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Book club questions for The Herd by Andrea Bartz breaks down all the key developments and themes in this novel. There will be spoilers so for more context about the book, check out my spoiler-free review.
This one is SO entertaining! It was exactly what I needed to read—an ideal distraction read. Sometimes when I read mysteries/thrillers, I try to solve what happened along with the main characters. I had some theories on this one but I truly went along with the ride and was actually quite shocked at the turn of the events.
The name of the elite, women-only coworking space stretches across the wall behind the check-in desk: THE HERD, the H-E-R always in purple. In-the-know New Yorkers crawl over one another to apply for membership to this community that prides itself on mentorship and empowerment. Among the hopefuls is Katie Bradley, who’s just returned from the Midwest after a stint of book research blew up in her face. Luckily, Katie has an in, thanks to her sister, Hana, an original Herder and the best friend of Eleanor Walsh, the Herd’s charismatic founder.
Eleanor is a queen among the Herd’s sun-filled rooms, admired and quietly feared even as she strives to be warm and approachable. As head of PR, Hana is working around the clock to prepare for a huge announcement from Eleanor—one that will change the trajectory of the Herd forever. Though Katie loves her sister’s crew, she secretly hopes that she’s found her next book subject in Eleanor, who’s brilliant, trailblazing—and extremely private.
Then, on the night of the glitzy Herd news conference, Eleanor vanishes without a trace. Everybody has a theory about what made Eleanor run, but when the police suggest foul play, everyone is a suspect: Eleanor’s husband, other Herders, the men’s rights groups that have had it out for the Herd since its launch—even Eleanor’s closest friends. As Hana struggles to figure out what her friend was hiding and Katie chases the story of her life, the sisters must face the secrets they’ve been keeping from each other—and confront just how dangerous it can be when women’s perfect veneers start to crack, crumble, and then fall away altogether.
Book club questions for The Herd
- What was your initial impression of The Herd? Have you ever been to a female coworking space? Would you want to join one?
- We follow the story from Katie and Hana’s perspectives. What did you think about their relationship?
- They’re both holding secrets from each other. Why do you think they couldn’t trust each other? How did that change as the book went on?
- We meet Eleanor before she disappears and she’s glamorous and seems to have it all but we can tell that she’s struggling and putting on a bit of an act. Do you think Eleanor was really trying to leave it behind for Mexico?
- When Eleanor first disappeared, what did you think happen to her? Were you surprised when it turned out that Mikki was behind it?
- We learn that Mikki seemed to have the idea for The Herd and Eleanor stole the idea from her. Did that change your opinion of Eleanor at all? Why do you think Eleanor could do something like that?
- Why do you think Katie agreed to write the story about Eleanor and The Herd?
- We eventually learn Hana, Eleanor and Mikki’s secret: a young woman named Jinny died in a drowning accident at Eleanor’s house and all the friends were there. Let’s talk about how the parents help cover up this tragedy. Do you think Mikki will ever reveal that Hana was involved?
- The story touches on female ambition and the pressure that women are under. Let’s talk about how this book explored the double standards that women face every day.
- Did you relate to any of the characters in this story?
- What does the term “commercial feminism” mean? What is your definition of feminism?
More Book Recommendations
Hope you enjoyed book club questions for The Herd! Here are some more recommendations along with links to book club questions.
The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica
The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica is a chilling story that you’ll want to read in one sitting.
Sadie and Will Foust have only just moved their family from bustling Chicago to small-town Maine when their neighbor Morgan Baines is found dead in her home. The murder rocks their tiny coastal island, but no one is more shaken than Sadie.
But it’s not just Morgan’s death that has Sadie on edge. And as the eyes of suspicion turn toward the new family in town, Sadie is drawn deeper into the mystery of what really happened that dark and deadly night. But Sadie must be careful, for the more she discovers about Mrs. Baines, the more she begins to realize just how much she has to lose if the truth ever comes to light.
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is one of the best novels I’ve read in some time. And I don’t normally do creepy/ghost stories but this one is incredible.
Upstate New York, 1982. Viv Delaney wants to move to New York City, and to help pay for it she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York. But something isnʼt right at the motel, something haunting and scary.
Upstate New York, 2017. Carly Kirk has never been able to let go of the story of her aunt Viv, who mysteriously disappeared from the Sun Down before she was born. She decides to move to Fell and visit the motel, where she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982. And she soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.