Book Club Questions for The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin

by Heather Caliendo
book club questions the lies that bind - book club chat
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Book club questions for The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin will take a closer look at all the key events and relationships in this novel. There will be spoilers so for more context about the story, check out my spoiler-free review

I mentioned this in my review but I didn’t love the 9/11 plot device. I think she could have had Grant go missing and not involve a national tragedy. And I kept thinking how so many authors will probably do the same thing with our current pandemic and not looking forward to that! 

But all in all, I liked the story and Emily’s books are just so readable. It was a good one for a lazy Sunday afternoon. 

The synopsis 

It’s 2 A.M. on a Saturday night in the spring of 2001, and twenty-eight-year-old Cecily Gardner sits alone in a dive bar in New York’s East Village, questioning her life. Feeling lonesome and homesick for the Midwest, she wonders if she’ll ever make it as a reporter in the big city—and whether she made a terrible mistake in breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, Matthew. 

As Cecily reaches for the phone to call him, she hears a guy on the barstool next to her say, “Don’t do it—you’ll regret it.” Something tells her to listen, and over the next several hours—and shots of tequila—the two forge an unlikely connection. That should be it, they both decide the next morning, as Cecily reminds herself of the perils of a rebound relationship. Moreover, their timing couldn’t be worse—Grant is preparing to quit his job and move overseas. Yet despite all their obstacles, they can’t seem to say goodbye, and for the first time in her carefully constructed life, Cecily follows her heart instead of her head. 

Then Grant disappears in the chaos of 9/11. Fearing the worst, Cecily spots his face on a missing-person poster, and realizes she is not the only one searching for him. Her investigative reporting instincts kick into action as she vows to discover the truth. But the questions pile up fast: How well did she really know Grant? Did he ever really love her? And is it possible to love a man who wasn’t who he seemed to be? 

Book Club Questions for The Lies That Bind

  • Why was Cecily so drawn to Grant to begin with?
  • We learn that Grant has faced many difficulties—his father was killed, his mother passed away from ALS and now his twin brother suffers from it. Let’s talk about these revelations from Grant.
  • Grant wants to take things really slow with Cecily and they don’t end up sleeping together until she visits him in London. And when he introduces Cecily to his brother, he calls her his friend and not girlfriend. Did you have any suspicions about Grant such as he might be married? Or did you not look too much into that?
  • Something that does happen early is that they both say I love you. Were they in love or was it lust? Do you believe people can fall in love that fast?
  • Why do you think the author set the book during 2001 and 9/11? 
  • Did you believe that Grant was truly gone?
  • What are your thoughts when it was revealed that Grant was married? Why did Cecily decided to meet with his wife Amy? What would you have done if you were Cecily?
  • Let’s talk about why Cecily got back with Matthew. Did you think this was the right choice or did she do it out of loneliness/hurt about Grant?
  • Cecily and Matthew get engaged. And she finds out she’s pregnant. But there’s a chance it might be Grant’s. Let’s talk about our thoughts on this change in direction for the story. 
  • If you’ve read Something Borrowed, did you catch the appearances by some of the characters?
  • Cecily goes out to the house in the woods hoping to talk with Byron about Grant. But when she goes there, she’s shocked to find out Grant is there and is alive. Let’s talk about this reveal! Were you surprised? 
  • What did you think about Grant’s reasoning for going into hiding?
  • Cecily finally tells Matthew that the baby might be his or it could be Grant’s. He’s upset and pretty much doesn’t want to go through with anything until he knows if the baby will be his. Let’s talk about this and Cecily’s decision to finally break it off with him. 
  • And it turns out Grant is the father and Cecily eventually forgives him. Did you like that they ended up together? What are your thoughts about the ending overall? 
  • Let’s talk about the meaning of the title in relation to the story.

Additional recommendations 

Hope you enjoyed book club questions for The Lies That Bind! Here are some more recommendations along with links to book club questions. 

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand is another good one to add to the list. 

When Mallory Blessing’s son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he’s not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It’s the late spring of 2020 and Jake’s wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election.

There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other?

Flash back to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother’s bachelor party. Cooper’s friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere — through marriage, children, and Ursula’s stratospheric political rise — until Mallory learns she’s dying.

Based on the classic film Same Time Next Year (which Mallory and Jake watch every summer), 28 Summers explores the agony and romance of a one-weekend-per-year affair and the dramatic ways this relationship complicates and enriches their lives, and the lives of the people they love.

You can order the book on Amazon here. Check out my book club questions here


What You Wish For by Katherine Center

What You Wish For by Katherine Center is an impactful story centered around hope. 

Samantha Casey is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living. But she wasn’t always that way.

Duncan Carpenter is the new school principal who lives by rules and regulations, guided by the knowledge that bad things can happen. But he wasn’t always that way.

And Sam knows it. Because she knew him before―at another school, in a different life. Back then, she loved him―but she was invisible. To him. To everyone. Even to herself. She escaped to a new school, a new job, a new chance at living. But when Duncan, of all people, gets hired as the new principal there, it feels like the best thing that could possibly happen to the school―and the worst thing that could possibly happen to Sam. Until the opposite turns out to be true. The lovable Duncan she’d known is now a suit-and-tie wearing, rule-enforcing tough guy so hell-bent on protecting the school that he’s willing to destroy it.

As the school community spirals into chaos, and danger from all corners looms large, Sam and Duncan must find their way to who they really are, what it means to be brave, and how to take a chance on love―which is the riskiest move of all.

You can order the book on Amazon here. Check out my book club questions here

Happy reading! 

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