This post contains links to products that I may receive compensation from at no additional cost to you. View my Affiliate Disclosure page here.
Book club questions for More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez takes a deep dive into this remarkable novel about love, motherhood and murder. There will be spoilers so for more context about the story, check out my spoiler-free review first.
This novel is fantastic. I can go on and on about it. From page one, I was so intrigued—I had to know more about both Lore and Cassie. Sometimes the dual nature is hard to manage but I felt both storylines were very compelling. Two complex women who put themselves first.
A bit of quick spoiler thought: I thought the ending was well-done and true to the nature to Cassie. I’m going to write a more in-depth post about it but I will say, I wasn’t surprised it went in that direction. In the end, Cassie wanted a big story to jump-start her career and she did get that. The ethics do get pushed aside a bit in doing so though.
I’m quite curious what you think about it so be sure to let me know!
In 1985, Lore Rivera marries Andres Russo in Mexico City, even though she is already married to Fabian Rivera in Laredo, Texas, and they share twin sons. Through her career as an international banker, Lore splits her time between two countries and two families—until the truth is revealed and one husband is arrested for murdering the other.
In 2017, while trawling the internet for the latest, most sensational news reports, struggling true-crime writer Cassie Bowman encounters an article detailing that tragic final act. Cassie is immediately enticed by what is not explored: Why would a woman—a mother—risk everything for a secret double marriage? Cassie sees an opportunity—she’ll track Lore down and capture the full picture, the choices, the deceptions that led to disaster. But the more time she spends with Lore, the more Cassie questions the facts surrounding the murder itself. Soon, her determination to uncover the truth could threaten to derail Lore’s now quiet life—and expose the many secrets both women are hiding.
Told through alternating timelines, More Than You’ll Ever Know is both a gripping mystery and a wrenching family drama. Presenting a window into the hearts of two very different women, it explores the many conflicting demands of marriage and motherhood, and the impossibility of ever truly knowing someone—especially those we love.
Book Club Questions for More Than You’ll Ever Know
- We read the story from the first-person view of Cassie in 2017 and third-person of Lore in 1985. Let’s first talk about our initial thoughts about both women. Did that change at all as the story went on?
- What was it about Lore’s story that motivated Cassie to write it from Lore’s perceptive? On a similar note, why did Lore agree to it after turning down so many media opportunities?
- Did you find any similarities between Cassie and Lore?
- Why did Lore embark on the affair? What did Andres come to represent for her?
- It seems with mothers, some people try to write off their entire identity as that, they are simply mothers. But as Lore shows, mothers have aspirations, desires and above all, want to be seen. Why do you think society seems to stereotype mothers in this way? Why don’t fathers receive the same treatment?
- Why did Lore marry Andres? What were her long-term goals—do you think she truly believed she could keep up this facade without being caught?
- Cassie comes from an unstable background and we learn that her father was abusive to her mother. After her mother dies in childbirth, Cassie leaves behind home and doesn’t return for years, leaving behind her much younger brother. While she hates her father, she also is so angry at her mother too for seemingly not standing up to her father. Let’s talk about Cassie’s misplaced anger at her mother.
- Motherhood is a huge theme of the novel. Lore says at one point, “Motherhood is the thief you invite in your home.” What is you impression of this quote?
- Cassie and Lore develop an interesting bond and they both push themselves to admit long-held secrets. How did this relationship change the two of them for good?
- Let’s talk about the scenes with Cassie’s father and brother back in Enid. Do you think that her father has changed? How would you have reacted if you were Cassie?
- What are your thoughts overall on the nature of true-crime reporting? Where do you think it crosses a line?
- Cassie begins to question if Fabian was the one who actually murdered Andres. First, did you think it was Fabian or did you believe it was someone else (Lore, Gabriel, etc.)?
- Let’s talk about Lore’s instant decision to protect Gabriel (when she thought he murdered Andres) and her family the minute she finds out Andres is dead.
- Why did Mateo murder Andres? Were you surprised by this reveal? How will his relationship with Lore change as a result or do you think it will remain the same like it did with Gabriel?
- Cassie does write the book but she leaves out the truth about the real murderer—Mateo. Why didn’t Cassie reveal the truth? Should she have?
- The story ends with Lore’s perspective and she admits that she combined memories of Andres when she described her first interactions with him to Cassie. It’s clear that Lore is a pathological liar—what else do you think she lied about when it comes to the retelling of the past?
- What happens next for Cassie and Lore?
- What does the title More Than You’ll Ever Know represent about the story?
Hope you enjoy book club questions for More Than You’ll Ever Know! Here are some more recommendations along with links to book club questions.
Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr
Another thrilling story featuring a female journalist is Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr.
After talking her way into a job with Dan Mansfield, the leading investigative reporter in Chicago, rising young journalist Jules Roth is given an unusual—and very secret—assignment. Dan needs her to locate a painting stolen by the Nazis more than 75 years earlier: legendary Expressionist artist Ernst Engel’s most famous work, Woman on Fire. World-renowned shoe designer Ellis Baum wants this portrait of a beautiful, mysterious woman for deeply personal reasons, and has enlisted Dan’s help to find it. But Jules doesn’t have much time; the famous designer is dying.
Meanwhile, in Europe, provocative and powerful Margaux de Laurent also searches for the painting. Heir to her art collector family’s millions, Margaux is a cunning gallerist who gets everything she wants. The only thing standing in her way is Jules. Yet the passionate and determined Jules has unexpected resources of her own, including Adam Baum, Ellis’s grandson. A recovering addict and brilliant artist in his own right, Adam was once in Margaux’s clutches. He knows how ruthless she is, and he’ll do anything to help Jules locate the painting before Margaux gets to it first.
A thrilling tale of secrets, love, and sacrifice that illuminates the destructive cruelty of war and greed and the triumphant power of beauty and love, Woman on Fire tells the story of a remarkable woman and an exquisite work of art that burns bright, moving through hands, hearts, and history.
Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult
Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult is another novel that is perfect for book clubs—so much to discuss.
Diana O’Toole is perfectly on track. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the cutthroat art auction world. She’s an associate specialist at Sotheby’s now, but her boss has hinted at a promotion if she can close a deal with a high-profile client. She’s not engaged just yet, but she knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galápagos—days before her thirtieth birthday. Right on time.
But then a virus that felt worlds away has appeared in the city, and on the eve of their departure, Finn breaks the news: It’s all hands on deck at the hospital. He has to stay behind. You should still go, he assures her, since it would be a shame for all of their nonrefundable trip to go to waste. And so, reluctantly, she goes.
Almost immediately, Diana’s dream vacation goes awry. Her luggage is lost, the Wi-Fi is nearly nonexistent, and the hotel they’d booked is shut down due to the pandemic. In fact, the whole island is now under quarantine, and she is stranded until the borders reopen. Completely isolated, she must venture beyond her comfort zone. Slowly, she carves out a connection with a local family when a teenager with a secret opens up to Diana, despite her father’s suspicion of outsiders.
In the Galápagos Islands, where Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection was formed, Diana finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself—and wondering if when she goes home, she too will have evolved into someone completely different.