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Confusing,
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Almost Home: A Novel
by Pam Jenoff

Published: 2010-02-16
Paperback : 400 pages
7 members reading this now
3 clubs reading this now
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Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 1 members
A RICH AND STARTLING NOVEL ABOUT A WOMAN WHO MUST FACE A PAST SHE'D RATHER FORGET IN ORDER TO UNCOVER A DANGEROUS LEGACY THAT THREATENS HER FUTURE

Ten years ago, U.S. State Department intelligence officer Jordan Weiss's idyllic experience as a graduate student at Cambridge was shattered ...
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Introduction

A RICH AND STARTLING NOVEL ABOUT A WOMAN WHO MUST FACE A PAST SHE'D RATHER FORGET IN ORDER TO UNCOVER A DANGEROUS LEGACY THAT THREATENS HER FUTURE

Ten years ago, U.S. State Department intelligence officer Jordan Weiss's idyllic experience as a graduate student at Cambridge was shattered when her boyfriend Jared drowned in the River Cam. She swore she'd never go back-until a terminally ill friend asks her to return. Jordan attempts to settle into her new life, taking on an urgent mission beside rakish agent Sebastian Hodges. Just when she thinks there's hope for a fresh start, a former college classmate tells her that Jared's death was not an accident-he was murdered.

Jordan quickly learns that Jared's research into World War II had uncovered a shameful secret, but powerful forces with everything to lose will stop at nothing to keep the past buried. Soon, Jordan finds herself in grave peril as she struggles to find the answers that lie treacherously close to home, the truth that threatens to change her life forever, and the love that makes it all worth fighting for. Fast-paced and impossible to put down, Almost Home establishes Pam Jenoff as one of the best new writers in the genre.

Editorial Review

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Excerpt

Chapter 1
I barrel through the double doors and across the lobby of the State Department, bypassing the metal detector and waving my plastic identification badge at the guard, who nods in recognition. My heels echo off the marble floor as I race down the corridor past the row of brightly colored flags, the tall glass windows revealing smokers huddled under umbrellas in the courtyard. A display of student artwork left over from Black History Month decorates the otherwise drab white walls. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. While at Cambridge, Jordan was the only American in her group of friends. Did she feel fully accepted by her teammates, or was the fact that she was an American or a woman ever an obstacle? Did Jordan ever pretend to be someone she wasn't?

2. "Chris once teased me about my sentimentality over what he called 'a silly children's film' [Mary Poppins]. Still, perhaps he purposely chose our meeting place so close to the cathedral, since he knows how much I loved it" (pg. 62). Was this Chris's plan? Does he attempt to manipulate Jordan throughout the novel?

3. After briefly reuniting with Chris, Jordan flees and notes "This is the second time I have fled in two days, and it isn't like me" (pg. 72). Is this statement accurate? Consider Jordan's career, which doesn't allow her to stay in one place too long.

4. Jordan states that the only reason she returned to England was to care for her sick friend Sarah. However, she doesn't spend much time with Sarah upon arriving. Is she simply too busy with work and finding the truth about Jared? What other reasons could there be?

5. Both Chris and Jordan note how driven Jared was. Why was he so determined to seek the truth?

6. "A meeting would provide an emergency escape hatch if the day in Cambridge got to be too much" (pg. 87). Are there other examples in the book of Jordan taking precautions to protect herself? Do you think these measures are a result of Jared's death, her work with the State Department, or something else?

7. Jared remarks to Jordan that Chris "can't stand going home alone" (pg. 126). Is this true? If so, why? And why doesn't Chris openly share his feelings with Jordan, either before her relationship with Jared or a decade later?

8. "Social justice, my father told me once at Passover, was our obligation as Jews, to free all people from the bonds of oppression as we had once been freed" (pg. 189). Is this desire what drives Jordan? Even though she says she's not religious, in what other ways might her religion shape who Jordan has become?

9. What could be the reason for Jared strangling Jordan while the two are both sleeping?

10. Why does Mo acquiesce to Ambassador Raines? How much of his plan was she aware of?

11. Several people end up betraying Jordan. When did you first become suspicious of these characters or the novel's other twists? Is there anyone Jordan can truly trust?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

Dear Reader-

Those of you who are familiar with my first two books, The Kommandant's Girl and The Diplomat's Wife, may be wondering about the genre shift from historical fiction to modern suspense in my newest work, Almost Home. I believe that the books have several important things in common, including historical events, international suspense, and romance. They similarly share a common central theme - a young woman, facing extraordinary circumstances, who learns more about herself and her inner strength than she thought possible. Finally, Almost Home is also a passion project, more than a decade in the making, conceived out of the same travels and experiences that affected me so profoundly.

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Member Reviews

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  "Almost Home"by Misfits (see profile) 05/19/10

Our book club liked the book, but feel it was a little confusing so it made it hard to get through. Then the end just stopped abruptly. There is going to be a sequel to the book and many of our members... (read more)

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