make the most of your flowers:

Make sure the amount of flowers is in proportion to the size of the container. If you only have a small bunch, use a small container.

When in doubt, cut stems short and mass blooms tightly.

Mix expensive flowers in with cheaper blooms.

Think outside the vase and use unusual containers such as an empty jam jar or creamer.

Don’t fix it and forget it: refresh the water in your arrangement every few days to keep your flowers happy.

Be aware that many commonly available flowers, lilies in particular, are extremely poisonous and can kill your pets or harm your children. Visit the Animal Poison Control Centre for a list online of toxic flowers and plants.

Entertainment

If the weather is dreary on the day you’re hosting, invite your book club to stay after your tea and watch a movie set during The Great War, like A Very Long Engagement or Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.

For a full list of reading and viewing recommendations, visit Jennifer’s website here.

We hope your book club enjoys discussing Somewhere In France as much as we do. Happy hosting, Savvy Readers!

Kaiti

Follow me on twitter @SavvyReader@ktvncnt
See my 50 Book Pledge profile here.

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Digital Marketing Coordinator at HarperCollins Canada. Film, fiction and fashion blog enthusiast. Follow me on twitter @SavvyReader & @ktvncnt.

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