Book Club Discussion: Perennials

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for Perennials by Julie Cantrell. Below is a list of discussion questions to get the conversation started. We are excited to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Feel free to answer all the questions, or pick and choose a few questions to discuss!

  • When newcomer Blaire Dayton arrives in her fancy dress, Bitsy crumbles. Why do you think Bitsy was affected so significantly by Blair’s critical comment? How have you reacted to criticism in your life?
  • Throughout the book we witness sibling rivalry between Lovey and Bitsy, some of it particularly cruel. Do you believe Bitsy loves her sister? How healthy are your sibling relationships?
  • The book explores family relationships, including that of Chief and Mother, a happily married couple celebrating fifty years of matrimony. Do you know any couples who have achieved such a harmonious partnership in real ly? What do Lovey and Bitsy learn about love and marriage from their parents?
  • How does each woman in Perennials try to stay young? What does it mean to be young of heart?

Questions from back of book. Author Interview.

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Book Reveal: Perennials by Julie Cantrell

The first book choice for the April “Garden Party” box is Perennials by Judy Cantrell!

When two estranged sisters reunite for their parents’ 50th anniversary, a family tragedy brings unexpected lessons of hope and healing amid the flowers of their mother’s perennial garden.

Eva Sutherland—known to all as Lovey—grew up safe and secure in Oxford, Mississippi, surrounded by a rich literary history and her mother’s stunning flower gardens. But a shed fire, and the injuries it caused, changed everything. Her older sister, Bitsy, blamed Lovey for the irreparable damage. Bitsy became the homecoming queen and the perfect Southern belle who could do no wrong. All the while, Lovey served as the family scapegoat, always bearing the brunt when Bitsy threw blame her way.

At eighteen, suffocating in her sister’s shadow, Lovey turned down a marriage proposal and fled to Arizona. Free from Bitsy’s vicious lies, she became a successful advertising executive and a weekend yoga instructor, carving a satisfying life for herself. But at forty-five, Lovey is feeling more alone than ever and questioning the choices that led her here.
When her father calls insisting she come home three weeks early for her parents’ 50th anniversary, Lovey is at her wits’ end. She’s about to close the biggest contract of her career, and there’s a lot on the line. But despite the risks, her father’s words, “Family First,” draw her back to the red-dirt roads of Mississippi.

Lovey is drawn in to a secret project—a memory garden her father has planned as an anniversary surprise. As she helps create this sacred space, Lovey begins to rediscover her roots, learning how to live perennially in spite of life’s many trials and tragedies.

Years ago, Lovey chose to leave her family and the South far behind. But now that she’s returned, she’s realizing things at home were not always what they seemed.

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